Hemispheres (Rush, week 2)

As mentioned last week, we’re doing a Rush album every week this year.

This week was Hemispheres, and I have to admit … not my favorite.

I remember when I heard it the first time, and I was confused. The entire album has 4 tracks, and one of them is 18 minutes long, and is about … mythological gods. Also, the name – “Cygnus X-1 Book II” … where is book 1, and … what the heck? (No, I hadn’t heard FTK at this point.)

And, although it’s been more than 40 years since I heard it the first time, this was the first time I read through all the lyrics. It’s about the battle between various gods, and I feel like only Rush could get away with putting out a record like this. FWIW, there’s a brief explanation on Wikipedia.

On the other hand (on the other side), I always loved La Villa Strangiato, although I don’t think I have ever really understood what it’s about. It’s instrumental, with some simply amazing guitar bits.

Each section has a whimsical name that is apparently part of some elaborate inside joke between the band members.

I. Buenas Noches, Mein Froinds!
II. To sleep, perchance to dream…
III. Strangiato Theme
IV. A Lerxst in Wonderland
V. Monsters!
VI. Danforth and Pape
VII. The Waltz of the Shreves
VIII. Never turn your back on a Monster!
IX. Monsters! (Reprise)
X. Strangiato Theme (Reprise)
XI. A Farewell to Things

As a kid, of course, we didn’t have the Internet, and so the explanations of these headings were matters of speculation in letters between myself any my friend Kristina who had sent me the bootleg cassette from the US. I expect that Rush Reddit has all the answers here, but there’s a certain amount of nostalgia in my ignorance, than you very much.

So, some good memories, but definitely not the album that I go to first when I need a Rush fix. But Strangiato makes great background music when I’m working.