Limelight: Rush in the ’80s

Martin Popoff. ECW, $34.95 (376p) ISBN 978-1-77041-536-2
Music critic Popoff delivers an excellent follow-up to his recent Anthem: Rush in the ’70s, the first volume in a three-part history of the progressive rock band Rush. Popoff extensively analyzes the LPs made from 1980’s Permanent Waves through 1989’s Presto, when Rush “took to messing about with all the decade had to offer, enthusiastically so,” including an increased use of synthesizers and keyboards. Popoff expertly details the ways Rush expanded its sound, including the use of reggae and electronic music in Permanent Waves, as well as a focus on shorter, tighter compositions on the band’s hugely popular Moving Pictures, and the decade-closing pair Power Windows and Hold Your Fire, which showcased “an astringent, high-strung pop band, trendy keys and synths in excess.” Throughout, Popoff extracts insightful quotes from band members, such as the late Neil Peart’s explaining that he was “a huge fan when I first started to hear Talking Heads, and when I first started to hear the Police and Ultravox and all these new English bands,” and doesn’t shy from being critical of the band (“Pretty objectively, Power Windows and Hold Your Fire sound extremely dated, wholly of the ’80s, where Rush’s ’70s material has become unassailably hip”). Die-hard Rush fans will devour this fascinating deep-dive into the band’s musically controversial decade. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 05/22/2020
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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