Twenty Rush Albums in Twenty Days
Often I find that opinions are based on conclusions made long ago, reinforced only by repeating the opinion rather than through reexamination. How many times have you revisited a TV show from the 70s or 80s only to find that, “Hey, Fame was actually embarrassingly bad – no wonder Mom didn’t watch it with me”? Some things age well (The Dick Van Dyke Show, wine, Eddie Cochran), and some don’t (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Kool-Aid, The Monkeys), and sometimes opinions do a complete one-eighty (upon further examination, ABBA and The Bee Gees have gone up several notches in my book).
A few years ago, I listened to what I had previously concluded was among Rush’s worst albums, Grace Under Pressure, and lo and behold, I liked it. I hadn’t listened to it in years, and I realized that my prior opinion was likely based on a memory I’d made twenty years earlier.
It is with this spirit that I am going to embark on a 20-day musical journey, limited in scope, though spanning forty years. I’m going to listen to all twenty of Rush’s studio albums, one per day, and reevaluate them. To do this, I’m going to attempt to press reset and ignore any conclusions I’ve already drawn about each album. If you asked me today, I’d likely say the two best Rush albums are Moving Pictures and Permanent Waves and the worst are Feedback and Caress of Steel. But who knows? Perhaps with a clean slate and fresh ears, I may find new gems (and new clunkers) in Rush’s catalogue.
Here are the ground rules:
1) I will listen to one CD – not album – per day by drawing a number out of a hat, each number corresponding to the Rush album sequence. 1 = Rush, 2 = Fly By Night … 19 = Snakes and Arrows, 20 = Clockwork Angels.
2) I will listen intently and uninterrupted, wearing head phones and performing no other tasks except perhaps jotting down a note or two.
3) Each day, I will write a short review of the listening experience.
4) After twenty days, I’ll attempt to place each Rush album in order from best to worst through the eyes of a 46 year-old me, recognizing that the sequence could change again down the road.
I’ve already drawn the first number. Tomorrow morning I’ll be listening to album number 12, 1987’s Hold Your Fire (the first Rush album I’d ever purchased on CD).