Back in the early 1970s, rock music started expanding and all the genre’s fan base was getting more and more people. However, at one point it was difficult to stand out from the crowd. If you followed the norm, you were at risk of being too boring. On the other hand, if you experimented too much you were in danger of being too obscure. However, a band like Rush always found a way to sound unique but still get its huge following all around the world. Despite their long songs and philosophical and sci-fi filled lyrics, they always found a way to stay relevant for many years just by doing their own thing.
Polyphonic recently uploaded a video analysis where they got into the philosophy behind Rush‘s lyrics. They discuss the band’s lyrical themes and focus on the change that came after Neil Peart joined the band. Despite being one hell of a drummer, Peart had a huge appetite for reading. One of his focuses was Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, which is the idea that the most moral path is the pursuit of personal happiness. This can be heard in the song like “Anthem” from Fly By Night album, the first Rush record that featured Peart. The song even has the same title as Ayn Rand‘s novella. However, the guys from Rush never declared themselves as Objectivists and the song has more to it than just that.
They discuss the album Caress of Steel and its commercial failure due to obscure lyrical themes. The label asked them to do a more radio-friendly stuff for their next record, but instead, they created “2112″ which opens up with a 20-minute long prog rock epic. They just decided to make art that fulfilled them and their own needs. Ultimately they created one of the most influential albums of that time. Once again, the lyrics were inspired by Rand‘s works and the importance of individualism. The title track, divided into seven parts, revolves around the dystopian future and the fictional city of Megadon.
You can find more details about this and a lot of other Rush songs in the player below.