Moving Pictures (1981)


1.Tom Sawyer
2.Red Barchetta
3.YYZ
4.Limelight
5.The Camera Eye
6.Witch Hunt
7.Vital Signs

 

Yep. This is it. This is the quintessential Rush album. I doubt any fan would state otherwise. If you're a Rush fan, then this thing is perfect. Great songs, great lyrics, great production, great direction, and the band just sounds as though they couldn't be any more in sync with each other throughout the whole thing.

Production wise, this album basically picks up where they left off on last year's Permanent Waves. The albums almost sound identical in terms of production, and whereas the earlier record was outstanding in all things Rush related, this one seems to "one-up" that record. Any time any one of these songs makes an appearance in Rush show more than 30 years after its release, the crowd still goes bonkers. Not surprisingly, the band played it in its entirety during their Time Machine tour in 2011.

Of course, every Rush fan (or music fan, for that matter) knows Tom Sawyer. Strangely, the song never cracked the top 40 even though it was the first (and some would argue "only") Rush song that would get played on top 40 radio stations. This song has the distinction of being the only Rush song that gets played at each and every concert. True, some Rush fans are a bit tired of it, but that's because of the repetitive playings, not because the song lacks quality. This song actually kinds of sums up a typical Rush song – heavy rock, plenty of loud guitar, tons of drum fills, and a synthesizer solo or two. Add some lyrics that are incredibly atypical for any normal piece of music, and you have the Rush formula pretty much down pat. Maybe it was a good thing that this song was the first heard by many fans back in the day. You could probably decide right then and there if you had any interest in going deeper into the band's catalog.

On the other side of the coin is Limelight, a bit more regular, a bit more melodic, a bit more radio friendly, yet rocks just as hard as anything else the band does, and you have yet another classic amongst the core following. Then we have the "lengthy piece" – that would be The Camera Eye. Talk about a perfect blend of beautiful, meaningful lyrics along with a counterpart of strong melody. Complete, of course, with searing guitar solos. Not surprisingly, it can be argued that this song probably would get the most votes for "fan favorite". For years the Rush internet boards were screaming for the band to resurrect this one for the shows. The band, however, didn't hold the song in the same regard, so requests went ignored until the above mentioned Time Machine tour. Of course, the band then admitted that they actually had quite a bit of fun with the song.

YYZ (last letter pronounced zed, for all you non Canadians) probably gets the award for "Best Instrumental Song" by the band. A pretty hefty award considering the competition. This one has also sort of morphed its way into becoming a staple at every show. Equal sentiments can be said of the remaining tracks – the fan favorite Red Barchetta, the quirky, uneven, yet brilliant Vital Signs, and the "studio" piece (meaning "we'll never be able to do this one live") Witch Hunt. Technology would evolve, however, to allow the studio piece to be played live, however, and play it live they do – with amazing precision.

Although the band would keep the Rush momentum going for well over three decades after this album, most feel they've never quite done anything quite as remarkable. That shouldn't discourage anyone since this would be no easy feat. Plus, the band still had plenty of great records and life left in them to keep the masses satisfied for many years (decades, generations, etc.) to come. Sure there are those who "gave up" on the band after this album, yet every group seems to have a legion of grouchy fans that never seem to be able to appreciate anything, you know, current.

The cover was kinda cool, too. A moving picture made about people moving pictures with people crying because the pictures were so….um…….moving.

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