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Rush: A Generic Beginning - 50%

ReleaseTheBears, February 13th, 2020
Written based on this version: 1977, 12" vinyl, Anthem Records

It has been my intention for several years now to do a Rush review marathon, and sadly it was the passing of Neil Peart that has finally spurred me to begin. But seeing as Mr. Peart had yet to join Rush on their eponymous debut, no more shall be said about the man until we Fly By Night.

Rush: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and... John Rutsey! The boys sound energetic and youthful on their debut, with plenty of catchy guitar parts, thunderous bass lines, and solid drumming, but they lack a unique identity, and end up sounding like a generic Led Zeppelin/April Wine hard rock band.

If one were to hear several random ten second sound bytes from this album, the chances of being impressed by the musicianship and intrigued by the potential would draw most hard rock/traditional metal fans right in, but alas an album needs much more than just genre to be successful. Rush, the album, contains two major flaws. The first flaw is that they lack their own sound (other than Geddy's distinctive voice) something that plagues every song. The second flaw is that most of the songs are poorly written—repetitive, generic, and often boring—which while the second flaw doesn't pertain to all of the songs, even the better written ones are still subject to the first flaw, and thus far from perfect.

The best songs on here are good ("Finding My Way", "Need Some Love" and "Working Man") and are ones that I find myself returning to from time to time, but the album as a whole is something I can only listen to every five years or so, and even then I wonder why I did. "In The Mood" is by far the most cringey, and retroactively seems so out of place in the Rush canon which is dominated by science fiction, fantasy, and philosophical epics. But the same can be said lyrically of "Need Some Love" and yet its chorus melody is just so damn catchy that I cannot help but smile.

"Working Man", being the longest (and best) song on this album, deserves it's own analysis, if only for the purpose of giving sceptics one thing to look forward to. It contains a catchy riff that might stick in your head long after listening, highly recognisable Geddy vocals, a rad bass driven breakdown, and an extended guitar solo which certainly shows off some of Alex's skills, but goes on for far too long and descends into unnecessary wankery. Though it's not a perfect song, it's a good one, and it's probably the only song on this album deserving of inclusion on any theoretical career spanning double CD compilations.

Listen to this album if you are in the mood (haha) for some generic air humping 70's rock. Do not listen if you are craving Rush as we know them.

Finally a few words should be spared for John Rutsey, who played the drums very well, if unspectacular, and ended up being the Pete Best of Rush. RIP John Rutsey 1952-2008.