Snakes and Arrows (Rush, week 3)

Snakes and Arrows is probably in my top 3 (which changes all the time so don’t ask) because it is a coherent album rather than a pile of songs. It tells a progression from despair through hope to determination. It was clearly crafted to tell a story.

  1. Far Cry – the world sucks and is worse than our parents promised.
  2. Armor and Sword – in fact, those parents – even the well meaning ones – are a large part of the problem for a lot of kids.
  3. Workin’ Them Angels – but, I also create a lot of hardship for myself.
  4. The Larger Bowl (A Pantoum) – and there is so much pain and injustice that makes it harder for those for whom it is already hard.
  5. Spindrift – even personal relationships are complicated and I don’t know how to get through to those closest to me
  6. The Main Monkey Business – instrumental jam!
  7. The Way the Wind Blows – we are doomed to repeat the errors of everyone around us
  8. Hope (instrumental) – yet, inexplicably, there is hope
  9. Faithless – I can rely on my own instincts, and try to make it better
  10. Bravest Face – maybe, you too can suck it up and try to make things better
  11. Good News First – quit whining and try to see the good in all this
  12. Malignant Narcissism – instrumental jam! Music is part of the solution!
  13. We Hold On – yes, it’s hard and things suck. But it’s up to you and me to make it better.

Yes this is a gross oversimplification. But there is a clear progression from despair through hope to determination and I absolutely love listening to this in the order it was published for that reason.

Several gems here.

The larger bowl is a pantoum which is a specific rhyme/poetry form that is surprisingly hard to write well. Look for more pantoums and you’ll find that they seldom hold together this well. Try to write your own and you’ll be even more impressed.

Armor and Sword is my wife’s favorite Rush song, far and away.

Hope is my favorite instrumental they’ve ever done. Just so gorgeous.

Individually some of these songs are just so dark and depressing but you have to hold on to the end.

(writing from Gordon Biersch in the Detroit airport. Will add album art when I get home.)

Oh and we saw them at Riverbend on this tour.

Update: it turns out, that although I have the live tour album on CD, I never actually bought the full snakes and arrows album on physical media. So I don’t have any album art to post.

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