Rush Series 2: The 1990s – Roll The Bones (1991)
As promised on Friday, today I embark on a new series. Yes. It is RUSH.
Ever since ending my Rush (Partial) Series, which began with 1974’s Rush, and ended as the 1980s ended with Presto and A Show Of Hands (with a little ABC 1974 thrown in there, thanks to our venerable HMO), I’ve been slowly and quietly collecting the next decade of Rush’s storied career. Recently, the last piece fell into place and I am ready to embark on the next leg of this journey. Welcome to Rush Series 2: The 1990s.
The only differences between my first Rush (Partial) Series and this one, of course, are that 1) I was recipient of most of the albums from the illustrious Lebrain to whom I am eternally grateful for putting this stuff into my ears, and 2) I played all of the albums from 1974 and up (save for a couple I required from the Tubes of You) while sitting in the car with my daughter, waiting for my son to get let out of school every afternoon. With the summer holidays here now, I’ve lost my excuse to use my mobile office, so now I am listening in the house. It’s not a hardship. But I got very accustomed to hearing albums in the car…
Of course, 1990 saw the release of the absolutely essential 2CD Chronicles compilation. I have already reviewed that glorious set right here.
So, up next is 1991’s Roll The Bones. May I say I am excited to get back into Rush Mode. I’ve done very well with self-restraint, holding off playing the records as they came in, holding back until I had everything here. It was not easy to delay gratification.
So why wait any longer? Let’s give ‘er!
Dreamline absolutely rocks. It’s classic Rush, yet with a look forward too. I love that “Dun-Dun-Dun!” riff. Everything about this song is perfect. A no-brainer that this was a single.
Bravado is a massive-sounding, mid-tempo rock tune. Seriously, the production here is gorgeous. This is a very uplifting song, both musically and lyrically. Releasing this as a single was a bold move in the face of the grunge-dominated airwaves.
The title track is funky, for sure, but definitely still sounds like it would have been more popular in 1985. I like the philosophy in the lyrics, though. And I loved the sound of the guitar solo here, as well as the acoustic guitar anchor. The little spoken word parts right after that solo, though… um, no thanks, guys. And it was a single! Interesting.
Face Up is a great driving song, out on the highway at high speed. It rocks along quite handily. Even the breakdown prowls like a caged animal, aching to get back out there and run some more. And then it does! Awesome tune.
Where’s My Thing?, Pt. 4: Gangster Of Boats Trilogy (haha a trilogy in four parts, you have to know they’re Douglas Adams fans) starts out with a lot of funk, then morphs occasionally into a big Rush 80’s epic synth sweep. Wiki tells me that this was nominated for a Grammy (though it did not win).
The Big Wheel has a big rawk riff and moves along happily. It sounds so simple, really, but of course this is Rush and we all know that it isn’t. This one maybe goes on a little bit long, I mean over 5 minutes? They just repeated the chorus a couple of times too many, at the end. But that’s OK. It’s Rush? Who’s gonna tell them to stop? Me? Nope.
Heresy is a sprawling, gorgeous Rush rawk epic. Love love love this. All of it. This is a great track!
Ghost Of A Chance equally rocks and goes gentle. It’s heavy, it’s funky, it floats a bit. Lifeson’s guitar is the real star, here. Even on the second play through this album, this track stood out to me. Wiki tells me it was a single and I absolutely agree.
Neurotica didn’t grab me at first, even though I’d be hard-pressed to tell you why. On second time through it clicked with me, though, and now it’s as essential to this album as any of the other tracks.
You Bet Your Life rocks along well, and ends this record with aplomb. We’re all just dreamers, after all, and going for it is all we have.
Even overcoming my excitement of being back in Rush Mode, I can say that this is an excellent album. EXCELLENT. It’s missing some elements we’d come to expect from Rush, like the longer, exploratory Lifeson guitar solos, or even good ol’ Peart goin’ nutso on the drums for a track or two. It’s all played (mostly) close to the chest. And that’s OK. It was the record they wanted to make, it fit the times. It’s a bridge between the 80s and 90s.
What sealed it for me though, beyond Rush’s excellent playing and the absolutely superb sound here, is the album’s mindset, overall. Life is all you have. You have to go for it. If there’s something you don’t like about your life, go fix it and to hell with anyone who’d tell you that you can’t do it. And even if it doesn’t work out, change things and go for it again. I can get behind that. Hell, that line of thinking is… punk. GASP!