Released in 1976.
The album cover captured my attention immediately.
The “Red Star” was easily associated with the Communist governments of the time. Kids these days would have no idea, but in 1976, Eastern Europe and parts of South East Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Central/South America were under Communist governments or military dictatorships. And these kind of governments like to control everything and everyone.
Coming into 2112, Rush was in a predicament. D
o they stay true to themselves and their art or do they give in to what the label wants?
In the Guitar Legends magazine focusing on Rush, Neal Peart said the following;
“Caress didn’t actually do any worse than the albums before it, at that point, all three had sold about 100,000 copies a piece in the U.S.
But if our record company hadn’t been in such turmoil I don’t think we would have been able to keep our recording contract.
By the end of that year we were unable to pay our crews salary or even our own. Things were dire and we were getting a lot of pressure.
Polygram had written us off before “2112” had come out. We’d seen their financial predictions for 1976 and we weren’t even on the list!”
In the same magazine, Alex Lifeson said the following;
“The Fountain Of Lamneth” on “Caress of Steel” was really our first fill concept song and “2112” was an extension of it.
That was a tough period for Rush because “Caress of Steel” didn’t do that well commercially, but we were really happy with it and wanted to develop that style.
Because there was so much negative feeling from the record company and our management was worried, we came back with full force with “2112”. There was a lot of passion and anger on that record. It was about one person standing up against everybody else”.
History shows that they made the right decision.
And for all the hate “Caress Of Steel” got from the label, it was the album that bridged the first era of Rush albums to “2112”.
The entire Side One is all “2112”. Which is broken up into 7 sections.
An instrumental that acts as a summary in which you get to hear all of the melodic pieces which appear on the song.
II. “The Temples of Syrinx”
A sombre melody with the words “And the meek shall inherit the Earth” is sung before the distorted guitars kick in for “The Temples of Syrinx”.
This is a future where individualism and creativity are outlawed and the population controlled by a cabal of malevolent Priests who reside in the Temples of Syrinx.
And the way copyright law is going, creativity can be outlawed as every single melody known to the human race has been used and corporations are doing their best to lock them up under ridiculous terms, like life of the creator plus 90 years after death. But they seem to forget that creativity is based on influences.
We’ve taken care of everything
The words you read, the songs you sing
The pictures that give pleasure to your eyes
The schooling system is designed for conformity, a one size fits millions approach. The schools are factories for degrees later on. You can’t even get an Administration role in a Company without a Uni/College degree. And Masters Degrees are the biggest scams ever. A pure profit making product for the colleges.
A classical acoustic guitar announces the arrival of “Discovery”, found inside a cave and the founder rediscovers the lost art of music.
I can’t wait to share this new wonder
The people will all see its light
Let them all make their own music
The Priests praise my name on this night
Creativity and imagination is progress. Without it, we stagnate.
This is like Zeppelin Rush which tells the story of how the guitar is presented to the priest of the Temple of Syrinx, who then proceed to destroy it and banish the man who found it.
Listen to my music
And hear what it can do
There’s something here as strong as life
I know that it will reach you
But the Priests didn’t want to know about his ancient relic. It was the downfall of The Elders. The emotion and escapism that comes from listening to music.
Just before the song finishes, they go into the “Temples of Syrinx” riff and Lifeson solo’s over it. Check it out, its guitar hero worthy.
V. “Oracle: The Dream”
A shimmering chorus guitar kicks off the song in which the man who found the guitar dreams of another world in which creativity and individualism is allowed and full of song and laughter.
We are back to the sounds of water running down, like how we heard in “Discovery”. But the lyrical theme is heavy. The man who was filled with joy at finding the guitar, is now in despair at living a life that’s cold and empty. So the only way for him to be with the world in his dream is for his life’s blood to spill over.
Make sure you check out Lifeson’s solo. So bluesy, full of bends and emotion. Brilliant.
VII. “Grand Finale”
Major key chords kick off the “Grand Finale”. And it’s up to the listener to decide what happened.
When I first heard the lines “Attention all planets of the Solar Federation, We have assumed control” I presumed that the “Solar Federation” put down some uprising and assumed control again.
Then I thought it meant that the “Solar Federation” was overthrown by someone and they are alerting all the planets that there is a new government in control.
“A Passage to Bangkok”
It kicks off Side 2.
A great riff to start a song about all the places in the world that grow the best weed. The track names a number of cities and countries, including Bogotá, Acapulco, Morocco, Bangkok and Kathmandu, Nepal.
I just finished watching “The Serpent” on Netflix and how the main character preyed on tourists who came to Bangkok and Kathmandu in the late 60s and 70’s to experience those weed highs, kidnapping them, robbing them and then killing them.
“The Twilight Zone”
I like the harmony guitars to kick off the song.
How good is the music in the section, when Lee sings, “you have entered the twilight zone”?
Use the key, unlock the door
See what your fate might have in store…
I never watched “The Twilight Zone” on TV. I’ve read some short stories on it and in the 80’s a documentary was aired on Australian TV’s about strange phenomena and they called it “The Twilight Zone”.
It’s Lifeson expressing his love for Led Zeppelin. It’s got hard rock distorted chords and clean tone strummed verses.
This is a great song.
How good are the verse riff arpeggios?
“Something for Nothing”
The acoustic guitar intro gets me interested. And the way Lee and Peart come in, they change the groove completely.
The song is about freewill and decision making, a topic I write about regularly on this blog when I’m putting my point of views out there on certain songs and the lyrical message.
You don’t get something for nothing
You can’t have freedom for free
In the end “Freedom isn’t free”.
If you don’t believe me, why does it cost so much to live in a free country.
What you own is your own kingdom
What you do is your own glory
What you love is your own power
What you live is your own story
In your head is the answer
Let it guide you along
Let your heart be the anchor
And the beat of your own song
The lyrics are prophetic. Rush didn’t wait for someone to tell them what to do. They did what they wanted to do and they wrote their own story. In the end, it was a backs against the wall album. If it bombed commercially, they would go down in flames. But it didn’t.
They stuck to their guns, did what was important to them and built a career from it.
3x Platinum in the U.S and 2x Platinum in Canada.
Press Play, relax and “Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation. We have assumed control.”
4 thoughts on “1976 – Part 2.1: Rush – 2112”
Probably the first Rush I heard, the first I bought was Moving Pictures…so I wasn’t fully committed at this point. But a great album. I appreciate it a lot more now.
Yeah I got Moving Pictures and Exit Stage Left first. It wasn’t until the 90s that I got this.
I have it and Caress and a few others on vinyl…maybe have about 6 albums. All free!! Love that!!
A game changer not only in music but also for Rush themselves as they proved you could do it your own way and have success! Great post.