Album Review: 2112 by Rush

by Tom Edathikunnel

2112 is one of the most musically creative and impressive progressive rock albums I have ever heard. Rush’s musical ability is only trumped by their longevity, as this album stills to this day delivers a fusion of stunning musicianship and thought-provoking lyrical content.

The A side of the album contains the song ‘2112’, a sweeping piece that runs over twenty minutes. Based on the novella Anthem by Ayn Rand, ‘2112’ tells the story of a dystopian future in which all forms of media, books, and music are controlled and regulated by the malevolent “Priests of the Red Star Federation” from the “Temple of Syrinx”. The protagonist of the story stumbles upon a guitar, an item completely new to him, and realizes his ability to create, think, and explore. As he tries to presents his gift before the priests they reject it as a waste of time, and destroy the guitar in attempts to continue to pacify the population. In the wake of the destruction, the protagonist is greeted by an oracle who shows him the true potential of man, and the creative force mankind possesses by conjuring images of cities, paintings, and sculptures. Stricken by grief and loss, the protagonist decides that life is not worth living under the rule of the Federation, and takes his own life.

Rush’s sweeping story is only amplified by the incredible music. This album is rather early on in their decade spanning career, but it still displays spectacular talent and vision. Part I- The Overture begins with the iconic whoosh of intergalactic synth and the entire piece progresses into the multiple acts of the story, concluding with part VII- The Grand Finale, which in my opinion is one of the best displays of Rush’s talent. The sheer epic feel of the conclusion always leaves me with an overwhelming sense of awe.

Side B contains five non-sequential songs, which are often overlooked when compared to the density of Side A. These songs still remain quite fresh and each display the dynamic talent of each member. One of the favorites is ‘Something for Nothing’, Neil Peart’s lyrics truly inspire me, and the guitar work of Alex Lifeson and bass playing of Geddy Lee are simply astounding.

The cover art is simple, and shows the bands name along with the title of the album. The gatefold contains the lyrics as well as the now iconic ‘Starman’, which has become a symbol of band since its release. 2112 is a fantastic album, challenging the audience to think, listen, and question. If you have never heard this album before, I highly recommend it, and for those who have, it is time to listen to it again.

2112 by Rush
Alex Lifeson: Guitars
Neil Peart: Percussion
Geddy Lee: Bass and Vocals

2112 cover and interior gatefold design by Hugh Syme