I’m not going to do the track by track, because Craig already did that.
This record has a lot of good stuff on it, but far and away the best two are Losing It, and Subdivisions.
The fact that Neil was only 30 when he wrote Losing It make it all the more impressive. This song hits me harder and harder as I get older. I remember when I discovered the (yes, I know, very obvious) fact that the second half was about Hemingway, and that led me to read all of Hemingway. I think I was probably 19 or 20 at the time. I don’t suppose I could stand that much Hemingway at 50.
Subdivisions is just a great jam, but is also one of the better written, lyrically, of Rush’s songs. It’s also, I recently realized, the only time (I think – and I could very well be wrong) that Neil’s voice appears in a Rush song. (He’s the voice saying “Subdivisions.”)
Oh, and Analog Kid was, for some reason, left off of the bootleg version of Signals that I had on cassette as a kid. Maybe for space? I don’t know. But I’m less familiar with it, so it was cool to discover such a lovely memory of that edge between childhood and growing up, imagining the future. Good stuff.
And, yeah, I know Countdown is cool and all, but one thing ruins it for me. That one line – “Excitement so thick, you could cut it with a knife.” Really, Neil? With all of the great stuff that Neil wrote, he has this annoying habit of throwing in trite cliches far too often. I think Neil could have been a great poet, if he had anyone to offer him serious criticism of his work, Stuff like Losing It, The Larger Bowl, and so on, were just really well crafted, poetically. And then there’s an opportunity like Countown and he does … that. *sigh*.
His books are another example of this. So much poetical, lyrical narrative, and then there’s just lazy writing interspersed in there, and I wonder if he just never really had an editor that he trusted.
Thanks, again, Craig, for the opportuity for fresh ears on an old album. Looking forward to next week!