Music, My Stories, Stupidity

The Camera Eye = Social Control

How much control do we want to give away in order to live our lives the way we want?

Driving up to the traffic lights, I am confronted with a green light to proceed while the cars to my left and right are stopped, because of a red light on their side.

This form of control provides safety and order.

But also at the traffic lights is a red light speed camera, which takes a photo of you if you go through a red light at normal speed and under and it also takes a photo of you if you go through a green light or red light, over the speed limit. And that information is stored by various organizations and contracted out to law enforcement.

And with the rise of phones in cars, in Australia we had laws against texting while driving and when a police officer was hit and lost his legs from a driver who was texting, we now have laws that state we cannot handle or touch our phones while driving.

So to control these new laws, the traffic lights and light poles have extra cameras added to take pictures of drivers inside their cars.

And throwing cigarettes out your window always had a fine in Australia if witnessed by a Police officer, but now there are proposals to make the cameras do all the work.

And of course we have laws against driving intoxicated and affected by drugs.

And all of these traffic lights in our lives create rules and enforce punishment to maintain social control.

Social control in the name of safety.

But a truck driver crossed over to the other side of the road, killed a family in a head on, because he was trying to open a bottle of coke.

So what’s next, laws against coke bottles.

And then we have the social control within family and friends. Everyone wants to belong, no one wants to be alone. So we abide by these norms and rules so we remain part of the tribe as we gossip our way through life.

When you add the criminal justice system which imposes sanctions when the law is broken and the rules and expectations of each company we work for or deal with, it doesn’t feel like freedom and more like control.

Social control is neither bad or good, it just is, because through centuries of control we cannot believe it is possible to live without social control.

And here is the article that influenced this post and Neil Peart was already writing about it in “The Camera Eye” a song about how New York City installed cameras everywhere in a bid to stop crime and make the streets safe again, using a system set up in London, who had to install cameras on every street corner to stop IRA bombings.

Peart made it out that the cameras are chasing the oblivious humans, as the humans do their day to day duties.

Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Test For Echo

Here we go in slow mo

To me, it’s the best Rush song from the 90’s.

The guitar riffs from Alex Lifeson are so easy to digest, powerful, heavy and groovy, even when they are down tuned a whole step.

 “There’s a lot of different stuff on there. I tuned the guitar down a whole step to a D standard tuning. I got a new Les Paul Custom with beautiful sustain, a heavy tone and a compact, but not too small, sound. In the choruses I used a Godin Acousti-Caster, which has a really interesting sound that is at the same time almost acoustic but definitely electric.
Alex Lifeson In Guitar World

Lifeson begins the song with interesting arpeggios. He achieves the unique sounds by combining root five power chords and leaving the 1st and 2nd strings open.

The song works in any style and it could have fitted on any of their earlier albums from “Fly By Night” to “Signals” and it would not have been out of place.

Geddy Lee and Neil Peart lay down a solid foundation, especially in the Chorus, when Lifeson just plays those arpeggios and Lee and Lifeson, set the groove.

Also check out how Peart plays a subdued half time beat in the verses and then starts to pick it up double time. A good drummer could make a simple riff sound fresh by doing just that.

 “I feel like we arrived with this record. There’s a particular feel that I don’t think we had before—a nice groove and a lot of really good Rush songs. I feel like we were all really together on this album. Although we strive for that all the time, it’s not always achievable. The mood was so good in the studio, and we were so unified in direction.”
Alex Lifeson In Guitar World

And of course, no Rush song is complete without the lyrics of Peart, a critique of the American justice system which turns criminals into media stars.

“It’s about the numbing process that happens when we are exposed to great tragedies and then were exposed to moments of hilarity. I feel that that’s the condition of contemporary man now – when we read the paper or when we watch TV, were not sure if were supposed to laugh.”
Geddy Lee

Some kind of trouble on the sensory screen
Camera curves over caved-in cop cars

As technology progressed so did the coverage of real time situations. It’s one of the big reasons people watched the news to begin with, to see what was breaking.

Don’t touch that dial,
We’re in denial

We didn’t touch the dial at all, we just kept upgrading our TVs, giving the TV makers billions of dollars in revenue. Because we loved having all of this entertainment in our houses.

Now crime’s in syndication on TV

Crime and sex always got eyeballs. It didn’t matter the medium. And now with the internet, where everything is available, it feels like we are all so desensitized to it.

Here we go, vertigo
Video vertigo
Test for echo

Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Neil Peart

I go onto Twitter and “Neil Peart” is trending. At age 67, brain cancer took him.

And Rush worked because of all three of them. You couldn’t take any of em out. It was a sum of its parts.

As a guitarist, Alex Lifeson is a huge influence, but the grooves that Peart lays down on under the guitar riffs proved to be a bigger influence.

Like the drum beats in “La Villa Strangiato” before the slow middle solo and then the drum beats to pick up the song again and get it into the “Swinging 30s” section. It’s my favourite Rush song hands down.

But my first ever Rush purchase was the “Exit Stage Left” album, which had most of “Moving Pictures” on it.

Like the drum beats in the chorus of “Limelight” as Lifeson goes from clean tone arpeggios to power chords.

Or the drum beats in the solo of “Limelight”. Just listen to it and see how Peart makes something simple sound complicated with some nice grooves.

Living in a fish eye lens
Caught in the camera eye
I have no heart to lie
I can’t pretend a stranger
Is a long-awaited friend

I love that lyric about pretending that a stranger is a long awaited friend, which sums up to me, how people come out of the woodwork and pretend to be your friend, so they can get a cut of the pie.

“YYZ” is an instrumental that never gets boring at all. Listen to the section from about the 2.55 mark when the keyboards come in. It’s a simple progression but Peart makes it sound epic with his choice of beats.

Or can anyone escape the opening drum beat of “Tom Sawyer”. It’s so simple it’s beautiful. And when the guitars come crashing in, even James Hetfield liked em enough to use for “Welcome Home”.

Though his mind is not for rent
Don’t put him down as arrogant

Obedience and servitude is what governments want. If you have a disobedient view, prepare to be proved/bashed into acknowledging you were wrong.

No his mind is not for rent
To any god or government
Always hopeful, yet discontent
He knows changes aren’t permanent
But change is

That’s right.

Be who you are. Know that you can help things change. And as history has proven, change always happen.

I love the simplicity building up of the intro in “The Camera Eye”. Because you know as soon as Peart lays down the beat, the canvas is clean for Lee and Lifeson to decorate.

And the lyrics about governments watching its own citizens, without them really knowing, especially in democracies, is a forewarning.

WikiLeaks exposed this in 2010 and the person who did it is still seen as a terrorist. All because they exposed their government for being nothing better than a dictatorship style government when it came to spying.

Facebook and Twitter and Amazon and Google watch our clicks and searches. Cambridge Analytica spied on Facebook users during election campaigns. It’s even more troublesome now as we all have devices in front of us that can act as spy agents.

“Witch Hunt” was a song I forgot about until Machine Head covered it as a bonus track for “Unto The Locust”.

Madmen fed on fear and lies
To beat and burn and kill

Create a boogie man or a false story which instills fear and watch what happens.

Although the song “witch hunt” is about the witch trials that happened centuries ago, we are seeing the same history repeat today.

They say there are strangers who threaten us
In our immigrants and infidels

Leaders of the world use these exact words. A narrow viewpoint that all of the ills with the nation are because of immigrants, while the most horrific crimes are committed by white people who have been in the country for generations.

The shooting in the US at a country concert in Vegas or the shooting at a Mosque in NZ. Both committed by white people. In Norway, the biggest mass murder of people was committed by a white person.

Putting other people into a bucket of good and bad based on skin, race or religion is wrong. But all races do it. It’s not just a white problem.

That those who know what’s best for us
Must rise and save us from ourselves

The Catholic Church played this moral leader during the witch hunts. Anyone who didn’t believe in God or had a differing viewpoint was killed. Take out the minds they couldn’t rent, instill fear and obedience will follow.

And today, it’s no different when it comes to viewpoints. Evidence shows one thing and people refuse to believe it or accept it.

Quick to judge
Quick to anger
Slow to understand
Ignorance and prejudice
And fear walk hand in hand…

Truth We are all guilty of it.

And Neil Peart’s lyrics are a perfect antidote to the sex, drugs and rock and roll style lyrics. His social conscience, love of fantasy and way of words proved special. He could spin a story about the making of the nuclear bomb, an experiment to test for echoes along with issues about free will and working nine to five along with the magic of radio and worlds in different places.

Too many to mention. RIP.