Rush - Moving Pictures
Mercury Records
Progressive Hard Rock
7 songs (40:04)
Release year: 1981
Rush, Mercury Records
Reviewed by Goat

I must confess that this very nearly didn’t make it into the annals of the Metal Reviews Classics. Compared to other worthy releases from the band, Permanent Waves and 2112 being the most obvious examples, there seemed something lightweight about Rush’s transition album, something a bit too Pop and synth-driven about Moving Pictures to let it be mentioned in the same breath as those classics. I was all set to write a ‘yeah, it’s not bad for a beginner’ review, buried in inches of condescension and more than a little ridicule, when I decided to give the album one last listen. After all, it was the first album I heard from the eccentric Canadians, and it deserved another chance. Well, you can blame that moment for the emails of complaint that you didn’t get to write, Rushians and Rushettes. Moving Pictures is, of course, a masterpiece, coming in a close second for the title of the band’s best (nothing beats 2112!). From the deceptively simple opening of Tom Sawyer, the spacey synths the perfect backdrop to Geddy’s vocals as Peart and Lifeson’s drums and guitar become more complex and interwoven. No matter that it’s the most overplayed Rush song on the radio, there’s always something new to discover, some hidden depth to explore in each of the instruments, each playing something different yet all working together perfectly.

Red Barchetta was nearly the subject of a mini-rant about Rush’s lyrics (never their strength, alas) that most evil of organisations – the Government – banning cars in the future and taking away the rights of man to freely pollute the planet. Of course, when you actually listen to the song in question, all objections are swept away; this is Rush at their most cheerful, tapping into that folksy vein in all of us. You must have a cold heart indeed if it doesn’t jump for joy when Geddy sings ‘run like the wind as excitement shivers up and down my spine’ – even without the complex backing instrumentation. You know the score: Peart and Lifeson are the best drummer and guitarist, respectively, out there, neither obscuring the other – it’s quite possible to listen to the album several times, concentrating on a different instrument each time. Even the band’s haters have to acknowledge moments of skill such as YYZ, the closest thing you’d get to technical Metal back in 1981, and something that modern Metallic Progsters like Meshuggah and Dream Theater acknowledge as being a big influence.

People often complain about the album going downhill after that, but it’s hard to argue that catchy little numbers like Limelight are in any way inferior. The Camera Eye, the last time that Rush indulged in an epic-length song to date, is excellent, not least for the chance to hear someone (I assume a member of the band) doing a rubbish Cockney accent. The ominous Witch Hunt (probably the song with the heaviest amount of synths) and the light, White-Reggae Vital Signs are just as good songs as the others. Many have a problem with the latter, heralding as it did the band’s dip into the 80s sound, but for what it is it’s great, proof that a little influence from The Police isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Although it’s fast becoming a cliché in other Rush reviews that I read, this really is an album ‘for those who think and feel’. ‘Everybody got mixed feelings’ as Geddy wails on the last track here, but it’s a pretty safe bet that any listener who actually has feelings will find much to like on Moving Pictures. What this album ultimately is, is the last mandatory purchase in the Rush catalogue, the last absolute classic that the band has produced. It’s a pity, but considering how much more quality is contained on those albums than the average album from, heck, whatever era you choose, anyone that has followed the band’s career to date will continue boldly into those dark years with only a tear or two of regret. In the meantime, Moving Pictures is one of those rare albums that it is impossible to get bored with however much you listen, however well you think that you know the contents. A classic, obviously.

Killing Songs :
Goat quoted CLASSIC
Thomas quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Rush that we have reviewed:
Rush - Clockwork Angels reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 90 / 100
Rush - Beyond The Lighted Stage reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Rush - Test For Echo reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
Rush - Counterparts reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
Rush - Roll The Bones reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
To see all 26 reviews click here
4 readers voted
Your quote was: 100.
Change your vote

There are 14 replies to this review. Last one on Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:09 am
View and Post comments