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#1 Timbale

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 04:50 PM

Some of the responses in the  "Hating Rush" topic I started made me want to ask people about this specific aspect of Rush.

How do you feel about the Ayn Rand influence on some of Peart's writing?

I know there are some people who like Rush who don't even particularly engage with the words...but Neil's lyrics have always been of almost equal importance to me in terms of the impact of their work on my life.

(I also of course know that Peart moved away from the influence of Objectivism in the early 80s...)

I was 10 or 11 when I really started getting into Rush, and as I delved into their discography, I kinda took the trip back from the more immediately relatable Signals to the long pieces and epics of the 70s.

I don't think the Randian nature of the lyrics really struck me back then.  A stanza like this -

Live for yourself, there's no one else
More worth living for
Begging hands and bleeding hearts
Will only cry out for more


- likely seemed very matter of fact to me.  I understood the words and their meaning, but I didn't process it as a perspective on the world.  I'm sure I saw it as a statement of rugged individualism, rather than a possibly political or sociological viewpoint on how to live your life i.e. helping others is not a value worth pursuing.

(It does seem like Peart, at least in later interviews, leaned into the individualism aspect and away from the libertarian, everyone for themselves implications of those lyrics.)

I love Anthem, it is one of their great early era songs...but if a current band wrote a song with those lyrics...I'd really not be into it.

I feel similarly about Something For Nothing...a song that I never found "offensive", and still don't, but it is a way of looking at the world that I really, really don't share.

So I have an uncomfortable relationship with that part of the band's output ... and I do wonder, if I had been a teen in the early 70s, if I would have been turned off of Rush for that aspect of their (or at least Peart's) point of view.

And I wonder how others on here feel about the Ayn Rand connection.

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#2 Timbale

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 05:00 PM

I also acknowledge that there may be members who are libertarian or staunchly conservative and feel that the sentiments of those songs and others from that era of Rush's output represent their world view.

Edited by Timbale, 12 September 2021 - 05:01 PM.


#3 Entre_Perpetuo

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 05:16 PM

Whether or not Neil was ever avidly in agreement with everything Ayn Rand believed doesn't matter to me. I've read Anthem, and it's an enjoyable read, especially when you've never read anything like it before. Obviously you want to get some other perspectives on your reading list, more kindhearted ones perhaps. But when I read it I didn't really view it much differently from Animal Farm or the short stories of Isaac Asimov. It's all just sci-fi/fantasy with a political angle that can teach you something about fundamental human behavior, even if it's just that some people are really selfish and won't let others stand in their way.

As far as I can tell from reading about Rush and Neil for many years, the main takeaway of Rand's works for most of the band came down to creative freedom. Even the much criticized credit given to Rand in the 2112 liner notes was only put there after Neil realized the story of 2112 might be a little too similar to that of Anthem and didn't want to be called a plagiarist. Did he have to call her a "genius?" No, but I still call Freddie Mercury a genius despite many of his personal shortcomings and his mistreatment of others during the height of his fame. Genius doesn't need to be all encompassing, it can just refer to a single aspect of a person's talent or intellect or something like that.  Rand had a terrible philosophy for cultivating love and nurturing relationships, but her philosophy worked wonders when used as Rush did, in the pursuit of creative endeavors.  They didn't want to be like any other band, and they certainly didn't want to give in to the demands of their label.  Neil happened to have read Anthem and The Fountainhead and really enjoyed what they had to say about defying authority and expectations, so they used that as inspiration to get out from under the weight of their own influences and their label's demands.  While the lyrics to Anthem betray that Neil was probably more in line with Rand's perspective than just artistically very early in their career, he made it very clear later on that the creative freedom aspect was always the most important thing, and the stuff about denying begging hands and bleeding hearts he had moved on from pretty quickly. Ever the critical thinker, he grew and realized he didn't fully agree with what he'd been reading anymore. The Neil that wrote Anthem never would've written Second Nature.

#4 Timbale

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 05:26 PM

View PostEntre_Perpetuo, on 12 September 2021 - 05:16 PM, said:

Whether or not Neil was ever avidly in agreement with everything Ayn Rand believed doesn't matter to me. I've read Anthem, and it's an enjoyable read, especially when you've never read anything like it before. Obviously you want to get some other perspectives on your reading list, more kindhearted ones perhaps. But when I read it I didn't really view it much differently from Animal Farm or the short stories of Isaac Asimov. It's all just sci-fi/fantasy with a political angle that can teach you something about fundamental human behavior, even if it's just that some people are really selfish and won't let others stand in their way.

As far as I can tell from reading about Rush and Neil for many years, the main takeaway of Rand's works for most of the band came down to creative freedom. Even the much criticized credit given to Rand in the 2112 liner notes was only put there after Neil realized the story of 2112 might be a little too similar to that of Anthem and didn't want to be called a plagiarist. Did he have to call her a "genius?" No, but I still call Freddie Mercury a genius despite many of his personal shortcomings and his mistreatment of others during the height of his fame. Genius doesn't need to be all encompassing, it can just refer to a single aspect of a person's talent or intellect or something like that.  Rand had a terrible philosophy for cultivating love and nurturing relationships, but her philosophy worked wonders when used as Rush did, in the pursuit of creative endeavors.  They didn't want to be like any other band, and they certainly didn't want to give in to the demands of their label.  Neil happened to have read Anthem and The Fountainhead and really enjoyed what they had to say about defying authority and expectations, so they used that as inspiration to get out from under the weight of their own influences and their label's demands.  While the lyrics to Anthem betray that Neil was probably more in line with Rand's perspective than just artistically very early in their career, he made it very clear later on that the creative freedom aspect was always the most important thing, and the stuff about denying begging hands and bleeding hearts he had moved on from pretty quickly. Ever the critical thinker, he grew and realized he didn't fully agree with what he'd been reading anymore. The Neil that wrote Anthem never would've written Second Nature.

This is a great response, Entre, thank you.

I also read Anthem at some point, and I agree, from what I remember of it, it didn't feel much different from other dystopian sci-fi I had read.  I never bothered with any of her other work - I think by the time The Fountainhead had crossed my path I already had heard some strong rebukes of Rand's perspective.

Do you think it was...I don't know if this is the right word, but in lieu of a better term... do you think it was in any way irresponsible, or perhaps naive of Peart to cherry pick from Objectivism that way?  I don't know the answer to this myself....but somehow I'm imagining some band circa 2021 taking a quote here and a quote there from Jordan Peterson or Ben Shapiro and writing some songs...and then distancing themselves from the overarching perspective or viewpoint of those polarizing people.

#5 Entre_Perpetuo

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 05:33 PM

View PostTimbale, on 12 September 2021 - 05:26 PM, said:

View PostEntre_Perpetuo, on 12 September 2021 - 05:16 PM, said:

Whether or not Neil was ever avidly in agreement with everything Ayn Rand believed doesn't matter to me. I've read Anthem, and it's an enjoyable read, especially when you've never read anything like it before. Obviously you want to get some other perspectives on your reading list, more kindhearted ones perhaps. But when I read it I didn't really view it much differently from Animal Farm or the short stories of Isaac Asimov. It's all just sci-fi/fantasy with a political angle that can teach you something about fundamental human behavior, even if it's just that some people are really selfish and won't let others stand in their way.

As far as I can tell from reading about Rush and Neil for many years, the main takeaway of Rand's works for most of the band came down to creative freedom. Even the much criticized credit given to Rand in the 2112 liner notes was only put there after Neil realized the story of 2112 might be a little too similar to that of Anthem and didn't want to be called a plagiarist. Did he have to call her a "genius?" No, but I still call Freddie Mercury a genius despite many of his personal shortcomings and his mistreatment of others during the height of his fame. Genius doesn't need to be all encompassing, it can just refer to a single aspect of a person's talent or intellect or something like that.  Rand had a terrible philosophy for cultivating love and nurturing relationships, but her philosophy worked wonders when used as Rush did, in the pursuit of creative endeavors.  They didn't want to be like any other band, and they certainly didn't want to give in to the demands of their label.  Neil happened to have read Anthem and The Fountainhead and really enjoyed what they had to say about defying authority and expectations, so they used that as inspiration to get out from under the weight of their own influences and their label's demands.  While the lyrics to Anthem betray that Neil was probably more in line with Rand's perspective than just artistically very early in their career, he made it very clear later on that the creative freedom aspect was always the most important thing, and the stuff about denying begging hands and bleeding hearts he had moved on from pretty quickly. Ever the critical thinker, he grew and realized he didn't fully agree with what he'd been reading anymore. The Neil that wrote Anthem never would've written Second Nature.

This is a great response, Entre, thank you.

I also read Anthem at some point, and I agree, from what I remember of it, it didn't feel much different from other dystopian sci-fi I had read.  I never bothered with any of her other work - I think by the time The Fountainhead had crossed my path I already had heard some strong rebukes of Rand's perspective.

Do you think it was...I don't know if this is the right word, but in lieu of a better term... do you think it was in any way irresponsible, or perhaps naive of Peart to cherry pick from Objectivism that way?  I don't know the answer to this myself....but somehow I'm imagining some band circa 2021 taking a quote here and a quote there from Jordan Peterson or Ben Shapiro and writing some songs...and then distancing themselves from the overarching perspective or viewpoint of those polarizing people.

I don't think it's irresponsible to take inspiration from any source it comes to you by. Art as expression. That's what Neil wrote and that much I'll always agree with. If the intention is honest and pure expression, the worst I can do is disagree with the perspective. If someone is mining Donald Trump's twitter for song lyrics just to get a rise out of people, I'm less inclined to call that expression. Ratatouille sums this up pretty nicely: "not everyone can make great art, but great art can come from anywhere."

#6 thizzellewashington

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 06:36 PM

View PostTimbale, on 12 September 2021 - 05:26 PM, said:

Do you think it was...I don't know if this is the right word, but in lieu of a better term... do you think it was in any way irresponsible, or perhaps naive of Peart to cherry pick from Objectivism that way?  I don't know the answer to this myself....but somehow I'm imagining some band circa 2021 taking a quote here and a quote there from Jordan Peterson or Ben Shapiro and writing some songs...and then distancing themselves from the overarching perspective or viewpoint of those polarizing people.
Very different times we're in now than the mid-70s. A band publicly citing Ayn Rand as an inspiration probably wouldn't go over well today but you can't judge stuff written 40+ years ago by the standards of today. It also totally makes sense that Neil found inspiration in something kind of childish and simplistic when he was in his early 20s and still learning about the world, and then when he got a little older he was embarrassed by it and wanted to distance himself. We all have stuff we think is brilliant when we're that young but doesn't age well once you gain more life experience. I guarantee you everything you thought was deep and profound when you were in college you don't feel that way about now.

Edited by thizzellewashington, 12 September 2021 - 06:37 PM.


#7 Weatherman

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 06:56 PM

I once asked my politics professor about Ayn Rand. The words were barely out of my mouth when he dismissed the question with a hand wave. "She's not treated seriously by anybody in the field," he said.
I already felt that way about her, having read Atlas Shrugged.
Anyways. Neil probably went thru his Rand phase the same way that lots of other young smart white guys (like most of us here were) do. You come out the other side and realize it's a cartoonish stance on human society.
BTW there is a lot of conjecture that Rand was on the autistic spectrum, best explained by the fact that she really, really, really couldn't feel empathy for anybody.

#8 Entre_Perpetuo

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 07:04 PM

View PostWeatherman, on 12 September 2021 - 06:56 PM, said:

I once asked my politics professor about Ayn Rand. The words were barely out of my mouth when he dismissed the question with a hand wave. "She's not treated seriously by anybody in the field," he said.
I already felt that way about her, having read Atlas Shrugged.
Anyways. Neil probably went thru his Rand phase the same way that lots of other young smart white guys (like most of us here were) do. You come out the other side and realize it's a cartoonish stance on human society.
BTW there is a lot of conjecture that Rand was on the autistic spectrum, best explained by the fact that she really, really, really couldn't feel empathy for anybody.

Interestingly, she came up in one of my architecture classes, professional practice. Her idea of an architect as presented in Atlas Shrugged has influenced generations of architects to think of themselves as go it alone, man vs. the world, genius whose genius isn't recognized by society types. Not coincidentally, those are the types of architects who are usually far more concerned with leaving their personal, alien looking mark on a place without a care for what anyone thinks about it, also foregoing any of the practicalities of building for the "art" and "expression" of their wonky design, which leads to ugly, leaky structures that won't stand up in 200 years time.

Edited by Entre_Perpetuo, 12 September 2021 - 07:05 PM.


#9 Timbale

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 07:32 PM

View Postthizzellewashington, on 12 September 2021 - 06:36 PM, said:

View PostTimbale, on 12 September 2021 - 05:26 PM, said:

Do you think it was...I don't know if this is the right word, but in lieu of a better term... do you think it was in any way irresponsible, or perhaps naive of Peart to cherry pick from Objectivism that way?  I don't know the answer to this myself....but somehow I'm imagining some band circa 2021 taking a quote here and a quote there from Jordan Peterson or Ben Shapiro and writing some songs...and then distancing themselves from the overarching perspective or viewpoint of those polarizing people.
Very different times we're in now than the mid-70s. A band publicly citing Ayn Rand as an inspiration probably wouldn't go over well today but you can't judge stuff written 40+ years ago by the standards of today. It also totally makes sense that Neil found inspiration in something kind of childish and simplistic when he was in his early 20s and still learning about the world, and then when he got a little older he was embarrassed by it and wanted to distance himself. We all have stuff we think is brilliant when we're that young but doesn't age well once you gain more life experience. I guarantee you everything you thought was deep and profound when you were in college you don't feel that way about now.

Totally agree with you about personal growth and all that.  But it is interesting because we're not talking about some college kid blathering on at the pub after a few pints...we're talking about a statement, artistic though it may be, that they put out into the world.  I'm not knocking them for it or saying that Peart should have been made to "answer" for it 30 + years after he left that inspiration behind.

But...it is interesting that the pushback they received in the press directly about the Rand influence is often now couched in context of the press being inappropriate.  I'm thinking of course of that moment where some journalist made reference to them being fascists.  Now, I know Fascism and Objectivism are not the exact same thing...but it's always about how that was offensive given Geddy's background....and not about the viewpoint within their lyrics that the journo was responding to.

I guess the point I'm getting at, or the thing that I'm interested in delving into, is what would it be like to say to Geddy Lee "does the artistic freedom angle in songs like Anthem outweigh the distain for the 'bleeding hearts' of society?  As a message that you're putting in a song and singing night after night...is it valid to emphasize that part of Rand's thoughts while the other parts get dragged along?"

#10 Entre_Perpetuo

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 07:48 PM

View PostTimbale, on 12 September 2021 - 07:32 PM, said:

View Postthizzellewashington, on 12 September 2021 - 06:36 PM, said:

View PostTimbale, on 12 September 2021 - 05:26 PM, said:

Do you think it was...I don't know if this is the right word, but in lieu of a better term... do you think it was in any way irresponsible, or perhaps naive of Peart to cherry pick from Objectivism that way?  I don't know the answer to this myself....but somehow I'm imagining some band circa 2021 taking a quote here and a quote there from Jordan Peterson or Ben Shapiro and writing some songs...and then distancing themselves from the overarching perspective or viewpoint of those polarizing people.
Very different times we're in now than the mid-70s. A band publicly citing Ayn Rand as an inspiration probably wouldn't go over well today but you can't judge stuff written 40+ years ago by the standards of today. It also totally makes sense that Neil found inspiration in something kind of childish and simplistic when he was in his early 20s and still learning about the world, and then when he got a little older he was embarrassed by it and wanted to distance himself. We all have stuff we think is brilliant when we're that young but doesn't age well once you gain more life experience. I guarantee you everything you thought was deep and profound when you were in college you don't feel that way about now.

Totally agree with you about personal growth and all that.  But it is interesting because we're not talking about some college kid blathering on at the pub after a few pints...we're talking about a statement, artistic though it may be, that they put out into the world.  I'm not knocking them for it or saying that Peart should have been made to "answer" for it 30 + years after he left that inspiration behind.

But...it is interesting that the pushback they received in the press directly about the Rand influence is often now couched in context of the press being inappropriate.  I'm thinking of course of that moment where some journalist made reference to them being fascists.  Now, I know Fascism and Objectivism are not the exact same thing...but it's always about how that was offensive given Geddy's background....and not about the viewpoint within their lyrics that the journo was responding to.

I guess the point I'm getting at, or the thing that I'm interested in delving into, is what would it be like to say to Geddy Lee "does the artistic freedom angle in songs like Anthem outweigh the distain for the 'bleeding hearts' of society?  As a message that you're putting in a song and singing night after night...is it valid to emphasize that part of Rand's thoughts while the other parts get dragged along?"

I think Geddy has mentioned before the fascist insults were incredibly insulting because of his parents' experiences in WWII.  I also think on those early albums Geddy probably didn't exercise as much of a "veto power" on Neil's lyrics since they were just happy to have someone who could write decent lyrics. I'm also betting Neil was the one to introduce the other two to Ayn Rand, so whatever Neil thought about it they probably shared his opinion at first.  Once it's on the record, it would be insulting to long time fans to change the lyrics. Like, "hey, you know that song you loved for years that may have introduced you to some interesting literature? We're changing a few words because we don't agree with them anymore." That wouldn't go over well. Just look at the reaction to Paramore turning their backs on one of their signature songs for some much more egregiously insulting lyrics: controversy. Rush didn't want controversy, they just wanted to play music for their fans and for themselves. A song is sort of like a time capsule too, and it would be like trying to erase history to change the words. I think they also went on the assumption that its unlikely anyone but fans are going to listen to that song anyway, and Rush fans tend to know enough about the band to know all about the Rand thing and to forgive an odd line or two 40 years down the road.

#11 thizzellewashington

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 09:08 PM

I really don't think the whole thing is much deeper than "The concept of individualism resonated with the guys in the band because they didn't like the record company telling them what kind of music to make, and they were too young and naive to think about the other things publicly co-signing Ayn Rand might make people assume about them."

If there's a mistake they made, it was thanking her by name in the liner notes of 2112. That lasts forever, and putting it in print like that makes it a lot easier for critics who got the album and maybe listened to it once or twice before writing a review to latch onto that as a reason to dismiss a record they didn't like in the first place.

#12 Entre_Perpetuo

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 09:28 PM

View Postthizzellewashington, on 12 September 2021 - 09:08 PM, said:

I really don't think the whole thing is much deeper than "The concept of individualism resonated with the guys in the band because they didn't like the record company telling them what kind of music to make, and they were too young and naive to think about the other things publicly co-signing Ayn Rand might make people assume about them."

If there's a mistake they made, it was thanking her by name in the liner notes of 2112. That lasts forever, and putting it in print like that makes it a lot easier for critics who got the album and maybe listened to it once or twice before writing a review to latch onto that as a reason to dismiss a record they didn't like in the first place.

Very true. Very true. I think if these threads are highlighting anything for me its just how blatantly critics lobbed cheap, underserving insults at bands whose music they just didn't like.

#13 Timbale

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 09:38 PM

View PostEntre_Perpetuo, on 12 September 2021 - 09:28 PM, said:

View Postthizzellewashington, on 12 September 2021 - 09:08 PM, said:

I really don't think the whole thing is much deeper than "The concept of individualism resonated with the guys in the band because they didn't like the record company telling them what kind of music to make, and they were too young and naive to think about the other things publicly co-signing Ayn Rand might make people assume about them."

If there's a mistake they made, it was thanking her by name in the liner notes of 2112. That lasts forever, and putting it in print like that makes it a lot easier for critics who got the album and maybe listened to it once or twice before writing a review to latch onto that as a reason to dismiss a record they didn't like in the first place.

Very true. Very true. I think if these threads are highlighting anything for me its just how blatantly critics lobbed cheap, underserving insults at bands whose music they just didn't like.

I agree with this as well...particularly the part about putting it in print like that.  And if it had been Caress Of Steel, it might have been different, but this was their big breakout, and the record that got mentioned in the same breath as Rush up until at least Moving Pictures (and beyond, of course.)

#14 chemistry1973

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 09:44 PM

Rand grew up in the Soviet Union so she possessed a great deal of bias.

Pro communist intellects hated her because it’s hard to argue with someone that actually lived through the failures of communism. And Rand was very smart.

But I think there is plenty of valid criticism to point in her direction. I’ve grown to believe a libertarian society would be a very cruel one.

That said she has made some very good points regarding the failures of the welfare state, and it’s appetite.

Neil softened a great deal after experiencing a bit of the real world, witnessing the overreach of US foreign policy, and perhaps the dangers of globalism. His social libertarianism bent is something I share I think.

Edited by chemistry1973, 12 September 2021 - 09:46 PM.


#15 Entre_Perpetuo

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 09:54 PM

View PostTimbale, on 12 September 2021 - 09:38 PM, said:

... the record that got mentioned in the same breath as Rush up until at least Moving Pictures (and beyond, of course.)

Side note: I still think of 2112 as the definitive Rush album, moreso than Moving Pictures. I like Moving Pictures better overall. I realize it had more commercial and critical success, and there are more songs on Moving pictures that stayed in the live set than their are on 2112 (though to be fair half of 2112 is just one song). Moving Pictures probably is the definitive Rush album, but it feels like it was always gonna be a success. There's no drama to Moving Pictures' backstory. It's the record that finally got them out of debt, sure, but it came after a long run of albums and tours that only increased in popularity and production value. It was inevitable they would hit a peak and finally get back into the black. If Moving Pictures hadn't done it, Signals would have. Frankly I find it amazing Permanent Waves didn't do it. So like I said, there's no drama. It's just a great record by a great band at the peak of their powers.

2112 on the other hand. That was make it or break it. The preceding tour wasn't called Down The Tubes for nothing.  Any number of lesser bands had similarly good debuts, good follow ups, then diminishing returns by the 3rd or 4th record and had to call it quits. 2112 was the moment that Rush became destined for greatness in my mind. Before that they were good, even great, but their fate could've gone either way. They played all of their cards with 2112 and the fans responded with loyalty and passion. That's the mark of a definitive album to me.

#16 Timbale

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 10:48 PM

View PostEntre_Perpetuo, on 12 September 2021 - 09:54 PM, said:

View PostTimbale, on 12 September 2021 - 09:38 PM, said:

... the record that got mentioned in the same breath as Rush up until at least Moving Pictures (and beyond, of course.)

Side note: I still think of 2112 as the definitive Rush album, moreso than Moving Pictures. I like Moving Pictures better overall. I realize it had more commercial and critical success, and there are more songs on Moving pictures that stayed in the live set than their are on 2112 (though to be fair half of 2112 is just one song). Moving Pictures probably is the definitive Rush album, but it feels like it was always gonna be a success. There's no drama to Moving Pictures' backstory. It's the record that finally got them out of debt, sure, but it came after a long run of albums and tours that only increased in popularity and production value. It was inevitable they would hit a peak and finally get back into the black. If Moving Pictures hadn't done it, Signals would have. Frankly I find it amazing Permanent Waves didn't do it. So like I said, there's no drama. It's just a great record by a great band at the peak of their powers.

2112 on the other hand. That was make it or break it. The preceding tour wasn't called Down The Tubes for nothing.  Any number of lesser bands had similarly good debuts, good follow ups, then diminishing returns by the 3rd or 4th record and had to call it quits. 2112 was the moment that Rush became destined for greatness in my mind. Before that they were good, even great, but their fate could've gone either way. They played all of their cards with 2112 and the fans responded with loyalty and passion. That's the mark of a definitive album to me.

I think you're right about that...and it's true that it's a bit surprising that PW didn't break them in a bigger way.  I've mentioned elsewhere, I am always, without hyperbole, astounded that they never shot a single video for that album.  Insane.

Not to derail the topic (that I started, haha!), but I've also always thought that 2112 gets held up as being a brave record...but their backs were against the wall and there wasn't really another option for them but to make what they made.  (I know they could have NOT had a side long piece...but we'd just have 2 sides of individual songs that sounded like an amalgam of side one and two.) I've always thought Signals was their bravest record, because it was clear they had found a winning recipe with MP...and they went and flipped that on its head for their next record.  I love that so much.

#17 Entre_Perpetuo

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Posted 12 September 2021 - 11:15 PM

View PostTimbale, on 12 September 2021 - 10:48 PM, said:

View PostEntre_Perpetuo, on 12 September 2021 - 09:54 PM, said:

View PostTimbale, on 12 September 2021 - 09:38 PM, said:

... the record that got mentioned in the same breath as Rush up until at least Moving Pictures (and beyond, of course.)

Side note: I still think of 2112 as the definitive Rush album, moreso than Moving Pictures. I like Moving Pictures better overall. I realize it had more commercial and critical success, and there are more songs on Moving pictures that stayed in the live set than their are on 2112 (though to be fair half of 2112 is just one song). Moving Pictures probably is the definitive Rush album, but it feels like it was always gonna be a success. There's no drama to Moving Pictures' backstory. It's the record that finally got them out of debt, sure, but it came after a long run of albums and tours that only increased in popularity and production value. It was inevitable they would hit a peak and finally get back into the black. If Moving Pictures hadn't done it, Signals would have. Frankly I find it amazing Permanent Waves didn't do it. So like I said, there's no drama. It's just a great record by a great band at the peak of their powers.

2112 on the other hand. That was make it or break it. The preceding tour wasn't called Down The Tubes for nothing.  Any number of lesser bands had similarly good debuts, good follow ups, then diminishing returns by the 3rd or 4th record and had to call it quits. 2112 was the moment that Rush became destined for greatness in my mind. Before that they were good, even great, but their fate could've gone either way. They played all of their cards with 2112 and the fans responded with loyalty and passion. That's the mark of a definitive album to me.

I think you're right about that...and it's true that it's a bit surprising that PW didn't break them in a bigger way.  I've mentioned elsewhere, I am always, without hyperbole, astounded that they never shot a single video for that album.  Insane.

Not to derail the topic (that I started, haha!), but I've also always thought that 2112 gets held up as being a brave record...but their backs were against the wall and there wasn't really another option for them but to make what they made.  (I know they could have NOT had a side long piece...but we'd just have 2 sides of individual songs that sounded like an amalgam of side one and two.) I've always thought Signals was their bravest record, because it was clear they had found a winning recipe with MP...and they went and flipped that on its head for their next record.  I love that so much.

I think both are very brave moves, as well as PeW and CP. Those were all real turning points where the band could've gone an easier direction (repeat past success, write more "commercial" sounding material, ignore grunge is even happening), but they chose to do what they wanted instead.

#18 Fridge

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Posted 13 September 2021 - 03:07 AM

I've always thought that Objectivism, though it makes some valid points, is rather two-dimensional and falls apart quickly under scrutiny....I wouldn't like to live in a society that was governed by it's tenets, as they would go catastrophically wrong pretty quickly.

#19 zepphead

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Posted 13 September 2021 - 03:49 AM

View PostEntre_Perpetuo, on 12 September 2021 - 07:48 PM, said:

View PostTimbale, on 12 September 2021 - 07:32 PM, said:

View Postthizzellewashington, on 12 September 2021 - 06:36 PM, said:

View PostTimbale, on 12 September 2021 - 05:26 PM, said:

Do you think it was...I don't know if this is the right word, but in lieu of a better term... do you think it was in any way irresponsible, or perhaps naive of Peart to cherry pick from Objectivism that way?  I don't know the answer to this myself....but somehow I'm imagining some band circa 2021 taking a quote here and a quote there from Jordan Peterson or Ben Shapiro and writing some songs...and then distancing themselves from the overarching perspective or viewpoint of those polarizing people.
Very different times we're in now than the mid-70s. A band publicly citing Ayn Rand as an inspiration probably wouldn't go over well today but you can't judge stuff written 40+ years ago by the standards of today. It also totally makes sense that Neil found inspiration in something kind of childish and simplistic when he was in his early 20s and still learning about the world, and then when he got a little older he was embarrassed by it and wanted to distance himself. We all have stuff we think is brilliant when we're that young but doesn't age well once you gain more life experience. I guarantee you everything you thought was deep and profound when you were in college you don't feel that way about now.

Totally agree with you about personal growth and all that.  But it is interesting because we're not talking about some college kid blathering on at the pub after a few pints...we're talking about a statement, artistic though it may be, that they put out into the world.  I'm not knocking them for it or saying that Peart should have been made to "answer" for it 30 + years after he left that inspiration behind.

But...it is interesting that the pushback they received in the press directly about the Rand influence is often now couched in context of the press being inappropriate.  I'm thinking of course of that moment where some journalist made reference to them being fascists.  Now, I know Fascism and Objectivism are not the exact same thing...but it's always about how that was offensive given Geddy's background....and not about the viewpoint within their lyrics that the journo was responding to.

I guess the point I'm getting at, or the thing that I'm interested in delving into, is what would it be like to say to Geddy Lee "does the artistic freedom angle in songs like Anthem outweigh the distain for the 'bleeding hearts' of society?  As a message that you're putting in a song and singing night after night...is it valid to emphasize that part of Rand's thoughts while the other parts get dragged along?"

I think Geddy has mentioned before the fascist insults were incredibly insulting because of his parents' experiences in WWII.  I also think on those early albums Geddy probably didn't exercise as much of a "veto power" on Neil's lyrics since they were just happy to have someone who could write decent lyrics. I'm also betting Neil was the one to introduce the other two to Ayn Rand, so whatever Neil thought about it they probably shared his opinion at first.  Once it's on the record, it would be insulting to long time fans to change the lyrics. Like, "hey, you know that song you loved for years that may have introduced you to some interesting literature? We're changing a few words because we don't agree with them anymore." That wouldn't go over well. Just look at the reaction to Paramore turning their backs on one of their signature songs for some much more egregiously insulting lyrics: controversy. Rush didn't want controversy, they just wanted to play music for their fans and for themselves. A song is sort of like a time capsule too, and it would be like trying to erase history to change the words. I think they also went on the assumption that its unlikely anyone but fans are going to listen to that song anyway, and Rush fans tend to know enough about the band to know all about the Rand thing and to forgive an odd line or two 40 years down the road.
I remember back in the day the NME (New Musical Express) accused Rush of being Nazis. But by then the NME were so left wing in their views and hated any old style rock bands.
I laugh now because they were so convinced that punk had destroyed the so called mucical dinosaurs forever ...... wrong!
Frankly for me it's Rand shmand .... I don't give a toss. I liked their music then and bought it, and I still like their music today and would still buy it....... with all music & lyrics intact.
We are all far too sensitive these days ...... if you don't like it, then just don't listen to it.

#20 GeddysMullet

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Posted 13 September 2021 - 07:13 AM

I loved Rand's novels as epic storytelling when I was younger. I loved the message of artistic freedom and excellence in The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged impressed me as a huge achievement because it broke every rule of character building in fiction but still managed to be compelling. But I was truly gobsmacked when I found out years later that anyone took Objectivism seriously as any kind of viable philosophy by which to live life in the real world.

Still, though, I believed plenty of wacky things when I was younger. I'm glad I never proclaimed them on a great artistic work, but if I can forgive myself for having once been young and unformed, I can certainly forgive Neil :lol:




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