Rush Album by Album, Song By Song

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident


    Great tune. I like that opening riff (sounds so familiar) which carries throughout the song, and the melodies are good enough to carry it along. Some terrific drumming from Neil (natch), and Alex lays down some quick but interesting moments as the track shifts across a few distinct themes. This is some more top tier Rush.

    "Halo Effect"

    A band like Rush can easily turn this type of song into a mushy mess, where the more subtle moments just come across either overly sentimental or awash in droning power ballad chords. Rush know how to deftly use textures, and balance acoustic and electric parts of a track. Alex continues to offer up some nice playing, and the arrangements on this are really tasteful. One of my favourites on this album.
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  2. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident

    "Seven Cities Of Gold"

    Geddy lays things down right off the top, while Alex and Neil come in with solid backup. Melodically maybe not the strongest track on the album, but I do like the chorus, and there is a nice rhythmic drive to this. Alex's solo moment goes into a cosmic, ethereal direction, which he also plays during the outro. Kind of weird and cool at the same time. A song that starts out slow, put pulls it all together by the end.

    "The Wreckers"

    Another track that I like a lot. Fairly straightforward, with a strong melody and a good performance from the boys. The bridge section adds some nice contrast to the track, and there's more classy playing from Alex. Not a standout, but it holds its own.
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  3. Flaevius

    Flaevius Forum Resident

    Essex, UK
    Carnies: the carnival intro is a nice touch and when that first riff powers in I feel like I'm about to hear something that should have been on Badmotorfinger. Vocally, there are issues from the off. Under the gaze of the... angels? aliens? angel-el-els? The "A wheel of fate, a game of chance" vocal is particularly poor. Musically, very little feels distinct on this track: it has a certain density to it that is reminiscent of the worst parts of Vapor Trails. I don't mind the track in and of itself, but it is problematic.

    Halo Effect: not a standout track, but it serves it's purpose of bringing a little light into the album at this stage, halfway through. Solid acoustic arrangement, a bit of grunt too, good instrumental break. Perhaps more of the strings and less of the grunt to balance it, but overall a decent track without igniting any flames.
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  4. Flaevius

    Flaevius Forum Resident

    Essex, UK
    Seven Cities Of Gold: a good track that, as @RicB said, would have been even better if Geddy had a voice left. Chunky, punchy riff and musicianship, and Alex's effects-laden, spacey guitar work works well. Certainly in the top half of tracks on this album, maybe a little higher. Solid effort.

    The Wreckers: outstanding and the best track on Clockwork Angels. This track lives by it's chorus:

    "All I know is that sometimes you have to be wary
    Of a miracle too good to be true
    All I know is that sometimes the truth is contrary
    Everything in life you thought you knew
    All I know is that sometimes you have to be wary
    ‘Cause sometimes the target is you"

    When did Neil last pen a chorus as, dare I say it, singable as this? Offhand, I can't recall. It is a brilliant centrepiece to this track. The ominous 'stormy' effect that comes in prior to the "The breakers roar on an unseen shore" line is a really nice touch, and the drama of that verse as it builds is fantastic. I also really enjoy the storyline behind The Wreckers, it gives me some strong imagery. Top tier track, modern Rush classic.
  5. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums Thread Starter

    "Headlong Flight"

    Single by Rush
    from the album Clockwork Angels
    April 19, 2012
    Length 7:20
    5:08 (radio edit)
    Label Anthem (Canada), Roadrunner
    Songwriter(s) Lee/Lifeson, lyrics by Peart
    Producer(s) Nick Raskulinecz and Rush

    "Headlong Flight" is the second single from Canadian rock band Rush's 20th studio album, Clockwork Angels. It was released to radio stations and for online preview on April 19, 2012, and became available digitally and on disk April 24, 2012.[1] A lyrics video was also made available on YouTube. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Geddy Lee commented on the song:[2]

    'Headlong Flight' was one of those songs that was a joy to write and record from beginning to end. Alex [Lifeson] and I had blast jamming in my home studio one day before the second leg of the Time Machine tour, and I did not revisit that jam until a year later. Alex and I assembled the song to be an instrumental and its original title was 'Take That Lampshade Off Yo Head!,' but once we saw the lyrics Neil [Peart] had written, I knew that the spirit of the lyrics matched the instrumental perfectly and it was just a matter of making them fit and writing the melodies.

    Musically, the song contains elements inspired by "Bastille Day," another Rush song. In a 2012 interview, Neil Peart confirmed this was deliberate.[3]

    Live performances of the song during the Clockwork Angels Tour and R40 Live Tour incorporated a short drum solo by Peart, titled "Drumbastica."

    • This is the second single from Canadian rock band Rush's 20th album, Clockwork Angels. "'Headlong Flight' was one of those songs that was a joy to write and record from beginning to end," bassist Geddy Lee told Rolling Stone. "Alex [Lifeson] and I had blast jamming in my home studio one day before the second leg of the Time Machine tour, and I did not revisit that jam until a year later. Alex and I assembled the song to be an instrumental and its original title was 'Take That Lampshade Off Yo Head!', but once we saw the lyrics Neil [Peart] had written, I knew that the spirit of the lyrics matched the instrumental perfectly and it was just a matter of making them fit and writing the melodies."
    • Neil Peart revealed on his personal website, that he took a new approach in writing and recording his drum tracks for Clockwork Angels, helped by producer Nick "Boouizhe" Raskulinecz: "I played through each song just a few times on my own, checking out patterns and fills that might work, then called in Booujzhe," said Peart. "He stood in the room with me, facing my drums, with a music stand and a single drumstick - he was my conductor, and I was his orchestra... I would attack the drums, responding to his enthusiasm, and his suggestions between takes, and together we would hammer out the basic architecture of the part. His baton would conduct me into choruses, half-time bridges, and double-time outros and so on - so I didn't have to worry about their durations. No counting, and no endless repetition."
    • After laying down "Caravan" and "Brought Up To Believe" in Nashville, Rush embarked on a tour before recording the rest of Clockwork Angels in Toronto. The album's narrative of a young man's journey towards his dreams came to light after about a fortnight in Toronto. Raskulinecz recalled to "Two weeks or so into it, as Geddy and Alex were writing more music, we all kind of looked at one another and said, 'Hey, this is really turning into something. It's tying together.' Then one day, Neil walked in the room and said, 'It's done. I finished it.'

      For the next 20 minutes, Neil talked about this vision he had for the concept of the record, and it was one of those moments I'll never forget. Listening to him, watching him speak – it was amazing! I wish we were filming him so we could put it on YouTube. And right there, the whole record just clicked. Once Geddy and Al heard where Neil was going, they churned out some amazing music. I think 'Headlong Flight' came the next day."
    • Geddy Lee explained to that the lyrics talk, "about our hero looking back over his life and seeing all the good and all the bad things he had done and yet he still came to the conclusion that if he was pushed he would do it all over again."

    THINKING BACK OVER MY LIFE, AND TELLING STORIES ABOUT MY “GREAT ADVENTURES” – they didn’t always feel that grand at the time. But on balance, I wouldn’t change anything. In the words of one of our great alchemists, Friedrich Gruber, “I wish I could do it all again.”

    All the journeys
    Of this great adventure
    It didn’t always feel that way
    I wouldn’t trade them
    Because I made them
    The best I could
    And that’s enough to say

    Some days were dark
    I wish that I could live it all again
    Some nights were bright
    I wish that I could live it all again

    All the highlights of that headlong flight
    Holding on with all my might
    To what I felt back then
    I wish that I could live it all again

    I have stoked the fire on the big steel wheels
    Steered the airships right across the stars
    I learned to fight, I learned to love and learned to feel
    Oh, I wish that I could live it all again

    All the treasures
    The gold and glory
    It didn’t always feel that way
    I don’t regret it
    I never forget it
    I wouldn’t trade tomorrow for today

    I learned to fight and learned to love and learned to steal
    I wish that I could live it all again

    The ever-wandering pedlar.

    “What do you lack?”

    Songwriters: Alex Lifeson / Geddy Lee Weinrib / Neil Peart
    Headlong Flight lyrics © Ole Media Management Lp

    Again we have a sort of atmospheric intro and then a riff comes in and we move into a rock explosion, and Alex throws in a chordal riff, and the song proper starts. I actually like the way this intro comes together.

    This track works as our main character reflecting on their life, and wishing they could live it all again. It is nicely written lyrically and tells us what it needs to fairly succinctly.

    Geddy's vocal is pretty good here. It sort of walks the line between solid, and on the edge of not quite making it on occasion, but I have no problem with it.
    This track has a nice uptempo delivery and the song has Neil throwing in some nice fills in the pumping, fast section.
    I really like the tempo change and the way that section comes together. It has a lurching forward feel, in contrast to the headlong assault of the main section of the song, and I think that works well.

    Around the 4:30 point we get a strange kind of robotic voice over that leads into a really nice drum section. Geddy is rolling a really solid piece of bass here and then Alex launches into a shredding lead break that I really enjoy.... It is like he is unleashed form the years of sitting in the backseat, somewhat, if you know what I mean.

    This is a solid song, and to me, an unusual choice for a single, but I think it works.

    the last change into the slower section has a change of musical tone, and moves into a building section that again, for me works really well, and we end on a staccato chord finale.

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  6. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums Thread Starter

    I wasn't able to find the single edit. Apologies
  7. Al Gator

    Al Gator You can call me Al

    Headlong Flight is a huge highlight of this album. It's got an incredible drive, and the lyrics are really optimistic - an older person looking back on a life well-lived. If you can feel like this song after living most of your life, you've done something right. Great song!
  8. Quixote Kid

    Quixote Kid Well-Known Member

    Terlingua, TX.
    I think it's interesting that you mention that. The opening scene of Paris, Texas was filmed just outside of Big Bend National Park (SW Texas) on a private ranch.

    Neil says "Southwestern US history especially fascinates me. The whole spur of the Spanish exploration of the Southwestern US was the search for these mythical Seven Cities of Gold."

    He also said something to the effect that it's hard for him to pick a favorite national park, but the two he has visited the most are Death Valley and Big Bend National Park.

    Here is a picture I took a couple of years ago visiting the place where the opening scend of Paris, TX was filmed. (Can't get photo to load)

    Here is a picture that was taken (by Brutus?) of Neil almost in my back yard when they visited BBNP in July 2011 during the Time Machine tour. No, I didn't meet him.

  9. Lamus

    Lamus Forum Resident

    Tempe, Arizona
    Headlong Flight

    This is usually the part in post-80’s Rush albums when things get a bit dodgy, so I’m glad we get something with some meat on it here. I love the nod to Bastille Day in the intro. Actually, it’s more like a high five than a nod, but yeah, I like it. I have been enjoying this song much more listening to it on repeat as opposed to in the flow of the album (the 9th song on a long album).

    The first half of the verses in Headlong have that straight-ahead standard rock groove but things get interesting in the second half (the “some days were dark” part) and the choruses are just great; an unexpected slow down. Things really get going with the spoken word part. Neil plays an extended snare roll with some tom accents, that turns into a full-on fiery fill leading into Alex’s solo, or should I say Geddy’s solo, since he is blazing that killer bass line behind Alex. And what did they give Geddy before he sang this one? That wail at the end of the song is incredible.

    A really solid track with tons of energy. The final third of Clockwork is going to “stick the landing” for Rush’s career.
  10. RicB

    RicB Certified Porcupine Tree Fan

    Pacific NW, USA
    Headlong Flight

    One of the best songs on the album, if not the best. At odds with most of the rest of the album, I think Geddy actually sings this one fairly well (he hits one of those "I wish that I could live it all again" lines with quite a bit of power!). Everyone has a chance to show off their chops and some of the bits are reminiscent of early work (I particularly hear some "By-Tor" in there). One of this albums few highlights!
  11. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Denver, CO
    "Headlong Flight" (I keep wanting to type "Headless Flight", which would be an altogether different song...) is a pretty strong song and I love the use of the "Bastille Day" riff. It works in the context of a song about an older person looking back on his/her life. The song has a lot of energy, even if I don't find it all that melodically compelling. The lyrics are good, although (f0r me) they drive home the perception that the album's concept/storyline is largely falling flat. I don't think this song really adds to the bones of the story that was set out at the album's start. I'm also not big on the robotic voice insert and, to be honest, I don't think the song really merits its 7-and-a-half minute length.

    Good song, but not one of the album's best. I find it mostly notable for the lyrics (bittersweet in the context of Neil's passing, certainly) and the rock energy it brings.
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  12. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Denver, CO
    Wow! Somebody here who actually lives in Terlingua, Texas! I've explored almost all of this fair land but the Big Bend region remains one of the few areas I've yet to venture into. I want to take a raft trip through the canyons and camp in the park one of these years. I love that Neil appreciated nature so much and prized our national parks to the degree that he did. They our probably our best feature as a country. Fantastic photo!
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  13. Claus

    Claus Senior Member

    2nd best song on CA.
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  14. The MEZ

    The MEZ Forum Resident

    Headlong Flight 4.25/5
  15. BluesOvertookMe

    BluesOvertookMe Forum Resident

    Houston, TX, USA
    It took a second listen. To be frank, the first listen wasn't getting me. It just seemed too much. I started to wonder if it was just where I was mentally when I listened the first time.

    But now I am loving the energy of the riff, and Geddy's and Neil's playing is so rich and delicious. And I love Geddy's playing during the kinda out of control guitar solo. It's a winner!
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  16. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    Headlong Flight

    So in the course of participating in this thread, I learned that Carvan was the first single and the first release from the album, but where I was living at the time, the only advance release I heard before the official album release day was Headlong Flight.

    I was mightily impressed and the song did it's job as a prerelease--it had me salivating for the album and I was first in line to get my copy at the store on release day.

    The atmosphere... and the Rock! Do I hear a hint of a Bastille day riff in there? Why yes, I think I do. And Geddy's got a killer bass line in there... new and unique but still distinctly Geddy. Alex's solo is kind of throwback, but in a good way. And Neil is really pounding it out. The lyrics are good, but the music is so good, I don't think I would have cared what the lyrics were.

    The song is so aptly titled, as if flies pell mell into its message, its past, and its future... and into my continued appreciation for the band.
  17. BluesOvertookMe

    BluesOvertookMe Forum Resident

    Houston, TX, USA
    Well I hear it a little, so I think you DO.
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  18. Quixote Kid

    Quixote Kid Well-Known Member

    Terlingua, TX.
    Was just watching a live version of Headlong Flight, pretty sure Alex is using an open E tuning. Didn't notice that before. Great song, nice and heavy. Everything is firing on all cylinders. Knowing what I know now, I wonder if Neil had an idea of what may be coming. I know it's a concept album, but the lyrics could certainly apply to their lives also as a touring band and it all coming to an end.
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  19. Melllvar

    Melllvar No Matter Where You Go, There You Are!

    Anchorage, Alaska
    Headlong Flight:

    This song has reached iconic status with me. We have a callback riff to another classic Rush song, great guitar riffs and a wicked drum fill from Neil. Lyrics are great and thinking about it outside the concept, I could to apply it to my life journey. Easily relatable. It's a fun song when I first heard it and couldn't wait for the album to come out.

    I cannot believe I missed this. Nice shout out, Neil. Nice. :cool:
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  20. Megastroth

    Megastroth Forum Resident

    Headlong Flight
    This is a fun song. I don't really find the melody compelling enough to be a upper echelon Rush track but I do appreciate the power and enthusiasm in the band's performance. In some ways it reminds me of Bytor and the Snowdog with the guitar, bass and drum action that is going on in the instrumental section. They are really letting loose and when you compare it to an album like Presto, for example, you can see how they have really returned to their 70s hard rock roots. A loud, boisterous song like this seems like a good fit for a concert and, as expected, this comes off well. Geddy even does some pretty powerful singing that was right in the sweet spot where he can belt it out without sounding strained.

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
  21. dirkster

    dirkster Forum Resident

    McKinney, TX, USA
    Interesting that they did this, because on their previous album the first track “Far Cry” had a callback to a familiar chord from the song Hemispheres.
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  22. dirkster

    dirkster Forum Resident

    McKinney, TX, USA
    Catching up a bit....

    One thing I like about this album is that it has a sense of being an “album” in the old school meaning of the word. I feel like Rush have curated a real collection of songs here, as opposed to just finishing whatever ideas they had on hand. Every album since.... whenever, has felt like they had about 10-12 songs and should’ve picked the best 8 and just ran with it. But instead they finished all of them and put ‘em on the album instead of just making a handful of them Bsides. One can admire that approach as giving fans value for money instead of having to buy singles. Or one can be frustrated by the very inconsistent albums that lack a cohesive feel.

    Halo Effect
    Not top notch, but quite ok. I like the way Halo Effect lifts up into the chorus and gets a little momentum. Some of the midsection arrangement is quite nice too. Decent song, keeps the album flow going.

    “What did I do, fool that I was....”. The strings add a lot to this one as we get to the middle and then into the solo, only to return back to the strings. Short, and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. It sets up the next song very well.

    Seven Cities of Gold
    Now that’s better! Starts with a bass riff, a cowbell, and then some rising guitarwash noises. Here comes another long epic of a track. Doesn’t quite payoff, but I respect the effort. This has some “swagger”. The instrumental section is more guitarwash noises and I’m ok with that.

    The Wreckers
    Wow. I played that one for my wife and asked “whaddya think?” And she nailed it: “I think it’s a throwback to the 80’s”. The song is the chorus, and it lives or dies with it. It sure is memorable. The music is not special, and I understand the comment about the “hippie riff” at the beginning verse, but then the chorus - my god it’s like a moment of clarity. Sometimes the target *is* you. Again, no real guitar solo, but it has a late section that transitions satisfyingly for a bit before coming back to that chorus, and this time with strings. Well done guys.

    Headlong Flight
    From the echoed bass riff onward, this song gallops like some of my favorite old Iron Maiden tracks. Nice riffing here, and it sounds very fun to play. What does part that goes “I have stoked the fire of the big steel wheels” remind me of? Somewhere in my memory this is reminding me of another song and I can’t quite figure it out- this has been bugging me. Geddy gets off some great vocals wails in this track - he really extends on some of them. And then for good measure the voice of The Solar Federation shows up and we get a wild ass guitar solo. Oh yeah, loving this. They must have had so much fun doing this one live.
  23. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums Thread Starter


    THOSE FATEFUL WORDS, “What do you lack?” spark an inner monologue about all that I have lost. No more boundless optimism, no more faith in greater powers, too much pain, too much grief, and too much disillusion. Despite all that, I realize the great irony that although I now believe only in the exchange of love, even that little faith follows the childhood reflex that “I was brought up to believe.”

    I was brought up to believe
    Belief has failed me now
    The bright glow of optimism
    Abandoned me somehow

    Belief has failed me now
    Life goes from bad to worse
    No philosophy consoles me
    In a clockwork universe

    Life goes from bad to worse
    I still choose to live
    Find a measure of love and laughter
    And another measure to give

    I still choose to live
    And give, even while I grieve
    Though the balance tilts against me
    I was brought up to believe

    This is a reprise of sorts. Originally the vocal was over a more traditional Rush arrangement, but they kept the vocal and changed the music.
    Alex arranged the strings and keyboards, and this string version ended up becoming the reprise of the track from early on in the album.

    I think it is very effective. It is short, and essentially just a linking piece, but does its job well.

    Lyrically this is a somewhat sad reflection of a man who is left with faith in nothing, but keeps trying.
    When we base our beliefs in the idea that everything in life should go right for us, we will inevitably lose faith in those beliefs, because that just isn't how it works.
    Life will always be a challenge for anybody that participates in it, no matter what their belief system.

    I don't really have much to add really, a nice link song, that is effective in its delivery and achieves its goal.

  24. Flaevius

    Flaevius Forum Resident

    Essex, UK
    Headlong Flight: this track has a lot of momentum, chops aplenty and all three members get the chance to showcase their talents. Geddy's inconsistent vocal comes across well here and I like his stuttering delivery of: "I wish that I could live it all again". Really nice solo from Alex at the back end, feels effortless without being in any way flashy. There's enough content here to fill out the full 7"20. Nice pick out of the Bastille Day reference, I wouldn't have caught that. Which leads on to...

    BU2B2: ...a revisit of the intro to Cygnus X-1, Book I.

    This is a mere snip of a track. Neil puts his message across in direct fashion, but I also have little else to say about it. Next.
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  25. Al Gator

    Al Gator You can call me Al

    BU2B2 is hardly a song, more a link with very unusual instrumentation for Rush. It seems to have the opposite message compared to Headlong Flight - this is somebody who's lost faith, and doesn't look back on a life well-lived. It's an oddity.

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