What is the time signature of YYZ

Rush - "Moving Pictures"

laut.de criticism

A superlative prog rock album.

Review by Alexander Cordas

"Moving Pictures". Two words, one monument. The 1981 album by Rush marks something like the initial spark for the legendary status that Canadians would enjoy with fans and fellow musicians. Although they mucked around in a respectable manner beforehand and regularly brought in precious metals, nothing should be the same after the release of the eighth studio album. The seven-song work is rightly considered one of the most influential in rock music.

In order to be able to classify "Moving Pictures" correctly, one has to shed some light on the band's discography. After she was first honored with the pure Prog ham "2112", she subsequently deepened the topics of science fiction and philosophy with "A Farewell To Kings" (1977) and "Hemispheres" (1978). Two epic tracks revolving around a black hole called "Cygnus X-1" spanned the first two albums. On "Permanent Waves" Rush tightened the songwriting more and more. This development then culminates in "Moving Pictures", which pour all the strengths of the musicians into a form that should never be achieved again in this concentrated density.

To understand the speed with which Lee, Lifeson and Peart were on the road back then, here is a little insight: In June 1980 the tour of "Permanent Waves", which took them halfway around the world in ten months, ended. A live album was supposed to be produced afterwards, but the musicians were really feeling on their toes. At Peart's initiative, they threw all plans to the contrary, put their feet up for a few days and met in July 1980 at Phase One Studios in Toronto to work on new material. They put the results of the tinkering on tape in just two months. This is a period of time in which some combo can barely get the basics for the guitars onto the chain. What was created in the short time that was made is part of the absolute canon of rock history. The number of musicians who felt inspired to pick up an instrument after listening to this album should hardly be manageable.

But not only the songs depict an almost perfect sublimity, the visual design is also extremely successful. The cover artwork plays with the terms of the album title. There is a lot going on here. The workers, the pictures, the spectators standing next to the beauty of the works of art, on the back of the cover you can also see a film crew capturing the scenery in moving images. Not for the last time, this reflects the wealth of detail and ideas in the Rush universe.

The music itself continues that. The three musicians were already known as experts in their respective fields before the album was released. The way in which they put their skills to the service of the seven tracks still brings tears of joy to the eyes of every music theorist today. And those who don't know what to do with time shifts and similar terms from Muckertum will not even notice how much effort goes into four or five minute songs. In the end, however, Rush made both camps happy. Those who value manual skills are allowed to analyze until the doctor comes, the rest, like the wolf in sheep's clothing, are hailed en masse with progressive elements that are not lacking in catchiness, urgency and emotionality.

Five of the seven numbers were an essential part of the live setlist in Rush history, "Tom Sawyer"Has even been played at every concert since its release. That brings us to their biggest 'hit'. Hit in the sense that the song became the trio's signature tune. The opening number bursts through the listener with synthesizer and drums The synth melody comes from Geddy Lee's soundcheck gimmicks, around which they build a song that looks completely unusual in terms of the song structure, but in which all parts ultimately unite to form a coherent whole. 4/4 and 7/8 time Including. No proper stanza-chorus structure? Who needs that with a monster of a song like this? Exactly. Peart wrote the lyrics in collaboration with author Pye Dubois.

The move away from science fiction and the move to 'more secular' topics is also evident in "Red Barchetta"Gone seamlessly. Here, Peart lets his fun with motorized locomotion run wild. Instrumentally, there is a nice ascent and descent here, with a pretty intermediate section, which is introduced by Alex's roaring guitar."Wind, in my hair, shifting and drifting, mechanical music, adrenaline surge."But hello!

What is immediately noticeable next to the more dominant use of keyboards in direct comparison to the previous albums: The fat production. Everything here sounds fully produced and tight to the limit. Nasty grumbling bass lines, graceful guitars and, above all, once again the godlike drumming by Neil Peart. It was not for nothing that the album was named the "greatest drumming album in the history of progressive rock" in 2014 because of its performance.

The triumvirate also congenially unites in the instrumental "YYZ"The beginning of the ingenious finger exercise for subsequent generations of musicians is rhythmically based on the Morse code of Toronto Airport, which also owes its name. This title was also a regular in the live repertoire and even earned the three of them a Grammy nomination for best Rock instrumental. They never won the time of their existence despite a total of seven nominations. In 1981 they were beaten by The Police's "Behind My Camel" - another bitter stair joke in music history, because Sting and Co. were able to write their own song Sting himself doesn't even play bass on it and Stewart Copeland just sat behind the drums because there was no other drummer around.

And now it is time at this point to pay tribute to the man who is usually last mentioned at Rush - in terms of instrumental skills - namely guitarist Lifeson. Even Geddy Lee once described his colleague as "one of the most underrated guitarists". And rightly so. If you take a closer look at his game, you first hear the subtleties that he contributes to the total work of art Rush. He is not one of the representatives of his guild who brag about string waxes, but always subordinates his skills to the song idea. In addition, he comes out as a precision mechanic master of the tremolo such as "Limelight"proves. Alex puts the cherry on top of a wonderful track with his solo when it shines after 2:35. You have to have that much feeling first. Apropo"Limelight". Another all-time classic. Sounds pretty simple? Perhaps. But anyone who has tried to identify the time signatures that cheerfully come into their own here will quickly find that Rush is once more something for the listener that may sound simple, but the arrangement has it all.

The last classic on the album cheats between "The Camera Eye" and "Vital Signs" and is called "Witch Hunt"The mood this song creates is almost unbelievable. With 4:45 pure playing time, the witch hunt is not the shortest song, but if you take off the scary intro, a little less than four minutes remain on the plus side. The complexity and urgency of this number, despite the brevity, rolls over the listener like an ever-increasing, oversized wall of sound. At the beginning, Rush create a scary mood with chimes, numerous percussive interjections and screaming people who cry out for a victim as if in a maddened fever. The text describes in the first part a heated mood in which a mob gets together.

The second part explains the goal of hatred and is worth mentioning in detail here: "The right rise with burning eyes of hatred and ill-will. Madmen fed on fear and lies, to beat and burn and kill."Peart's other lyrics are - sad as it may sound - so timeless that they almost take your shoes off:"They say there are strangers who threaten us. Our immigrants and infidels. They say there is strangeness to danger us In our theaters and bookstore shelves. That those who know what's best for us must rise and save us from ourselvesAs if that weren't already violent enough, the conclusion at the end of the track sums up everything that defines the ignorant, hateful and xenophobic mob: "Quick to judge, quick to anger, slow to understand. Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand. Music and text interlock to form a unity that describes the same stupidity of people in a few but striking words.

The list is now missing "The Camera Eye" and "Vital Signs"In comparison, both songs fall slightly behind, but they mark two highlights of the Rush-Back catalog. The fact that both were rarely used live shows the quality of the monstrous Rush repertoire of very good songs."The Camera Eye"is the last sprawling longtrack in the band's history, but is still fun every minute."Vital Signs"then shows that the trio never played around in a vacuum. Numerous influences find their way here. The off-beat guitars are reminiscent of police, electronic drum pads quote synthpop and mark an all-round perfect conclusion, as the sound clearly shows the way here proposed, which Rush should hit in the following years: they put synths in the foreground and give the melodic element even more space. "Moving Pictures" forms the bridge between the ambitious past and the glorious future.

In the "Milestones" section, we present album classics that have changed the history of music or at least our lives forever. Regardless of genre assignments, they should be records that every music fan must have heard.