Album Review: Moving Pictures By Rush
Rush’s Most Successful Album
Rush is one of those few bands who churned out several impressive albums and while there may be debates as to which is their ultimate best work, it’s hard to deny that Moving Pictures is definitely the record that perfectly captured the magic of their glorious music.
Released on February 12, 1981, this follow-up to Permanent Waves showed Rush in their top form. They were at their creative peak and they managed to hone their sound to perfection. The entire album is tight and seamless. There’s no filler and even their least popular tracks can hold their own against other classics. Aside from radio-friendly songs (four out of seven became staples), Moving Pictures showcased the talent and musicality of every band member.
The album opens with the tour de force Tom Sawyer. It’s powerful and almost like a spiritual experience all in itself. It’s complex and became an avenue for drummer Neil Peart to show off his mind-boggling skills. Red Barchetta is a dystopian-themed song inspired by the futuristic short story “A Nice Morning Drive”. Geddy Lee absolutely shined with his bass playing. YYZ is a striking and stunning instrumental. It’s a clear display of Rush’s sheer genius and even today, it remains untouchable. Even with so many gems in this album, YYZ stands out. Peart’s drumming in Limelight took the song to another level. It’s rather personal to him because it’s about his discomfort with their success and the lack of privacy resulting from being in the limelight.
On side two, The Camera Eye is the longest track at almost 11 minutes. This epic is one of the more underrated numbers but is still a fist-pumping anthem. Witch Hunt may not be as stellar as the songs on side one but it has its own appeal. It’s dark and haunting but a necessary addition to Moving Pictures. The album wraps up with Vital Signs and is less dramatic with a bit of reggae flavor.
Overall, Moving Pictures is accessible and enjoyable. There’s not one mediocre track on it. Even almost four decades after its release, nothing ever came close to its massive impact and influence on progressive hard rock. It’s the culmination of all the things we loved about Rush.