Rush week 11: Fly By Night


Last week I listened to Fly By Night all week long.

I started the week thinking, this is definitely not a favorite, and I’m not even sure I like it. This is the first album that Neil Peart was on, so it’s definitely a step up from their first album, but they are still figuring out who they are. You can see some of Neil’s writing and drumming peeking out, but they’re not there yet.

And it’s worth remembering, too, that they were just kids at this point. Geddy was only 21.

And I think what I mainly don’t like about this album is that it’s not an album, it’s a pile of unrelated songs with nothing tying them together. According to Wikipedia, this was intentional:

The band wanted each song on Fly by Night to show a different side to their writing and playing, which resulted in an album of varied styles.

Which is ok, I guess, but not what I look for in a Rush album.

But, then, of cours, as I listened, it started to grow on me, as they do.

I had never before actually read the lyrics of “Beneath Between and Behind”. It’s commentary on the United States, and how it was drifting from its ideals. Interesting stuff.

This is juxtaposed with By-Tor and the Snow Dog, an absurd narration of a fight between two dogs, that is *clearly* the result of a little too much chemical inspiration. But, oh my word, the drums on this track. I try to imagine someone discovering this album in 1975 and hearing those Peart drums for the first time. Just … wow.

Rivendell is the kind of sci fi fan fiction that gave Rush their early reputation as a weirdos, and it definitely grew on me after a few times through. But it strikes me as a minor miracle that they got another album after this bit of weirdness.

All together, it’s still not a favorite, but you can definitely see hints of what they will become, and there’s some great moments in there.


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