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It’s 2-1-12 So Crank Up ‘2112’ For Rush Day!
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Rush 2112

And the meek shall inherit the Earth…

Today is 2-1-12, or 2112… and I couldn’t let this day go by without mentioning this date day, a special one for us Rush fans.

In honor of today’s date, be sure to crank up Rush’s awesome, amazing, fantastic album 2112.

The 1976 concept album was the Canadian’s trio’s four studio effort, and after their previous album, Caress of Steel, was a financial flop, it was also Rush’s final chance with their record label, which was against the band doing another concept album. But the band – bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer Neil Peart, the latter of whom was the main lyricist — stuck to their guns and put out the album they wanted to with 2112. Not only was 2112 the band’s first commercial success, the album also went on to become one of the most popular rock albums of all time, with its Starman emblem as one of the most recognizable symbols in rock.

The concept behind 2112 was inspired by Ayn Rand’s novella Anthem. For the album, Peart took Rand’s story of one’s strive for individualism in a collectivist society and crafted a futuristic tale. The 20-minute song “2112,” which is the first half the album (Side 1 for those of us old enough to remember vinyl), is told in seven parts, beginning with the awesome 4 1/2-minute “Overture.” Once we get a taste of what’s to come, we learn in “The Temples of Syrinx” that the Priests of said Temple are in control in this society where everyone is equal — so equal that individuality is not allowed. The Priests dictate what is seen and heard, and the people should not question their authority. For this song, Geddy Lee uses a high-pitched voice to signify the Priests’ berating tone.

We’ve taken care of everything
The words you hear, the songs you sing
The pictures that give pleasure to your eyes
It’s one for all and all for one
We work together, common sons
Never need to wonder how or why

In “Discovery,” we meet the protagonist, “Anonymous, 2112,” a young man who’s come upon a “strange device” buried in a cave.

What can this strange device be?
When I touch it, it gives forth a sound
It’s got wires that vibrate and give music
What can this thing be that I found?

We realize that he’s found a guitar, something no one in his time has ever seen or heard. He’s so excited about his discovery, he runs to show the Priests and share “this new wonder” with the people. So elated is he, he expects the Priests to praise him. In “Presentation,” instead of being hailed, the Priests admonish him.

Yes, we know, it’s nothing new
It’s just a waste of time
We have no need for ancient ways
The world is doing fine
Another toy will help destroy
The elder race of man
Forget about your silly whim
It doesn’t fit the plan

Perplexed at this response, our hero tries playing some music for the Priests, who explain “Just think about the average, What use have they for you?,” meaning, the average person would not care or understand this ancient “toy,” and would only suffer from being exposed to it.

Devastated, he retreats to his home, where in “Oracle: The Dream” he dreams of an Elder Race of men who are still learning, growing, and creating music and art. He dreams of these people returning to the planet to take down the Priests and bring about change.

They left the planet long ago
The elder race still learn and grow
Their power grows with purpose strong
To claim the home where they belong
Home to tear the Temples down…
Home to change!

He awakens from his hopeful dream in “Soliloquy” to realize that it was just that – a dream. Now that he’s been exposed to a life that could be so much more fulfilling, how can he carry on?

Just think of what my life might be
In a world like I have seen!
I don’t think I can carry on
Carry on this cold and empty life

My spirits are low in the depths of despair
My lifeblood…
… Spills over…

In the bombastic finale, “The Grand Finale,” the epic ends with the now-classic pronouncement…

Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation
Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation
Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation
We have assumed control
We have assumed control
We have assumed control

Left up to the listener’s interpretation, it’s assumed that this is indeed the return of the Elder Race from Anonymous, 2112’s dream, though seemingly too late for him to see this victory.

Like I said, it’s an amazing album, not only musically, but lyrically, and is a classic rock masterpiece. So, in honor of 2-1-12, be sure to listen to the album multiple times and remember – think for yourself.

Oh, and if you don’t already own the album 2112 [shame], you can grab the MP3 Download for under ten bucks. If you’re not the MP3 type, you can order the CD for only $4.99. There’s also the Rush – Classic Albums: 2112 / Moving Pictures Blu-ray and DVD (if you purchase the Blu-ray edition, you get the digital version to watch immediately for FREE – so NO waiting, you can watch it today in honor of 2112 Day).

Rush – 2112

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