All posts tagged: Neil Peart

Book Review: “Long Range Goals”

The United States’ performance in the World Cup last month, and the attention if brought, caused many commentators, sports and otherwise, to ask if this was the moment when soccer finally arrived in America. But in Long Range Goals: The Success Story of Major League Soccer veteran soccer journalist Beau Dure suggests that soccer has already made it here simply because MLS has, against all odds, survived over the course of its 15 years. Before I get into the review, some disclosure is necessary. First, Beau is a personal friend. For years, I was a frequent poster on the BigSoccer message boards, and found him to be one of the few voices of reason there. This was largely because, as a writer for USA Today, his analyses were based on facts rather than club loyalty, although I often took umbrage with his habit of punctuating his arguments with Neil Peart lyrics. When I began covering soccer in 2006, we continued our long-running discussions at the RFK Stadium press box at D.C. United games. On top …

Death by Power Ballad: Tommy Shaw, “Lonely School”

Maybe eight or ten years ago, if you’d wanted to make some pretty decent money on a minimal investment, all you had to do was find a CD copy of Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw’s 1984 solo debut, Girls with Guns, at a yard sale or in the used bins at your local strip mall record store (you remember them, don’t you?), then turn around and put the copy on eBay.  I once saw a one go for upwards of $200, and it made me longingly recall the time I saw a $10 used GwG at the Keystone Music Exchange and didn’t pull the trigger on the purchase.  And my fists shake with rage at the memory once again. “Lonely School” was the second single off the record, a follow-up to the album’s more raucous title track, and it’s notable for containing just about every element that Shaw hated in Dennis DeYoung’s music, the primary reason he left Styx.  It’s a keyboard-heavy tune, for one thing; the guitars (Shaw’s stock in trade) mainly provide bits of …

Popdose Flashback: Rush, “Presto”

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 …