“The Pass” from 1989′s Presto.
The lyrics on this one give me chills every time. I’ve read that the band isn’t very fond of Presto and it tends to get lost in the mix of Rush’s lengthy discography — a transitional work between their 1980s tech-heavy albums and their 1990s loudness phase — but it’s easily one of my favorites. The “prog rocker” label, by the way, is too easily glued to Rush and it tends to be a facile misnomer considering that Rush has recorded many more albums containing similar modern themes as are found in The Pass. This song in particular is a cautionary story about youth, ego and suicide.
Next… (after the jump)
“Ghost Rider” from 2002′s Vapor Trails.It’s well-known by now that Neil Peart’s wife and daughter both passed away within the same year. In attempt to make sense of the loss, as well as his own life, Peart packed up what he called “his little baby soul,” mounted his BMW motorcycle and zig-zagged for tens of thousands of miles across North America. The title comes from the nickname given to whisps of snow and cloud that form around the summit of a mountain on a clear day (not the comic book). The song itself gushes with the angst and sadness of his epic journey along “the healing road.”And finally, this could very well be their best song since, well, ever…”Far Cry” from 2007′s Snakes & Arrows.As the lead track from their most-recent album, Far Cry establishes an overture for the album’s larger theme of religion and politics. The lyrics reflect Peart’s ongoing struggle to find his place in a world — “the wheel” — that seems increasingly contradictory and unreasonable. “Pariah dogs and wandering mad men barking at strangers and speaking in tongues” is a fitting description for the political demagogues and zealots of the Bush dark ride. But the phrase “I can get back on” offers a sign of hope and perseverance amidst the struggle. With the most recent election, it appears as if we are.That aside and very simply put: it’s a perfect Rush song. Surprising, energetic and interesting with an extraordinarily awesome chorus.