Ohhhh What a RUSH! The Rush Discography Project: “Hold Your Fire” (1987)
September 18, 2013 § Leave a comment
Full disclosure: “Time Stand Still” is probably one of the most joyous Rush songs.
I’ve been wrestling with this review a lot over the past few months, really, because I sort of hate this album, but having “Time Stand Still” right there at track number 2 (almost ALWAYS the best track on any album), it has begun to make me rethink where this album stands in the Rush discography. Certainly the song is corny as anything the bad put out, but it is sort of everything that I love so much about Rush. It is just epic and silly and really GOES for it. But beyond that, it has this terribly catchy melody, and the chorus is wonderful how the music just drops out and then Aimee Mann, one of my favorite female vocalists of all time shows up and just kills it. Yeah yeah, I know it’s one of the worst music videos of all time, but I’ll always have a soft place for this song. Always.
And album opener “Force Ten”? Well, it’s half good and half bad. It’s no doubt one of the catchier and more ROCKING songs they did during this time period, but even with that being the case, the best part of the song for me is the brief synth solo about 2/3 through the track. It doesn’t really even fit the song, but it is just so amazingly awesome and bizarre that I can’t help but love it. It’s just a fist-pumping song. Rush hears Journey, says “no, we’ll do this our way, thank you!” and then out Journey’s Journey, without all the crying and sentimentality. So yeah, it’s a great 1-2 punch.
But then it’s followed by alternating mediocrity and “pretty good”. That all said, this album rocks a bit harder, or at least has an idea of what it wants to be as an album better than the last couple of albums. Yeah, it’s still super heavy on the synth, but Lifeson also has some interesting guitar moments here and a lot of that “delay” sound that was big in the mid-80s, letting the guitar echo as Geddy sings. It gives everything this shimmering quality, like we’re all visiting some super socially conscious crystal castle. “Open Secrets” and “Second Nature” are fairly basic late 80s synth-pop. Not entirely catchy, but decent enough tracks. “Prime Mover” kicks ass. It ratchets the sound up a bit, and is a total blast, but “Mission” does nothing for me and “Turn The Page” is clearly the worst song on the album. It’s not unforgivably bad like some tracks from recent albums, but it IS bad. Embarrassingly so.
And “Tai Shan”…I mean, you can’t take a song like this seriously either, but unlike some of the other tracks that you can’t take seriously, this one really FEELS serious. I mean:
I stood at the top of the mountain
And China sang to me
In the peaceful haze of harvest time
A song of eternity
Lovin’ that harvest time.
So look, it’s not a good album. But it’s seriously better than “Power Windows” and “Grace Under Pressure”, it sounds like the band almost got their act together. You could take or leave the album as a whole but there are about 4 songs here that you wanna keep around, because they’re pretty great. On to the next phase, Rush. Onto the next phase.