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What happens when a rock band has a literati as a lyricist? You end up with a band whose songs are more diverse than any other artist in rock. Of course, Rush (the band, not the blowhard) has a long history of lyrics with their roots in literature since their lyricist (and drummer), Neil Peart, is a heavy reader with wide interests. In his younger days he wrote some lyrics that were inspired by Ayn Rand but he soon grew out of that ("oh no, that was 40 years ago") and began reaching out to the far edges of literature. From The Lord Of The Rings to Samuel Taylor Coleridge to histories and science fiction, you can find hundreds of literary references in Peart's lyrics. He has certainly justified his band mate's decision to turn lyric writing over to him soon after he joined them in 1974.

Follow me over the orange squiggle to learn more about the new release and how Voltaire and steampunk figure in...

The latest effort by the long-lasting Rush is Clockwork Angels, an honest-to-goodness concept album -- something that few would even attempt but this band has a history of daring them. Of course, the last time they did it was in 1978 (Hemispheres) but they have not lost their ability to maintain a story-line. This particular story has influences as far-ranging as Candide and the world of steampunk. As Peart tells it, he and his band mates were discussing possibilities for their next album in 2009 and he began to describe the concept he had: "Well, I've been thinking lately about this setting ... And I explained this whole steampunk thing to the guys and they seemed kind of intrigued. So I started working, and the story came together organically."[1] Also figuring in the story are Daphne Du Maurier's Jamaica Inn, Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent and the legends of Cibola and Eldorado. Peart put them all together to tell the story of a young man's life and adventures in a steampunk world inspired by his friend, Kevin J. Anderson, who is a pioneer in the steampunk oeuvre.

One theme that runs through the album, and through the book that influenced it, is "all is for the best" and how that philosophy changes for the protagonists. In Candide, the philosopher Pangloss maintains this outlook despite the misfortune that befalls him and his young student. After meeting back up with him towards the end of the book, Candide asks him:

"Well, my dear Pangloss," said Candide to him, "when you had been hanged, dissected, whipped, and were tugging at the oar, did you always think that everything happens for the best?"
"I am still of my first opinion," answered Pangloss, "for I am a philosopher and I cannot retract..."[2]
In the lyrics of BU2B (Brought Up To Believe), Peart first brings up the idea:
All is for the best
Believe in what we're told
Blind men in the market
Buying what we're sold
The protagonist of Clockwork Angels, Owen Hardy, is setting out to make his fortune, and obviously questioning the status quo. This is in contrast to Candide who seldom did so. However, this will not make much difference in their eventual paths -- many adventures await both young men.

For Candide, his adventure takes him from his "best of all possible worlds" in Westphalia to the Bulgarian army and into a war which he finds has certain rules. Hardy, who was also told that he lived in the "best of all possible worlds," leaves his small village and begins his adventures in Crown City, which operates under its own rules. There, the Watchmaker - a benevolent ruler much like Candide's Baron - rules through the alchemical-priests, who speak through the Angels:

Clockwork Angels raise their arms and sing
Synchronized and graceful, they move like living things
Goddesses of light, of Sea and Sky and Land
Clockwork Angels, the people raise their hands -- as if to fly
The Angels are the spiritual machinery through which the Watchmaker keeps the population distracted and happy. There doesn't seem to be any malevolence to the Watchmaker's rule -- indeed, he disguises himself as a Pedlar, going about and asking his people, "What do you lack?" so as to make their lives better -- yet everything is dictated and the fates of all are seen as inevitable. They have been taught that whatever happens to them must be for the best else it wouldn't happen. Much like Candide's Pangloss, the people of this steampunk world do believe that "all is for the best."

Somewhat like Candide's conscription into war, Hardy also has a moment of no-return when an anarchist tosses a bomb his way during a street carnival. The Anarchist (from a character in the Conrad novel) has his own song in which we learn of his hatred for the docile and happy people of the City:

The lenses inside of me that paint the world black
The pools of poison, the scarlet mist that spills over into rage
The things I've always been denied
An early promise that somehow died
A missing part of me that grows around me like a cage
Hardy cries out to warn to crowd but is mistaken for the bomber himself. He flees with the carnival, beginning his real adventures. Like Candide, his escape will take him many places. But where Candide was driven away from love, Owen is driven towards it and falls in love with a performer in the carnival. Like so many before him, he finds his heart broken:
What did I see?
Fool that I was
A goddess with wings on her heels
All my illusions
Projected on her
The ideal that I wanted to see
The same could be said of Candide's love, Cunegonde, for whom he chased all over the world. Both men see an illusion and graft their ideal upon the woman they love. Hardy's lament:
So shameful to tell
Just how often I fell
In love with illusions again
could easily be said of Candide, as well. For when he learns that his beloved is indeed alive, they wind up traveling across the sea to South America, chasing yet another illusion. This time, after even more separations and adventures, Candide stumbles upon the real thing: Eldorado. In Clockwork Angels, Hardy leaves the carnival, broken heart and all, and crosses the sea in search of the most famous of the seven cities of gold, Cibola.
Seven Cities of Gold
Stories that fired my imagination
Seven Cities of Gold
A splendid mirage in this desolation
Seven Cities of Gold
Glowing in my dreams like hallucinations
Glitter in the sun like a revelation
Distant as a comet or a constellation
His travels take him from sculpted deserts to frozen wastelands but unlike Candide, he is not successful in his quest. Candide, spending a month in Eldorado, chooses to continue on his quest for a life with his beloved. He is again thwarted and makes his way back over the sea. Hardy, too, returns to the port city and finds a berth on a ship sailing homeward. Both men wind up just short of their destinations: Candide's ship is sunk while Owen's ship is lured onto a reef by The Wreckers:
Driven aground, with that awful sound
Drowned by a cheer from ashore
We wonder what for
The people swarm through the darkling storm
Gather everything they can score
'Til their backs won't bear anymore
Owen is the only one left alive. This is, of course, where DuMarier's Jamaica Inn influenced the story. Candide, having survived his shipwreck goes on to survive other close calls and have many reunions. The narrative for Clockwork Angels skips over the rest of Hardy's adventures -- though we will get a complete accounting in the companion novel penned by Kevin J. Anderson very soon.

Now Owen reminisces, speaking of his adventures and how he wishes he could live it all again. Here is the only lyric influenced by real-life. Peart's drumming guru, Freddie Gruber, died last fall. One of the last things he said to his student was, "What a ride. I wish that I could live it all again." Peart pays tribute to Gruber in the lyrics and the song's introduction:

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.”
Much as Candide lost his optimism in the face of the inhumanity he encountered:
"Oh, Pangloss!" cried Candide, "thou hadst not guessed at this abomination; it is the end. I must at last renounce thy optimism."
"What is this optimism?" said Cacambo.
"Alas!" said Candide, "it is the madness of maintaining that everything is right when it is wrong."[3]
so, now, does Owen find his belief failing him:
I was brought up to believe
Belief has failed me now
The bright glow of optimism
Abandoned me somehow
Yet, even as Candide finally did, he chooses to live:
I still choose to live
And give, even while I grieve
Though the balance tilts against me
I was brought up to believe
and finds that his belief has not failed him but has simply changed, grown and evolved.

One of the ways his belief changed was in his reactions to people who make problems in his life. When he was younger, he allowed them to influence him too much (didn't we all?). Now, he has decided to cut them loose:

Thank your stars you’re not that way
Turn your back and walk away
Don’t even pause and ask them why
Turn around and say goodbye
And now Candide and Clockwork Angels converge again. The former is even mentioned by name in the Introduction to the final song:
LONG AGO I READ A STORY FROM ANOTHER TIMELINE about a character named Candide. He also survived a harrowing series of misadventures and tragedies, then settled on a farm near Constantinople. Listening to a philosophical rant, Candide replied, “That is all very well, but now we must tend our garden.”

I have now arrived at that point in my own story. There is a metaphorical garden in the acts and attitudes of a person’s life, and the treasures of that garden are love and respect. I have come to realize that the gathering of love and respect — from others and for myself — has been the real quest of my life.

“Now we must tend our garden.”

So that takes care of the story but what about the music? Ah.... I can dutifully report that it is, as the kids say: Full of Win. I will take the songs one-by-one and link the video in their titles so as not to slow this for those who get bogged down with embeds. It is important to read the Introductions to the songs as there are several points not covered here. You can find them along with the lyrics at Cygnus X-1, the best Rush info website around.

Producer Nick Raskulinecz drove Lee, Lifeson and Peart to heights that they may have not even known they could reach. But after the success of their Time Machine Tour and the virtuosity with which they are now playing, they were willing to be driven. Old equipment and effects were resurrected, including Taurus pedals -- they had to rent what turned out to be the very set they had used on the Permanent Waves tour in 1979 and later sold. Raskulinecz and Peart used a new method of creating drum parts on this album, with Raskulinecz "conducting" the drummer in his parts. The spontaneity is clear and refreshing, showing Peart's abilities to the hilt.

Dedicated to the memory of our dear friend Andrew MacNaughtan,
February 25, 1964 - January 25, 2012
Caravan is the album opener. Rush fans will recognize this and the following song as the ones that were released in 2010 and performed on the Time Machine Tour. They haven't been re-recorded but they have been fine-tuned and sweetened a bit. This is a straight-ahead rocker with some intense work from all three band members. A great way to start the journey.

BU2B (Brought Up To Believe) has a new acoustic beginning with echoing vocals and effects. But it goes into a grungy, driving sound soon enough.

Clockwork Angels starts out with echoing, airy effects which fade as Lifeson's guitar grinds the gears into motion. The drums on this track will please those who like them deep and resonant. Lee and Lifeson manage to move between driving rock and blues effortlessly. If you like Rush because of their Prog sensibilities, this track will make you happy. It's crowned by the second best Lifeson solo on the album.

The Anarchist hearkens back to an earlier Rush sound with crashy guitar, thumping bass and Peart going to the floor toms with vigor. The riff will pop up in your head when you least expect it. The spooky whisper of "what do you lack" (the Pedlar's cry - see, you need to read the Introductions) is echoed by Lee's bass in a particularly neat touch. Listen for the musical cue and then the Anarchist's answer. After cranking us up it cross fades into...

Carnies which sets up the atmosphere, fading in with crowd noise and carnival music. Then an incredibly gritty guitar comes at us (I swear that a 20-year-old Lifeson must have been time traveled here just for this), setting up Lee's bass and vocals. But Lifeson has another trick up his sleeve, with a flanged, mechanical-sounding guitar flitting around the mix. The insistent rhythms climb and then end suddenly, leaving us breathless.

Halo Effect gives us time to catch our breath with trademark Lifeson acoustic work and smooth vocals from Lee. If any Rush song could be considered a power ballad, it's this one. Yet they instill it with their trademark sounds, raising it above the typical power ballad. Oh, did I mention the strings? Yes, Rush availed themselves of a string section and they fit perfectly here and in the other four songs in which they appear. Trust me.

Seven Cities Of Gold begins with a funky bass-line laid down by Lee while Lifeson adds atmosphere and Peart teases us with cymbal and cowbell. When they all line up and the riff begins, they have us with them and ready to go. This is one to turn up loud. It also has one of my favorite lines: "Wake to aching cold and a deep Sahara of snow..." Isn't that evocative?

The Wreckers begins with a deceptively upbeat guitar which sounds almost jangle-pop-REM-ish. As the story unfolds it grows darker without losing that feel. I know that sounds like a reach but it's not. This song was written "backwards": Lifeson and Lee, during the writing process, switched instruments to freshen their approach to the song (this turned out well for me as Lee's guitar parts are easier for me to learn) though they stuck with their usual axes for recording. Both musicians have referred to this as "our Barenaked Ladies song."

Headlong Flight begins with Lee's airy bass riff. He is soon joined by his band mates and the fun begins. There is a deliberate evocation of Bastille Day with bass and drum interplay behind the guitar. Then soaring guitars, driving bass and drums that shuffle between primitive and sublime are a fitting tribute to Mr. Gruber. We are taken on a headlong flight, indeed. For the nostalgic listener, Lifeson brings out his old wah-wah pedal for the solo. Hang on!

BU2B2 is a reprise of the earlier song and here the strings are shown to be a brilliant choice. Lee's smooth vocal speaks of despair and hope in one of his best vocals on the album.

Wish Them Well builds on that hope with an upbeat, bouncy feel and the arpeggiated guitar under the chorus takes an almost sunny turn. This is the closest Rush will ever get to pop yet they still maintain their own sound. The lyrics are loaded with great advice (which I wish I'd heard when I was young). The paraphrased Churchill quote at the end is a nice exclamation point to the entire philosophy.

The Garden brings us to the end of the journey with the strings reappearing under Lee's soft bass. Lifeson's acoustic takes over as Lee begins singing his best vocals on the disc. Strings and piano accentuate the simple yet profound lyrics, with Peart coming in so softly that you hardly notice at first. The song builds to Lifeson's best solo on the album. By the time the song fades away, I dare you not to have a tear in your eye. Many Rush fans have pondered the possibility of this being the band's last studio album and if that were the case, this song would make a beautiful and poignant coda to their long career. If you listen to nothing else here -- and if you're not even a Rush fan, I thank you for sticking with me all this way -- listen to this song. I guarantee it will move you.

So there you have it: Clockwork Angels is an album by a band that is comfortable with itself, marked by jams and virtuoso playing. It swings between heavy and soft, rough and soothing. It is cinematic and evocative -- it's easy to envision the story and settings. And it is fun, both for the artists and for the listener. Many fans are calling this their best album in 20 years. I'll leave that up to you. But it is definitely worth your time.

As is the book that inspired it. Candide may have been written in the late 18th century but Voltaire's observations of life still hold true today. And we all have a garden to tend.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] Q&A: Neil Peart On Rush's New LP and Being a 'Bleeding Heart Libertarian': By Andy Greene; June 12, 2012

[2] Voltaire (2011-03-30). Candide (p. 91). Kindle Edition.

[3] ibid. (p. 53).  

Originally posted to The Way The Wind Blows on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by An Ear for Music, DKOMA, Protest Music, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great diary, pp! I loved reading it :) (5+ / 0-)

    And the reminder of one of my favorite lines in literature:

    Now we must tend [cultivate] our garden.
    (in fact, that would be such a great sig line for this site!
    hmmm.....)
  •  It's like the old diet candy, 'AIDS' (10+ / 0-)

    It really cheeses me off that after decades of hard work to create so much fine art, the first thing people now think of when you mention 'Rush' is that flaming paper bag full of dog feces. I can't imagine how the band feels.

    But I'm very glad that they continue producing interesting and entertaining works. Hope the Rush fans enjoy! (the right Rush fans, you understand)

    Romney 2012 - Ask not what your profits can do for you, but what you can do for your profits. (Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #89)

    by Fordmandalay on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 05:37:21 PM PDT

  •  That's some concept! (6+ / 0-)

    Good to see that there's always a place for book nerds, even in rock and roll.  Thanks for the diary

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 05:46:38 PM PDT

  •  Steampunk conference "Octopodicon", October 2012 (3+ / 0-)

    read more at Kickstart or Octopodicon sites.

    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.

    by weck on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 07:25:28 PM PDT

  •  Yay! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess

    Thanks for a great diary! I was flipping stations this afternoon and got rewarded with hearing the first strains of "Spirit of Radio." What a lift! I'll look forward to hearing this album.

    Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. --Mark Twain

    by Debby on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 08:11:18 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for reading :) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Debby

      That song, TSOR, is such an uplifting song. They used it as their opener last tour and it was fantastic!

      Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause to ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

      by Purple Priestess on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 08:27:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, PP, lovely. Love music and (3+ / 0-)

    love literature. Lots of work, this, and well turned out.

    Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

    by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 09:08:08 PM PDT

  •  I was hoping for Voltaire the singer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, Purple Priestess

    Speaking of steampunk and literacy.

  •  Then there's the operetta "Candide," (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess

    composed by Leonard Bernstein over 50 years ago. If you remember the Dick Cavett Show on PBS, the show's theme song was an excerpt from a song called "Glitter and Be Gay".

    But the angle said to them, "Do not be Alfred. A sailor has been born to you"

    by Dbug on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 09:50:08 PM PDT

  •  30-year Rush Fan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess, shaharazade

    Did I really just type that?  Yep - first real exposure was during the Moving Pictures tour and I've been a follower ever since.  

    But this album, like Snakes and Arrows before it, knocks me out on the first song and then fails to connect with me thereafter.  It may take a while; Vapor Trails really sunk in over the couple of years since I first bought it - it is now one of my favorites, but that made the horrendous, distorted production all the more frustrating.

    I find Clockwork Angels fatiguing.  I think it's a psychological impression caused in part by the brickwall compression (which marred VT but VT also suffered from tracking problems - levels too high, sounds like), similar guitar distortion much of the way through, and vocal inflections that have been overused to the point of cliche.  Enough of the same timbres just shoved at you in a continuous wash, and eventually your ears just check out as they wait for something else to connect with.

    Don't get me wrong - I love this band.  But they and me aren't as tight as we used to be.

    •  I've heard the VT thing a lot (0+ / 0-)

      and, yeah, I hear it. It's annoying but I can handle it. This album, though, is so much clearer. Yes, it's loud but it's not distorted like VT was. Many folks are preferring the vinyl, however.

      Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause to ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

      by Purple Priestess on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 01:34:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For some reason when I hear (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess, shaharazade

    "Voltaire and Steampunk" I think of this guy...

    You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

    by Johnny Q on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 12:15:43 AM PDT

  •  Been a fan since 1987 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, Purple Priestess

    when I was a high school student, and it seemed like Hold Your Fire was written specifically for me.  It's still my favorite album, but I have to say that Clockwork Angels might very well be their best.  So musically diverse, so beautifully put together.  

    And don't worry a bit about this being their last album.  I've been hearing that each and every time since Presto came out in 1989.  The guys have said that when they're ready to call it quits, they'll let everyone know.  They haven't.  So just sit back and enjoy.  It's driving me nuts that I won't be able to attend a show this fall (I'm in Japan), but hope to catch them again sometime down the road.  

    •  Hold Your Fire (0+ / 0-)

      is one of my favorite Rush albums. Yes, even Tai Shan! The lyrics are among Neil's best and the music is just brilliant, both in terms of playing and acoustically. Prime Mover is a Top 5 song for me - it always makes me smile :)

      I'm sorry you'll miss this leg of the tour but they'll be adding another leg next year. Hopefully you'll catch that :)

      Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause to ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

      by Purple Priestess on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:32:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why does everyone rag on Tai Shan? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Purple Priestess

        It's a beautiful song and has very evocative lyrics.  I've never understood the fury this song brings out in some Rush fans.  Is it the front-and-center keyboards, or something?  

        I also agree on Prime Mover.  It's my favorite track on that album.  

        My favorite single song, though, remains Animate.  

        This new album, though... I expect Rush albums to be good, of course, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around how great Clockwork Angels is.  In baseball terms (Geddy would approve), I never expect Rush to strike out.  I expected a single or a double this at-bat... and Rush hit a 500-foot home run.  

        •  Great analogy! (0+ / 0-)

          And I don't understand the hate for Tai Shan, either. It's a great tune - the vocals, the bass, the drums and percussion are prefect and Al's guitar is sublime. The way he made it sound like a koto (forgot the Chinese name of that). It's so good.

          I think that the ones who hate it most are guys who have a problem dealing with emotions. That whole album is about emotions and it ranks low on the "old Rush=good, new Rush=bad" demographic ;)

          Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause to ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

          by Purple Priestess on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:24:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, Purple Priestess

    An excellent read. Republished to DKOMA and Protest Music for Protest Tuesday.

    Hairy Larry

    Please join the Protest Music Group where we sing truth to power.

    by hairylarry on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:36:05 AM PDT

  •  Tipped and recced for your obvious deep love (3+ / 0-)

    for this music.

    Growing up in southern Ontario (from the age of seven on I lived in Neil Peart's home town - my German teacher in high school had had him as a student) in the 1970s I was constantly exposed to large amounts of Rush.  Next to Led Zeppelin they were the band my hard rock friends worshipped the most fervently.  I was more into 60s music and then later punk and new wave but I did appreciate some of their music that seemed more 'emotional' such as Closer to the Heart and Lakeside Park (a place I often used to visit as a child).  And I loved 'Spirit of Radio'.

    Since leaving Canada in 1984 I have rarely thought about Rush - amazing to think how long they have lasted - no change in lineup since 1974!?

    "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

    by matching mole on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:55:40 AM PDT

    •  Thank you :) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      matching mole

      Yes, I do love Rush's music. I also admire them as musicians and people. Part of the reason they have stayed together so long is the deep friendship they share. You just have to salute that, ya know?

      Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause to ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

      by Purple Priestess on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:35:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is why I love Decemberists, too: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess
    What happens when a rock band has a literati as a lyricist?
    Great album review, thanks!  I'll definitely have to check this one out.
  •  I don't have Counterparts or Test for Echo (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess

    on LP, but I have everything else. I'm enjoying Clockwork Angels. Thanks, PP, for the exegesis on the concept.

    I do have a criticism of later Rush, however. They've settled into a 6-minute song rut. It seems like they have trouble editing their work down on songs that might benefit from it.

    Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit.

    by cultjake on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:07:11 AM PDT

    •  Well, they have figured out (0+ / 0-)

      how to distill the concept better, I think. Though there are two 7:00+ minute songs on CA.

      After Hemispheres, they say, they decided that they would try to say as much as a 20-minute song in under 6:00 minutes. I think they have been successful in that but I don't think they will ever be able to get below 5:00. That's fine with me, though.... ;)

      Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause to ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

      by Purple Priestess on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:38:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Concept albums, were a thing of the past, (3+ / 0-)

    or so I had thought until you mentioned this one.  Concept albums are my preferred listening platform, and I have just about the entire Alan Parsons Project discography in support of that style.  Have a listen to Tales of Mystery and Imagination: Edgar Allen Poe, and I'm sure that you will be pleased.

    -8.88, -7.77 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

    by wordene on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 06:48:49 AM PDT

    •  I don't know if he's your thing, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wordene, Purple Priestess, Dbug

      but Frank Zappa's family trust just settled a longstanding dispute with Universal Music Enterprises, who have controlled and withheld a lot of his music from being reissued. From the Zappa family:

      “The artist and composer, Frank Zappa, is one of the most important and influential artists in music history with his prolific body of work, including his breakthrough rock ‘n roll concept albums. We are honored that Gail Zappa and the Zappa Family Trust have entrusted us with his legacy. We intend to honor him and bring high quality releases, digital and physical, for his new and longtime fans,” said Bruce Resnikoff, President/CEO, Universal Music Enterprises (UMe).
      link

      If you like concept albums and Frank Zappa, this is a treasure trove of recordings that have been out of circulation for quite some time. Much of it very rare material that most Zappa fans haven't even been exposed to yet.

      Also just wanted to add that Rush is and always has been incredible. Thank you to Neil, Geddy, and Alex for so much great music over the years.

      •  That is fantastic! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cloudbustingkid

        Thank you for that news. I was blessed to see Zappa perform live twice. He was an amazing musician and person. I often wonder what he would have made of the Tea Party et.al. Mincemeat, I imagine ;)

        And I agree - Rush is, was and will always be, incredible.

        Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause to ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

        by Purple Priestess on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:42:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, I'm a big fan of APP (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wordene

      And Tales is my favorite of their oeuvre. I'm a huge Prog Rock fan and love concept albums as well. Nice to meet another one! Thanks for reading :)

      Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause to ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

      by Purple Priestess on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:40:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another band with literary leanings is: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess

    The Decembrists. Listen to their song "Calamity Song" (on their album from last year "The King Is Dead"), and you know these are some serious David Foster Wallace & "Infinite Jest" junkies. And you other "Infinite Jest" and Decembrist junkies know what I mean. ("In the year of the chewable Ambien tab" always makes me laugh.)

    Liberals think the glass is half-full. Conservatives think the glass is theirs.

    by dewtx on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 10:54:46 AM PDT

    •  I will do that, thank you. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dewtx

      Interesting that you mention "infinite jest" as it is in the first verse of The Garden:

      In this one of many possible worlds, all for the best, or some bizarre test?
      It is what it is — and whatever
      Time is still the infinite jest

      Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause to ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

      by Purple Priestess on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:45:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course it all starts with Shakespeare. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Purple Priestess

        Hamlet contemplating the skull of Yorick (the court jester who looked after him when he was a child) in the gravedigger scene (Act V, Scene i):

        Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now?

        Liberals think the glass is half-full. Conservatives think the glass is theirs.

        by dewtx on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 03:03:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "Calamity Song" YouTube video by The Decemberists (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Purple Priestess

        Their music video (as well as the song itself) captures so many details from the Eschaton section in DFW's "Infinite Jest". (Don't drink from the NASA cup! Too late.)

        Liberals think the glass is half-full. Conservatives think the glass is theirs.

        by dewtx on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 03:25:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Decemberists (not The Decembrists) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Purple Priestess

      And having seen Tom Stoppard's "The Coast of Utopia" trilogy I now know who the original Decemberists were.

      Liberals think the glass is half-full. Conservatives think the glass is theirs.

      by dewtx on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 03:09:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll be sure to give it a listen but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess

    to be honest, while there are Rush songs that are good, by in large, the music part of it all just has never been that interesting.  Yes, great lyrics and all but....the music, to me, is essentially boring.

    •  I'm sorry you feel that way (0+ / 0-)

      But this album is anything BUT boring. As I said, it's fun.

      Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause to ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

      by Purple Priestess on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:46:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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