Rush: The (Partial) Series – Hold Your Fire (1987)

Alright, so the jury’s still out (for me) on Power Windows. Let’s get into this next one! I do not (yet) own this album, but I will! For now, the youtubes are going to have to suffice – I’m fortunate that they had they whole thing available, and in HD no less!

Force Ten is a hit, I knew it from Chronicles. It’s a great song with a driving beat. The synths are still here but (perhaps) a little less the main focus. The vocals are loud and clear, up front in the mix.

Time Stand Still, of course, is a huge track (another hit, on Chronicles). You know this song. I loved it, everything about it. This could have been on an album of theirs a few years previous. I hadn’t known that that female vocal was Aimee Mann, but thanks to Wiki, I do now! Fantastic track.

Open Secrets is another full pleasure to hear, and based on what I’m hearing here, I’m now getting hopes raised that we’re returning a bit more to form (as much as Rush can have one form to which they stick). I mean, the synths are still here but they seem to not be the only focus anymore. This track, for example, is mighty fine indeed. Aimee Mann sings here, again, too.

Second Nature is a wonderful track about a need for common sense and human decency. It starts off slow, with keyboards, then becomes a full band track. I loved this.

Prime Mover is another great Rush rock song. Yes! This album is a step away, and towards, and tracks like these are the proof.

Lock And Key is another hit song, right? Shoulda been, anyway. OK I am so excited about this album. I love the messages, I love the music, everything.

Mission is a track Mike our brother in rawk Lebrain mentioned (in the comments for Power Windows) as being a current favourite. I understand why! This is a sprawling, gigantic song. There’s a lot going on, the tempos shift, the sounds change… Yes!

Turn The Page turns up the rock and quickens the pace for a bit, then slows it down to make its point. This one hits hard. I love the Lifeson guitar solo, all three instruments locked into that great Rush groove… I’m also realizing that I definitely need to go back and check out the lyrics on this record. I have a feeling I’m going to agree with a lot of it…

Tai Shan is, according to Heavy Metal OG (in the comments for Power Windows), the song Geddy finds most embarrassing in the Rush Discography. The music is interesting, but the lyrics… well, they’re a bit weaker fare than we’re used to from these guys. Check out the chorus: “I stood at the top of the mountain/and China sang to me/in the peaceful days of harvest time/song of eternity.” Um, yeah. I’ll bet that’s what he meant. The song itself is musically strong, though. Interesting!

High Water closes this efort out mid-tempo, yet with buzzing guitar and slinky bass. Another strong song. Hot damn!

In sum: Oh boy, I loved this one. This is a challenging, interesting and excellent Rush record. I’ll be buying this one, when I see it, for sure.

15 thoughts on “Rush: The (Partial) Series – Hold Your Fire (1987)

  1. Craig says:

    HYF does have its moments. F10, Open Secrets ( a hidden gem in the catalog imho), Lock and Key, Mission and High Water are solid. I’ve had at least 3 different formats of it, HYF was the first album released when I became a fan. Its my first cd as well, still have it miraculously. Regardless, through many replays I have to say half of it doesn’t hold up, its very dated and kinda soft around the edges. Second Nature is a cool track as well, but the rest for me is meh.


      1. Craig says:

        Yeah its hard to say, I used to love Presto too. Presto is no less Rush than HYF. HYF is decent but you cannot listen to it and not think 1987. You can’t look at the haircuts on the sleeve pictures and think otherwise. Since TFE they look and sound like themselves.

        I don’t think Power Windows defines Rush either, the songs are there (listen to the demo bootleg sometimes, you will see). The fact that they resurrected most of Power Windows on this last tour speaks volumes.

        Happy listening. As Billy Corgan said even Rush middle of the road is someone elses left field.


      2. keepsmealive says:

        I think maybe the 80s were just a bad, bad time. I mean, there was the music of the day and we can all talk about exceptions and ones we loved. But taken as a big picture, the 80s were really pretty terrible. As my lovely wife noted just this evening, in the 80s we listened to the 60s and 70s stuff and it all sounded so dated. Now, today, we listen to the 80s and laugh/shudder/shake our heads while the 60s and 70s sounds pretty damn good.

        I really need to hear those demos for Power Windows. That album is the only one in the entire series (to 1989) that didn’t reach me in the same way.

        Damn, Billy Corgan. I hadn’t thought about THAT guy in forever!


  2. Deke says:

    Prime Mover is a great track! Check out the live version on the Show Of Hands video,for some reason it was left of the audio version but yep there are some good tracks here but once again still a little bit of miss for me as I bought this the same day as Aerosmith released Permanent Vacation and well PV was played more over time though I would call it a draw between these two now.
    Back to Rush though it’s a good release it’s just hard to compare it to such a extensive back catalogue of there’s.


  3. Phillip Helbig says:

    I recently saw an interview with Geddy where he said that the most embarrassing thing (not song) was his hairdo around this time; it was still relatively long, and there was a ponytail, but there was shorter hair (looking suspiciously blow-dried) at the top not part of the ponytail. He said it reminded him of a Davy-Crockett-style coonskin cap!


  4. Heavy Metal Overload says:

    First commenter again! Promise I won’t prattle on this time and go off on any tangents… although I am still bored at work and over-caffeinated. This is not an unusual situation for me to be in!

    I really enjoy this one. A lot of favourites on here although it does peter off a bit towards the end. In fact, there are very few Rush albums that don’t have a song on them that I just can’t ever see to remember. No matter how many times I listen to them. I can never remember how Tai-Shan goes. At all. Some Rush songs just seem to go in one ear and out the other with me. It’s why I can never be a Rush expert like a lot of the guys commenting here.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Aw, but I like your tangents!

      Over-caffeinated is a GREAT way to get through. Man, you’ve been bored at work a lot lately… time to buck for promotion!

      Interesting that some songs are not memorable, for you. Me, I might have trouble picking one song or another by title, if you played one at random, because they’re all adding up in my head as one big pile of (generally) awesome. I say generally because Power Windows still needs to speak to me.

      Well, if nothing else, this (partial) series is just further cementing my Rush fandom. Alas, I only have Presto and A Show Of Hands left and then I am done… for now. When I get the rest, I’ll do them in a series too!


      1. Heavy Metal Overload says:

        No promotions for me… the only way is OUT!!

        I have Rush memory issues going right back to the very beginning. I’ve been listening to the debut all week and I still have no idea how “Before and After” goes. Some of their songs just refuse to stick.

        But it’s worth it for all the good stuff and it means there’s always surprises in store when I go back through their albums!


      2. keepsmealive says:

        Surely you could mount a coup, take over leadership? It’s time, HMO. Rise! RISE!

        And if not, well, you can always fall back on writing for NIMNOD.

        I made myself laugh, thought your memory issues made you the Scottish equivalent to Dory, from Finding Nemo. Er, Dorrrrry.

        That box set is nice! I already have Presto, and I’d want the original Vapour Trails too and there’s no liner notes or lyrics, like the rest have… but still, it’s a decent price for that many CDs (about $5 each). Thanks for pointing that out! It’s exactly like my early-years Springsteen set, and I like that tons.


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