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Alex Lifeson Tag

Even though the guys in Rush are closer to 60 than 50, they show no signs of slowing down.  Indeed, this has been quite the workaholic year for the band.  They recorded two new songs, were the subject of a documentary (Beyond the Lighted Stage), hit the road for a tour of North America and Brazil, and now have also released a DVD with the folks who produce the Classic Albums series.
For me, having more Rush product out there, the better.  I’m not one of those people who grudgingly accepts Rush’s role in the history of hard rock, rather I have not been shy about my devotion to the band, so it would seem that I would be all over this Classic Albums DVD about two of Rush’s most influential albums:  2112 and Moving Pictures.  For the uninitiated, the Classic Albums series is one that takes fans (casual and ardent alike) behind the scenes of the making of a seminal album in popular music. Often, we’ll see the artist sitting behind the mixing board talking in depth about how a particular song came about — all the while fiddling with knobs on the board to isolate this guitar track, or that drum track, or vocal track.  It makes for an interesting education on the recording process, how an artist came up with a certain sound, or what they were trying to convey by a certain vocal phrasing. Sometimes these DVDs are quite good (see, Steely Dan on Aja), and sometimes they can be quite boring.  With Rush, the producers of the series had a chance to really introduce people to why Rush is such an amazing band, and satisfy long time fans with tales of studio wonkery.  Instead, they fell short on both counts.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL MIX HERE This week's mix started out like a lot of mixes:  one or two songs getting stuck in my head and me trying to fit the pieces together for a complete mix.  Since I've done a couple of mixes called "Random Sample,"

In pop culture, lists are everything. They lend a sense of order to an otherwise orderless world. From film and literature to music, critics and readers alike love to put things in tidy rows. It is with this in mind that Popdose presents Listmania, a weekly series counting down the staff’s favorite things.

Just one clarifying point before diving into this week’s installment of the Top 50 Guitarists: there were many comments about the selection criteria for entries included in the list, which was, simply, “List your favorite 50 guitarists.” That’s it. These might not be the most technical, they might not be the most proficient, but they do represent the staff’s favorites.

If you missed last week’s installment, you can catch up here:

Top 50 Guitarists (50-36)

So without further delay, here are numbers 35 though 21 of the Popdose staff’s list of top guitarists …


Welcome back, mellow miners! You know, being the wimpiest guy on Popdose is not an easy job, but I do it for you and wusses across the universe. And part of the job is exposing to you (wait, that doesn’t read right) all different kinds of songs that fall into the Mellow Gold category. Sometimes, like Mang, they’re wordless — and last time we got together, we discussed Greg Guidry’s “Goin’ Down,” a song that wasn’t really mellow in terms of its lyrical content, but in its musical style. This week, I figure we’ll go the other way and see what happens: let’s take apart a song that may not be so mellow musically, but really has it goin’ on in the lyrics department.

Andy Kim — Rock Me Gently (download)

IT’S BUILT RIGHT INTO THE GODDAMN TITLE! My work here is done, everybody! Thanks, and see you next time for another Adventure…nah, I kid. But seriously? “Rock Me Gently“? Well, hang on. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Let’s take a look at Lebanese dreamboat Andy Kim.


Damn you, Google image search!

Ahh, there we are. Andy, you handsome motherfucker. I don’t know what or who you’re looking at, but I bet they have no idea they’re about to get swallowed up by your hair.

It wasn’t their best album. It wasn’t even much like what people consider their best album. Yet the mighty Canadian power trio Rush found themselves on Atlantic Records with a producer known mostly for working with The Fixx and Tina Turner. It was in many ways a fresh start and, true to the band’s nature, they made the most of it.

Lyricist/drummer Neil Peart always had a knack for wordplay, but quite often that was the lyrical crux of the song, with no specific aim attached. On Presto, the seeds of his political nature were finally starting to bloom. “War Paint” fleshes out the angst of teenage life in a hostile adult world, a direct graduation from “Subdivisions.” The very specific “Red Tide” spurs on an ecology-mindedness the listener kind of knew was there but couldn’t precisely summarize. The kickoff “Show Don’t Tell” went to number #1 on the rock charts.

Perhaps it was producer Rupert Hine’s pop polish that made everything so much more palatable than their hard-rock roots, but this is exactly what you get – a great pop album. Alex Lifeson’s guitar is still powerful but not “tear-the-roof-off,” especially with the chorus pedal so often processing the sound. Geddy Lee still plays the bass like few can, but it’s lower in the mix, and the keyboards are higher. The album has the dubious distinction of holding one of the band’s worst songs, the craptacular “Scars,” but also contains two of their prettiest offerings. First, the title track, which illustrates a person’s desire to make everything better in the face of being completely unable to do so. The word “presto” is never uttered in the song, but the key lyric, “If I could wave my magic wand,” really crystallizes that harsh middle ground between intention and ability. It also touches a major Peart theme – no magician or rock star is going to make your miracle happen for you. You must wrestle with the responsibility of your own life.