Rush is a thinking man’s band. Sure, they have some songs that are ridiculous and humorous in nature, such as “I Think I’m Going Bald” and “Trees” (which trees, off this album, is fantastic and about trees and how they somehow relate to oppression). In fact, they have so many songs that connect the dots between the words interesting, cool, and funny that it’s almost impossible to deny that Rush is intentionally trying to portray themselves as intellectuals bordering on obsessive comedians and expert hobbyists on their instruments.
What makes Rush albums so memorable, though, is how each of their songs act as both a separate story and an allegory, creating music with both wisdom and variety. They aren’t your typical love song rock band. Instead, they use the music platform they have to write about Sci Fi car chases, future dystopias, battles between gods, and the journey of individuals around the world.
The singing and lyrics reside above the stellar instrumentation of the band. From the noises of spaceships to the loaded bass and drums and the rocking guitars and eerie synthesizers, Rush’s album Hemispheres provides an ample foundation to introduce newcomers to the band as it combines both their long-song 70s and the synth-song 80s, with the synth-songs kept to providing an atmosphere and not being at the forefront of the music.
In fact, what am I kidding, I love both eras equally! But especially on Hemispheres, which starts with Book 2 of Cygnus X-1, the battle between gods song epic, and ends with “Strangiatto”, an instrumental song of a nightmare that Alex Lifeson had.
Even when they’re not singing on the album, the band is telling a story of some kind. As I said, this is a great band that explores the expansive possibilities of music both lyrically and instrumentally. While they follow the progressive rock trend of the 70s here, they also have their own identity on the album.
By the album 2112, they had come to define their sound and style. But by Hemispheres, they became the progressive rock band to aspire to, combining wit, sarcasm, and a wily sense of virtuosity to an emerging genre.