Alright you Rush freaks, I am going to indulge in some cult music geekery and list my top 5 favorite Rush songs in 2 different categories. Instrumental music and lyrical content. Picking only 5 for each category is a cardinal sin considering how many amazing songs they have. but I will try my best to cover the few I've chosen. The first list is about my favorite rush songs in regards to the instrumental quality of music.
5. Seven cities of gold
This song is from their latest album release Clockwork Angels. It amazes me that a band that was formed in 1968 can still be putting out such heavy hitting material in 2012. I think my favorite instrument of any rock band is the bass guitar. And theres really nothing more satisfying than hearing a true master of the bass create a great jam like Seven cities of gold. That opening bass line to this song is so irresistible that you have to at least nod your head to it. The way Alex Lifeson builds it up the opening to the main riff with his distortion compliments Geddy’s noodling. It then kicks into the main riff of the song which is one of the most ass kicking and aggressive sounding things in Rush’s catalog. I think this song could almost stand on its own as an instrumental piece. Geddy Lee’s bass ingenuity seems to only improving with time. The song Headlong Flight also from Clockwork Angels shows this fact.
Psychedelic sounding lyrics aside, Xanadu is still a very weird song. Coming from their prog rock sounding album A Farewell to Kings, Xanadu’s sounds seem to inspire images of the divine. It begins with the sounds of birds chirping and a droning monotone synth sound in the background. Ringing bells and distorted guitars are heard as It slowly builds up into the complicated sounding main riff of the song. What I love about this song is just the feeling I get when I listen to it. Its a feeling of unearthliness and a feeling of transcendence. As if a great revelation of the meaning of life is about to occur.
3. The Camera Eye
Its true I’m a sucker for the sounds of the 1980s synthesizer. The Camera Eye is heavy with it. It also contains one of my favorite Alex Lifeson guitar solos. The song is from their seminal 1981 album Moving Pictures. This is perhaps their last prog rock sounding song they ever recorded. The song is about the feelings you perceive in different cities such as New York and London. What I love most about it is my own appropriate sentimentality of the song. My first Rush concert I attended was in Vancouver. As I toured around this city I had never been before, The Camera Eye was one of the songs I was listening to on my Ipod. Now whenever I play that song, I experience some of the feelings of excitement of seeing Vancouver for the first time.
2. Leave that thing alone
This has always been one of my favorites. For some reason for me this song just seems to me like sex in musical form. The groovy bass line and drumming seems to inspire a kind of sensual dance. Alex Lifeson’s guitar solo that builds into a screaming climax seals the deal as a sexual song. The song is from their 1993 album Counterparts. The whole album is themed with songs about love, sex and relationships. The name of the album and the album art is just pure innuendo. The live version of the song is even better than the album version. It includes an amazing bass solo at the end by Geddy Lee
1. La Villa Strangiato (An Exercise in Self-Indulgence)
According to wikipedia, this song was inspired by a dream that Alex Lifeson had. From their 1978 album Hemispheres, it is the very first exclusively instrumental song. I think this is the song defines Rush as a band that is concerned with pure music first and foremost. Clocking in at 9:35, it feels like a peek inside the in the collective minds of true music geniousess. Its an epic journey through uncompromised and immodest artistic indulgence. My favorite part being the incredible Alex Lifeson guitar solo at 3:35.