Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Rush Finds Religion and Faith

I'm eagerly awaiting Rush's new album -- their 19th, no less -- slated to be released this spring. The title hasn't been announced yet, but it appears that a spiritual theme dominates the songs, exploring the good and bad sides of faith. Drummer and songwriter Neal Peart is cited as follows:
"Reflections on faith emerged as a clear theme from the very beginning. 'I tried hard to look at it as a subject -- what's good about it -- and tried to balance that against what I saw as not being a good thing,' said Peart, noting his experience as a Canadian living in the United States for the past six years has given him a unique perspective on world events. 'All we're seeing, especially in the world today, is a very malevolent kind of faith, in fundamentalism of all kinds, on both sides. One of the lines I use in the new songs equates Middle East and Middle West, because this stuff is going on in both localities, although both would probably be insulted by the comparison.'" (Macleans, Oct 19 '06)

"Peart says he was struck by the ubiquity of religious billboards that have sprung up on America's highways, which got him thinking about some weighty topics...'I looked for the good side of faith,' Peart says. 'To me it ought to be your armor, something to protect you and something to console you in dark times. But it's more often being turned into a sword, and that's one big theme I'm messing with.' Musically, the new album is continuing in much the same vein as 2002's 'Vapor Trails,' which returned Rush to a more guitar/bass/drums-driven sound. But Peart is quick to add that the music is 'remarkably organic in a way that I haven't heard before. We spent a month together in May working on those songs and developing our individual instrument parts for them. It's early to characterize it, but it's definitely fresh and different and that's certainly satisfying.'" (Billboard.com, Sept 11 '06)
Rush is one of my favorite rock groups of all time, and I had fun listening to some of their CDs over the holiday. There sure aren't many musicians like this anymore. After over thirty years and 18 albums, the band has evolved -- sometimes quite dramatically -- without sacrificing any intelligence or originality; and damn, do they have an ear for catchy tunes. (In my view, only Peter Gabriel tops their talent, even if he has less albums to boast.) This week I'm going to post a special Rush tribute. It's something I've been meaning to do since being inspired by one of Tyler Williams' U2 blogposts.

I figure it's time for some fun with music. After the New Year, it's back to biblical studies and the crusades.


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