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Rate the Rush Prog EPICS


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#1 rushgoober

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 12:26 AM

Ok, these are the 7+ minute Rush prog epics (no offense to Working Man or Here Again, which are great tracks, but decidedly not prog):

By-Tor and the Snow Dog
The Necromancer
The Fountain of Lamneth
2112
Xanadu
Cygnus X-1
Hemispheres
La Villa Strangiato
Jacob's Ladder
Natural Science
The Camera Eye

Rate them in order of preference from 1 to 11!

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#2 rushgoober

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 12:27 AM

My take:

1. Xanadu (music simply doesn't get better than this)
2. La Villa Strangiato (instrumentals simply don't get better than this)
3. 2112 (epic, epic, epic!)
4. Hemispheres (the tiniest notch below 2112, but on another day i might rate it higher)
5. The Fountain of Lamneth (underrated epic)
6. Jacob's Ladder (rates slightly lower than the others only due to shorter length and less ambitious lyrically, but still awesome)
7. Natural Science (this song continues to grow on me)
8. The Camera Eye (a bit repetitive and lyrically not my fave, but still great)
9. By-Tor and the Snow Dog (very good song, and a great early attempt at an epic - lyrically a bit dodgy)
10. Cygnus-X1 (loses points for me due to narration and end screeching, but the middle part is gold)
11. The Necromancer (narration kills it for me, but still great guitars)



#3 Freeze

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 03:49 AM

1.Natural Science
2.Cygnus X-1
3.2112
4.La Villa Strangiato
5.Hemispheres
6.Jacob`s Ladder
7.Xanadu
8.The Camera Eye
9.By-Tor & The Snow Dog
10.The Necromancer
11.Fountain Of Lamneth

#4 Cyclonus X-1

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 07:01 AM

The Necromancer (some of my favorite guitar solos ever)
Jacob's Ladder (cool not only because of the guitar work but also because of the visual element)
2112 (not every part works for me, but the passages that do are among the coolest things Rush has ever done)
Xanadu (ethereal)
Natural Science (relentlessly intense once it takes off)
Fountain of Lamneth (it may not be seamless, but I like every part of it, especially Bacchus)
By-Tor and the Snow Dog (awesome instrumental battle and enjoyably goofy subject matter.  could do without the quiet part in the middle)
Hemispheres (manages to hold my interest for its duration)
The Camera Eye (the "worst" song on MP is still great)
La Villa Strangiato (amazing display of instrumental proficiency)
Cygnus X-1 (some cool riffs and screaming, some boring parts)

#5 rushlady23

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 07:47 AM

1. The Fountain of Lamneth
2. The Necromancer
3. Hemispheres
4. 2112
5. La Villa Strangiato
6. Cygnus X-1
7. Xanadu
8. By-Tor and the Snow Dog
9. Jacob's Ladder
10. Natural Science
11. The Camera Eye


#6 greyfriar

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 08:31 AM

Uhhh - what a thread!!!
For me: impossible to rate.  confused13.gif

I love them all!

Edited by greyfriar, 31 March 2012 - 08:32 AM.


#7 laughedatbytime

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 08:51 AM

1)  Natural Science
2)  Xanadu
3)  La Villa Strangiato
4)  2112
5)  Hemi
6)  By Tor
7)  Jacob's Ladder
8)  Cygnus X-1
9)  The Camera Eye
10)The Necromancer
11) Fountain

The top 6 are in my top 10, including 1-4.

#8 Powderfinger

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 10:30 AM

This is incredibly difficult. If you asked me tomorrow my list would be a little different--it sort of depends on the day. But it would typically be something like this:

1) Xanadu - I actually annotated my rankings in reverse order (I began with the Necromancer). Now that I've arrived at Xanadu my thoughts are a bit exhausted. So I'll just say this: Xanadu rules! 1022.gif

2) The Camera Eye - Among the "epics," it seems this one gets ranked either toward the top or the bottom of most fans' lists. I absolutely love it. The keyboard melody can become lodged in my head for hours after listening. I love the way the drums sort of spill into the fold after the drawn out introduction. Geddy's vocals are top notch: "The focus is sharp in the city." And, above all else, I love the lyrics. I don't really obsess to much over Neil's lyrics, probably because I don't like some of them. But The Camera Eye (and Moving Pictures in general) delivers such a fresh lyrical style for Neil from which I think the band benefited--a style that PeW no doubt played a role in fostering. I mean, I love Hemispheres, Xanadu, and 2112 as much as the next guy, but it's nice to see Neil writing about something a bit more innocent, and concrete--pun intended.

3) Natural Science - Here's a song (like 2112 below, as you will read) that the rest of the fan community adores and, while I've always liked it, I didn't agree that it was arguably their greatest number. Over the years I've accused it of meandering a bit and never completely getting off the ground. But my opinion on that has changed as of late. You know what really helped put it over the edge for me? I was watching the S&A Live DVD a week ago and I focused on what Geddy is doing in this song--and it blew my freaking mind. I think I like this one more live. It's not quite as robust on record, perhaps due to the mix.

4) Hemispheres - On many days this is my number one. It really just depends on whether or not I have time or feel like listening to all eighteen minutes of it, because, after all, that's the only way Hemispheres should be heard.

5) 2112 - An epic that for many years I considered overrated and a bit too novel. But I think I was to some degree just being stubborn and contradictory. It's a freaking classic, and I've only recently arrived at that conclusion.

6) La Villa Strangiato - How on earth is LVS number six on my list? On a different day it could be number one. In fact, depending on my mood/daily preference, any of my top six could be number one. LVS is a stone cold classic.

7) Cygnus X-1 - I still love this one, and I think I appreciate it more than most of my fellow boardmembers. I agree with the standard criticisms of this track, but those criticisms don't ruin the song for me. Part of my appreciation for this one might stem from the nostalgia of getting into AFTK. As a teenager it was probably my favorite Rush album. I love the extended intro, whereas it seems others do not. I think it's a fun groove that the band locked into.

8) Jacob's Ladder - Still a great song--I especially love Alex's lead playing on this. For the record, I think JL captures what was perhaps his best guitar tone. But I liked this more when I first got into Rush. It's a bit too droney and repetitive in places. For whatever reason, this had more "wow" factor for my teenage self.

9) By-Tor and the Snow Dog - A fun, early mini-epic. No real issue with By-Tor, and I've really been enjoying it lately.

10) The Fountain of Lamneth - This early epic has really been growing on me, and perhaps in a few more months I will rank it higher. I might put it above By-Tor on a different day. I'm guilty of a tendency to dismiss COS, but I appreciate it a little more with each listen.

11) The Necromancer  - Some great guitar here, but not something I'm ever that enthusiastic about hearing.

Just my thoughts for today. Again, ask me tomorrow and I might disagree with half of what I contributed here. Such is the dynamic nature of Rush's catalog and of being a Rush fan...

#9 nobodys hero

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 10:51 AM


2112
Hemi
Cygnus X-1
La Villa
By-Tor
The Necromancer
The Fountain of Lamneth
Jacobs Ladder
The Camera Eye
Natural Science
Xanadu


#10 goose

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 12:00 PM

Natural Science: Incorprates many elements of their earlier epics, finally executed with perfection.  Lyrically much better than the somewhat silly mythical space travel ideas.

The Camera Eye: Not as compex as their other epics, but the tone and atmosphere are fabulous. Neil's impressionistic lyrics show maturity and restraint, allowing the listener to fill in the details. And the guitar and bass are amazing.  Good enough I want to hear it twice in a row, which, the song graciously provides.

Jacob's Ladder: Atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere.  Not so bent on filling every little space with notes or forced lyrics, this piece is another example of RUSH showing maturity and an ability to suggest imagery, instead of relying on the literal, a weakness for me of their earlier epics.

La Villa Strangiato:  An epic jam from beginning to end.  Points lost for plagiarism, but like with Natural Sciene, the execution is phenomenal.  Just about everything musically you could want the boys to play, the give you here.

2112: Youthful epicness at its greatest.  I love the obvious anger behind this piece, and the anthemic opening is magical.  Just artful enough, without losing that rocking edge that early RUSH was know for.  One of the greatest endings in rock, as well.

The Fountain of Lamneth: If you haven't noticed, I'm big on atmosphere and tone, and I absolutely love the tone of this collection of songs.  I also appreciate the personal nature of the subject matter.  I like theme-wise that the piece doesn't have the forced obviousness of some of the later epics, and that they aren't trying to teach us some universal lesson.  Some of Alex's best playing can be found here.  It does lose points for not having a truly memorable epic riff, like 2112 or the intro on Cygnus X-1.  It takes patience to learn to enjoy, but I find it has aged well for me.

The Necromancer:  Great, classic riffs allow this one achieve epic status.  I love the darkness of it, and the boys finally achieve the creation of real atmosphere in a song.  Neil's lyrics are forgiveable at this point in their career, and the fact that he's just telling a story lets me give the silliness of the narration a pass.  He's not straining to make some universal point, like in later epics.  Alex and Geddy simply slay through most of this tune.  The ending is a bit dissonant, with the mellow guitar clashing with the lyrics "stealthily attacking...".  But, hey, they were young.

By-Tor and the Snowdog: This one reaches its epic pinnacle live. If the bots had taken more time to consider the atmosphere of the song, it would rate higher for me.  I've never liked that it jumps right in - it could use more of a musical introduction, some foreshadowing.

Xanadu:  For me the most successful piece from RUSH's most pretentious era.  On Kings and Hemi, the boys seem to take themselves a bit too seriously, and Neil in particular didn't have the stuff to back it up.  It seems that he wants so hard to let people know that, in spite of not finishing school, he reads.  Problem is, he let's us know with the subtlety of a George Michael "CHOOSE LIFE" t-shirt.  Xanadu, like Camera Eye, plays the same song twice, and like Camera Eye, that's a good thing!  The intro to this one is incredible as well, and has become the perfect hockey anthem.

Hemsipheres:  Great musical ideas, and very challenging to play, for sure.  Some amazing choices by Alex, and sophisticated playing by all three. But as an epic this piece doesn't really do much for me, mainly because the music, vocals and theme don't seem to align that well.  The music representing the supposedly opposing forces doesn't reflect that contrast, and the incredible ideas behind the music just don't come together that well for me.  The vocals often ring as forced - as if they wrote the music with Geddy's singing range as an afterthought. wink.gif

Cygnus X-1:  A great musical begining goes awry, as the ill-conceived theme of space travel unfolds.  These are the kinds of lyrics that make critics' neck hair standand keeps RUSH out of the Hall of Fame.  No one cares that you've read Quixote, Neil.  Quit trying so hard to prove you are smart.  Finally, the ending vocals of this epic will stigmatize Geddy as the singer with the "banshee wail" forever.

#11 robertrobyn

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 12:19 PM

#1 The Camera Eye
#2 Natural Science
#3 Xanadu
#4 Headlong Flight (you know its gunna be good)
#5 La Villa Strangiato
#6 2112
#7 Jacob's Ladder
#8 Hemispheres
#9 Cygnus X-1
#10 The Necromancer
#11 The Fountain of Lamneth
#12 By-Tor and the Snow Dog






#12 TheAccountant

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 03:27 PM

Thanks for starting this thread.  Since I joined TRF I have started to try to rank Rush's songs with an eye towards eventually listing them out in a thread (similar to what was started by Deckkiller but never completed).  I have not gotten to far, perhaps posting here will help push me along with my project.

That being said, here are my rankings:

1.   2112 - This is not the best Rush Prog Epic.  This is just the best Rush song.  Period.  End of discussion.  

2.   By-Tor - Love the entire song.   Yes, even some of the quiet parts and some of the lyrics at the end that some may consider "dated" "not mature" or whatever other negative comments you may wish to hurl at them.  Great song.  Definitely a top 10 Rush song for me.

3.   Xanadu - Again, love the entire song.  Another top 10 Rush song for me.  It's a very hard pick between this and By-Tor but it falls right behind By-Tor.

4.   La Villa Strangiato - Rushgoobers comments about the song say it all.  Nuff said.

5.   Natural Science - A very good song.  Much better live (both Rush in Rio and S & A Live) then on the album.

6.   Cygnus X-1 - Again, a very good song.  Unlike some I like the space travel concept.  Would be slightly better without the narration and the wailing and screeching hurt the song.  Still, I like it a great deal.

7.   The Camera Eye - Not my favorite song.  It has been growing on me over the last couple of years however.  Good and enjoyable.

8.   Hemispheres - Not bad.  Just not as good as some of the others

9.   Jacobs Ladder - Nothing special.  Its ok.  Nothing to dislike, nothing I go crazy for.

10.   The Necromancer - Not a song I like very much.  Has its ok moments but for me its most likely not even a top 100 Rush song.  It actually might not even be a top 125 song for Rush.  The only reason I would rank it in front of The Fountain of Lamneth is that it is 7+ minutes shorter.  Less of it to suffer thru.    
  
11.   The Fountain of Lamneth - See my comments for The Necromancer.

For the last 2 songs on the list my overall reaction can be summed up as:

062802puke_prv.gif (X2)

#13 ColdFireYYZ

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 03:47 PM

1. Natural Science
2. Hemispheres
3. 2112
4. La Villa Strangiato
5. By-Tor and the Snow Dog
6. The Camera Eye
7. Jacob's Ladder
8. Xanadu
9. Cygnus X-1
10.The Fountain of Lamneth
11. The Necromancer

#14 Rick N. Backer

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 04:13 PM

La Villa Strangiato
Xanadu
Jacob's Ladder
Natural Science
The Camera Eye
2112
Hemispheres
By-Tor and the Snow Dog
The Fountain of Lamneth
The Necromancer . . .








Cygnus X-1 (this song is horrible, IMO)





#15 rushgoober

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 04:27 PM

QUOTE (Powderfinger @ Mar 31 2012, 08:30 AM)
2) The Camera Eye - Among the "epics," it seems this one gets ranked either toward the top or the bottom of most fans' lists. I absolutely love it. The keyboard melody can become lodged in my head for hours after listening. I love the way the drums sort of spill into the fold after the drawn out introduction. Geddy's vocals are top notch: "The focus is sharp in the city." And, above all else, I love the lyrics. I don't really obsess to much over Neil's lyrics, probably because I don't like some of them. But The Camera Eye (and Moving Pictures in general) delivers such a fresh lyrical style for Neil from which I think the band benefited--a style that PeW no doubt played a role in fostering. I mean, I love Hemispheres, Xanadu, and 2112 as much as the next guy, but it's nice to see Neil writing about something a bit more innocent, and concrete--pun intended.

I never quite got the lyrics in TCE like I did with every other song on Moving Pictures.  The whole "the focus is sharp in the city" and just the theme of the song always seemed perhaps a bit clinical and cold to me.  I generally don't obsess over lyrics myself, but with Rush, their lyrics are so significant and meaningful that I can't help but pay attention and have them in some way influence my enjoyment of their songs.  Obviously, they have done MUCH worse lyrically.  I mean, we're not talking "season of the itch" here, but MP is of such a ridiculously high lyrical standard that the lyrics seem a tad weak by comparison.  Also, it seems, unlike other epics of theirs, it's a song that to a degree was done twice in a row to extend it, as opposed to it being really novel musically and lyrically all the way through.  They could have cut the song in half and it would have been pretty much as effective.

THAT SAID, it's still a GREAT song.  That song by another group could easily be their best song and considered a prog classic.  It's just that Moving Pictures maintains such a ridiculously high level of quality that it stands out for me as being the only slightly weaker spot.  Even still I'd give it a solid 8.5 out of 10, and I've enjoyed the song many, many times.

#16 rushgoober

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 04:32 PM

QUOTE (robertrobyn @ Mar 31 2012, 10:19 AM)
#1 The Camera Eye
#2 Natural Science
#3 Xanadu
#4 Headlong Flight (you know its gunna be good)
#5 La Villa Strangiato

You actually think Headlong Flight is going to be better than La Villa Strangiato? ohmy.gif

I'm looking forward to the new song too, but this seems to be a serious abuse of optimism. unsure.gif

#17 Tony R

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 04:55 PM

QUOTE (robertrobyn @ Mar 31 2012, 06:19 PM)

#4 Headlong Flight (you know its gunna be good)

Oh grow the f**k up!

#18 Tony R

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 05:00 PM

1. Xanadu
2. Bytor (live)
3. Hemispheres
4. LVS
5. Jacobs Ladder
6. Natural Science
7. TCE
8. The Necromancer
9. Cygnus X-1
10. Lamneth


I have to say that The Necromancer is a wonderfully evocative and atmospheric track let down only slightly by the central guitar solo (battle) that could have been more refined.
The ending is sublime.


#19 Tony R

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 05:57 PM

Doh! Missed out 2112...how is that even possible?

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#20 1 of the 7

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 08:38 PM

The Fountain of Lamneth
The Camera Eye
Natural Science
2112
Xanadu
The Necromancer
Cygnus X-1
Hemispheres
La Villa Strangiato
Jacob's Ladder
By-Tor and the Snow Dog




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