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Rush lyrics and their meaning


revolead

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I think "The Trees" doesn't have a meaning actually. It has a subject, but it isn't like a fable where you can discern a "moral of the story". I think they purposefully avoid that in the song.

 

I won't get too deep in this one... first for lack of true knowledge, second for not wanting to go into controversial issues...

 

I think lots of Rush's songs that tell a story do so in a way in which they avoid an obvious moral, or preaching. The often have fairly cynical lines, which establish a mood thta might sound "critical". However, I think the albums Roll the Bones, Test 4 Echo were kinda preachy.

"Without music, life would be a mistake."

--from 'Beyond Good and Evil', by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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Wanting to get into Peart's head? Try "Anthem":

 

"Know your place in life is where you want to be

Dont let them tell you that you owe it all to me

Keep on looking forward, no use in looking round

Hold your head above the ground and they wont bring you

Down

 

Anthem of the heart and anthem of the mind

A funeral dirge for eyes gone blind

We marvel after those who sought

New wonders in the world, wonders in the world,

Wonders in the world they wrought

 

Live for yourself -- theres no one else

More worth living for

Begging hands and bleeding hearts will

Only cry out for more

 

Well, I know they've always told you

Selfishness was wrong

Yet it was for me, not you, I

Came to write this song"

"Without music, life would be a mistake."

--from 'Beyond Good and Evil', by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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also, entertain this idea, but maybe we're getting into political ground here... maybe entertain it, but not discuss it?... the cartoon mentioned (or maybe even the song itself) may have been about or have something to do with the relationship between Canada (the maples) and Queen Elizabeth II's kingdom (the oaks).

 

I'm not really DEBATING anything here. It might be worthwhile to note the Rush guys are officers of the Order of Canada, an honour awarded by Her Majesty. A quote from the official website: "Members of the progressive rock trio, RUSH, these veterans of the stage have raised over a million dollars for charities such as food banks and the United Way. Their efforts have enhanced an awareness of the plight faced by society's less fortunate, inspiring and awakening the social consciousness of an entire generation. Musicians far and wide have been influenced by the band's accomplishments, a testament to their contribution to popular music." ...from a "political" standpoint, doesn't sound very err... "selfish" ...or maybe the Commonwealth and the Crown didn't get the message?

"Without music, life would be a mistake."

--from 'Beyond Good and Evil', by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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I learned Broon's Bane when I was 16 ...beautiful guitar piece.
Me too! Spent quite a bit of time trying to figure it out... but I don't remember it or have it anymore, I need to get that album again (had it on tape). Yes, I think it's beautiful as well!

"Without music, life would be a mistake."

--from 'Beyond Good and Evil', by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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More by Peart, "Ghost of a Chance", from Roll the Bones:

 

"Like a million little doorways

All the choices we made

All the stages we passed through

All the roles we played

 

For so many different directions

Our separate paths might have turned

With every door that we opened

Every bridge that we burned

 

Somehow we find each other

Through all that masquerade

Somehow we found each other

Somehow we have stayed

In a state of grace

 

I don't believe in destiny

Or the guiding hand of fate

I don't believe in forever

Or love as a mystical state

I don't believe in the stars or the planets

Or angels watching from above

But I believe there's a ghost of a chance we can find someone to love

And make it last...

 

Like a million little crossroads

Through the back streets of youth

Each time we turn a new corner

A tiny moment of truth

 

For so many different connections

Our separate paths might have made

With every door that we opened

Every game we played"

 

One of my favorite Rush albums is "Presto"--it has both nice tunes and interesting lyrics, as well as a refreshing sound.

 

...other songs that can possibly be seen as Peart playfully or seriously stating basic philosophical beliefs could be Roll the Bones (Roll the Bones), Resist (Test for Echo, I think), Marathon (Power Windows), and Mission (Hold your Fire).

 

Although I think Anthem, Freewill and Ghost of a Chance are possibly his most extroverted "summaries", or at least they sound like someone REALLY saying, "ok, here's how I think the world works/turns, in brief"... kinda like personal "maniphestos".

 

...ideas on overtly strong nationalism? Territories (Power Windows).

 

...what do you guys think?

"Without music, life would be a mistake."

--from 'Beyond Good and Evil', by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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Although I think Anthem, Freewill and Ghost of a Chance are possibly like his most extroverted "summaries", or at least they sound like someone REALLY saying, "ok, here's how I think the world works/turns, in brief"... kinda like personal "manifestos".

 

This is true, but those manifestos are summed up in objectivism. It's easy to understand when you've studied and believe in the philosophy (like myself). The Anthem is a blatant reference to the book by Ayn Rand, and essentially sums up the central idea of the ethics of Neil Peart, Rand, and myself: rational self-interest.

 

The Anthem itself is my favorite book (coincidence that I love Rush? No). It is a story about a man who lives in a totalitarian dystopia, much like 1984, except the world has gone to collectivism and thus (as Rand herself believed it will) reverted back to the dark ages.

 

Well, I know they've always told you

Selfishness was wrong

Yet it was for me, not you, I

Came to write this song

 

The main character rebels against the system the world has become, and as such he is punished. However, when he discovers a hidden place with ideas of the past, he learns of selfishness and of the word I (up until this point the main character refers to himself as we). This last stamina is a perfect testament to the end of the book and of the main character's discovery of a world based on rational self-interest.

 

...ideas on overtly strong nationalism?

 

This is a god observation Millo, but slightly off. Any objectivist or libertarian will likely be opposed to nationalism for the sake of nationalism, especially in totalitarian states. Many people and philosophers read The Anthem incorrectly as a story about nationalism and its danger of becoming totalitarianism. However, the book is best read as the classic literary conflict of the individual versus the state. Any references that may seem to hint at the former idea is really just a misunderstanding of the advanced version of that idea: that man's greatest value is man, and that he should only be measured against his own success, not that of a deity, church, state, mystical power, or anything else that cannot be sought by the core objectivist epistemology and value: reason.

 

I'm trying not to be a rambler, but it happened. :D

Shut up and play.
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No problem w/ the rambling. Anthem is one of my favorite Rush songs and I didn't know ANYTHING about the book--I just took the title as his own "personal anthem", and yes, a summary of his philosophy of life... I guess one could say a simple and bold presentation to the world (to the rock world anyways) of "objectivism", of which I know very little as a philosophy.

 

The lyrics on "Territories" do seem to me like a total satire of fanatical, superfluous nationalism... or as you said, nationalism for the sake of nationalism, and to be honest I don't think that statement goes against you stated. Maybe "overtly-strong nationalism" wasn't the best choice of words.

 

By the way, thanks for the spellcheck on "manifesto". :thu:

 

One thing I like about Rush is the fact that in their songs I can usually enjoy one of its elements: the lyrics, the music, the playing--and often times I like the whole package... as in Marathon, Anthem, Jacob's Ladder, Tom Sawyer, Limelight, Ghost of a Chance, Show Don't Tell, Chain Lightning, Mission, Territories, Subdivisions, Natural Science, Double Agent, Bastille Day, etc...

"Without music, life would be a mistake."

--from 'Beyond Good and Evil', by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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Actually guys 2112 was based of of Ayn Rands book "The Anthem". The song Anthem by Rush I do not believe is based off of the actual reading of The Anthem.

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?

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Actually guys 2112 was based of of Ayn Rands book "The Anthem". The song Anthem by Rush I do not believe is based off of the actual reading of The Anthem.

I agree with you from what I have read, but from what I see of the lyrics, it is obvious the song is based on the book. Perhaps not literally but certainly the ideas are.

Shut up and play.
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The lyrics on "Territories" do seem to me like a total satire of fanatical, superfluous nationalism... or as you said, nationalism for the sake of nationalism, and to be honest I don't think that statement goes against you stated. Maybe "overtly-strong nationalism" wasn't the best choice of words.

 

Ooops. :D I thought you were still talking about "The Anthem" in this context. As far as that song, I would say yes, and I'm not even sure that song has anything to do with objectivism.

 

One thing I like about Rush is the fact that in their songs I can usually enjoy one of its elements: the lyrics, the music, the playing--and often times I like the whole package.

 

Me too. It all fits together so well.

Shut up and play.
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Actually guys 2112 was based of of Ayn Rands book "The Anthem". The song Anthem by Rush I do not believe is based off of the actual reading of The Anthem.

I agree with you from what I have read, but from what I see of the lyrics, it is obvious the song is based on the book. Perhaps not literally but certainly the ideas are.

 

Yes in Idea only... agreed :laugh:

 

 

 

Now "I THink I'm Going Bald" There's some Philosophy :)

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?

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Ever heard the concept of "Deep and Meaningless" ???

 

I'm with you on that. Not that I think everything they say is "meaningless" but the meaning is less important than the imagery and the music. I really appreciate that they sing about things other than typical rock/pop music cliches. I mean "Hot Rockin" by Priest would be some much better if he scatted his way through it instead of singing those lyrics. As much as I love "Hot for Teacher", it is laughable (which is something I like about by the way). There aren't too many bands I listened to in high school that I want to remember the lyrics of, Rush though is cool that way.

 

As for meaning, I think it don't get better than this:

 

Xan-a-duuuuuuuuu

 

:^)

 

no,

 

I mean this:

 

What you own is your own kingdom

What you do is your own glory

What you love is your own power

What you live is your own story

In your head is the answer

Let it guide you along

Let your heart be the anchor

And the beat of your own song

 

I think that is about as meaningful as I want a rock tune to be; and it is one of the lyrics (the whole tune actually) that I don't feel stupid for taking to heart at a young age. It stands the test of time much better than "I love you sweetleaf, though you can't hear".

 

 

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My Unitarian Jihad Name: Brother Broadsword of Enlightened Compassion.

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Billster: hahaha...

 

musicalhair: agreed on the "meaning" thing. By the way "Something for Nothing" is in my book a cool song, in a 70's way. I think as soon as you're somewhat serious about things in rock, people think you're being TOO serious. That's another dept. where I think Rush is fairly "balanced". I liked Rush before I knew what "progressive rock" was, and when I knew of the "definition" of progrock I didn't think I'd classify them as such. They're, to me, simply "refreshing".

"Without music, life would be a mistake."

--from 'Beyond Good and Evil', by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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musicalhair: agreed on the "meaning" thing. By the way "Something for Nothing" is in my book a cool song, in a 70's way. I think as soon as you're somewhat serious about things in rock, people think you're being TOO serious. That's another dept. where I think Rush is fairly "balanced". I liked Rush before I knew what "progressive rock" was, and when I knew of the "definition" of progrock I didn't think I'd classify them as such. They're, to me, simply "refreshing".

 

Agreed, 100%.

 

Something for Nothing has been kinda like words to live by for me, much more so than say Children of the Grave or Godzilla or Breaking the Law.

check out some comedy I've done:

http://louhasspoken.tumblr.com/

My Unitarian Jihad Name: Brother Broadsword of Enlightened Compassion.

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I appreciate that the subject matter is something beyond girls and booze, but the mystic $h!+ is a bit much, and I don't trust rock singers as sources of deep philosophy. As a gateway to a subject perhaps, but not the definitive exploration.

 

I've always thought rock lyrics were as much about sound and rhythm as they are about meaning.

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Understood, and I agree w/ you... a rock band is not necessarily a primary source for mysticism... I'm not even sure if ANY type of source at all, since anyway I don't consider Rush "mystical" or anything.

 

But it's great when they can write lyrics that while not necessarily TOO deep, they either make you go like "hey, that's kinda what I think about this or that subject" or at least make you think.

"Without music, life would be a mistake."

--from 'Beyond Good and Evil', by Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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