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If an actual professor wrote Rush lyrics


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#1 Three Eyes

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 12:25 PM

Some of Neil's lyric lines can sound a bit dryly academic even in songs that are about strong human emotions. For example: 
 
Atmospheric changes
Make them sensitive again
 
It's like he thinks he's an actual college professor, not just nicknamed one. :)
 
Anyway, I was thinking maybe we could collect up his driest lyrics here and possibly try to make a semi-sensible song out of them. Of course complete nonsense would be fun too. :P
 
Btw, I'm not sure this idea will work at all. lol.

Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#2 grep

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 03:17 PM

At the time of the battle, The Tobes of Hades were lit by torch. Electricity had not yet been discovered. We are unsure of the source of the wood or any material used for the flames.

 

The population of the netherworld, had gathered in anticipation of the event. We don't know the demographic of this audience. If it were demons and the like, then we can judge that this battle was either a political event, or entertainment. Perhaps both.

 

However, if the audience were comprised of those condemned to hell, they would have been taken from their never-ending tasks in order to observe. Which would indicate that the battle was seen as something of a lesson or perhaps intimidation. Some sort of major event, important enough to Hell's primary function on hold. Never-ending repetition and agony. Respite is normally frowned upon.

 

The first combatant, Prince By, of the land of Tor found it to his strategic advantage to arrive at Hades via the Northlight Cavern.

His credentials include Knight of Darkness, Centurion of Evil, The Unburnt, and Devil's Prince.


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#3 fenderjazz

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 03:26 PM

I have to admit I rarely, if at all, pay attention to Rush lyrics. Sorry Neil

#4 Three Eyes

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 04:06 PM

At the time of the battle, The Tobes of Hades were lit by torch. Electricity had not yet been discovered. We are unsure of the source of the wood or any material used for the flames.

 

The population of the netherworld, had gathered in anticipation of the event. We don't know the demographic of this audience. If it were demons and the like, then we can judge that this battle was either a political event, or entertainment. Perhaps both.

 

However, if the audience were comprised of those condemned to hell, they would have been taken from their never-ending tasks in order to observe. Which would indicate that the battle was seen as something of a lesson or perhaps intimidation. Some sort of major event, important enough to Hell's primary function on hold. Never-ending repetition and agony. Respite is normally frowned upon.

 

The first combatant, Prince By, of the land of Tor found it to his strategic advantage to arrive at Hades via the Northlight Cavern.

His credentials include Knight of Darkness, Centurion of Evil, The Unburnt, and Devil's Prince.

 

Haha. A historical analysis of By-Tor and the Snowdog. Good stuff!


Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#5 TimC

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 04:25 PM

I have to admit I rarely, if at all, pay attention to Rush lyrics. Sorry Neil

 

Ha ha, yeah he's not exactly Sting or anything.

I concur with the OP not just in the sense of being dry, but in terms of being didactic. He makes it clear that he knows (aka has strong opinions about) something that he will now teach you. Be it his vast understanding of women, the Environment, technology, or what have you. He's really too literal and spells out to much too specifically too. It's more like prose in poem form, and dry prose at that. He does have clever turns of phrase but he's really not terribly interesting.

Here are some lyricists that I find way more interesting and why:

 

The aforementioned Mr. Sting: Master at observing various aspects of the human condition and putting them very universally and poetically. One of the all-time best.

 

Frank Zappa: (What?! Hear me out. Also the source of "Mr. Sting" btw.) He is off-the-wall but pulls no punches in commenting on people and their weird behaviors, often sexual. Tells great stories. Example: Yellow Snow/Nanook/St Alfonzo - how many people can weave a tale like that that ultimately ends up telling it like it is about bored Catholic wives and altar-boy sexual abuse by priests? There are tons of such examples; everything from hippies to televangelists do not escape his attention or his wit.

 

Jagger/Richards: Sometimes it's just nonsense but some great stuff in there, works right with the music. Cf "You Can't Always Get What You Want" on the uplifting/transcendent tip, and "Bitch" on the "THIS is rock and roll" one. Special mention because Neil often made the point about how the Stones lacked integrity or whatever, but guess what, rock CAN be about the basest stuff and frankly often SHOULD be.

 

Peter Gabriel: Can get a little sappy but also a master at everything from visual/tactile imagery to social commentary, often at the same time. "Rhythm of the Heat" leaps to mind, and if "Biko" could be better I'd sure like to know how. "Digging In The Dirt" is another standout.

Adrian Belew: Everything from absurd to poignant. Compare how he treats observing the human condition in "People" to how Peart would for instance. "The Power To Believe" is basically one line with more about The Good Things About The Love Of A Woman than Peart could cram into a whole song and clumsily at that.

Warren Zevon.



#6 Three Eyes

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 06:11 PM

^^^ Haha. I wasn't expecting a Neil bashing tirade to turn up in this thread. For the record, I think he has written some fabulous lyrics that have played a key role in many of Rush's greatest songs! With this thread, I just wanted to point out that some of his lines (especially in New Rush) can have the quality of being emotionally removed from the subject matter at hand. I actually kind of enjoy this nerdy little idiosyncrasy of his. He doesn't worry about being cool and I like that. 


Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#7 grep

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 09:06 PM

You can't really put a message in a modem. It's not an envelope. Rather, the modem (or it's modern equivalent the Network Card) is an electro-mechanical device designed to facilitate the transfer of signals from and to another device.

Sort of like a telephone. In the case of a telephone, the other device seeking to transmit and receive is your head.

 

In the case of a modem(or network card), the device seeking to transmit or receive is another electronic  device. A fax modem, computer, or perhaps Amazon Alexa spying on your household.***

 

Let's assume the usage of a modem from a 1990's era computer:
What really happens is that when the send button is pressed, the software through functions provided by the OS and TCP stack use the modem to make a connection to the host mail server(be it AOL, Compuserve, or an actual internet mail service). Once the connection is established, the email message is broken down into packets and passed through the modem to the local network, then the internet, to be assembled at the mail server.

Discussion of what the mail server does with the assembled message is outside the scope of this discussion. Suffice to say that it's the mail server's job to figure out where to route the completed message to. It performs a similar lookup/connection function then breaks down the email into packets once again for transport to the destination in the Cyber-sea. Using similar mechanisms.

So the modem is less like an object that you can store something in before sending. It's more of a pipe in a series of pipes. Or tubes... Intertubes.

Roughly equivalent to how you're not really putting your guitar riffs in a microphone.


***Signal transmitted, message received, Amazon mining your personal conversations, positively.


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#8 chemistry1973

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 09:59 PM

There was some promo - or pseudo review I read ages ago that actually attempted to sell “Virtuality” as “tongue in cheek”.

#9 chemistry1973

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 10:00 PM

Ha ha, yeah he's not exactly Sting or anything.

I concur with the OP not just in the sense of being dry, but in terms of being didactic. He makes it clear that he knows (aka has strong opinions about) something that he will now teach you. Be it his vast understanding of women, the Environment, technology, or what have you. He's really too literal and spells out to much too specifically too. It's more like prose in poem form, and dry prose at that. He does have clever turns of phrase but he's really not terribly interesting.

Here are some lyricists that I find way more interesting and why:

The aforementioned Mr. Sting: Master at observing various aspects of the human condition and putting them very universally and poetically. One of the all-time best.

Frank Zappa: (What?! Hear me out. Also the source of "Mr. Sting" btw.) He is off-the-wall but pulls no punches in commenting on people and their weird behaviors, often sexual. Tells great stories. Example: Yellow Snow/Nanook/St Alfonzo - how many people can weave a tale like that that ultimately ends up telling it like it is about bored Catholic wives and altar-boy sexual abuse by priests? There are tons of such examples; everything from hippies to televangelists do not escape his attention or his wit.

Jagger/Richards: Sometimes it's just nonsense but some great stuff in there, works right with the music. Cf "You Can't Always Get What You Want" on the uplifting/transcendent tip, and "Bitch" on the "THIS is rock and roll" one. Special mention because Neil often made the point about how the Stones lacked integrity or whatever, but guess what, rock CAN be about the basest stuff and frankly often SHOULD be.

Peter Gabriel: Can get a little sappy but also a master at everything from visual/tactile imagery to social commentary, often at the same time. "Rhythm of the Heat" leaps to mind, and if "Biko" could be better I'd sure like to know how. "Digging In The Dirt" is another standout.

Adrian Belew: Everything from absurd to poignant. Compare how he treats observing the human condition in "People" to how Peart would for instance. "The Power To Believe" is basically one line with more about The Good Things About The Love Of A Woman than Peart could cram into a whole song and clumsily at that.

Warren Zevon.


Big points for including Belew in that mix. Interesting that many of the above have performed together.

#10 chemistry1973

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 10:02 PM

^^^ Haha. I wasn't expecting a Neil bashing tirade to turn up in this thread. For the record, I think he has written some fabulous lyrics that have played a key role in many of Rush's greatest songs! With this thread, I just wanted to point out that some of his lines (especially in New Rush) can have the quality of being emotionally removed from the subject matter at hand. I actually kind of enjoy this nerdy little idiosyncrasy of his. He doesn't worry about being cool and I like that.


There are 5 Rush songs that are stone cold brilliant in every aspect. Then there are 30 others that have great shit but with one glaring thing wrong with them...

#11 grep

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 10:32 PM

There are 5 Rush songs that are stone cold brilliant in every aspect. Then there are 30 others that have great shit but with one glaring thing wrong with them...

 

This sounds like it could be twerked into a survey question.


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#12 Slim

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 03:14 PM

I've never been a big fan of Neil's lyrics and he's nowhere near the standard, for me anyway, of writers I admire like Neil Finn, Sting, Polly Harvey, Yan Wilkinson. But in a genre where it's not unusual to encounter lyrics such as

 

She came on like a teaser

I had to touch and please her

 

.. you have to give him credit for at least coming up with thoughtful, intelligent stuff across an interesting range of themes.



#13 SJS

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 03:54 PM

I've never been a big fan of Neil's lyrics and he's nowhere near the standard, for me anyway, of writers I admire like Neil Finn, Sting, Polly Harvey, Yan Wilkinson. But in a genre where it's not unusual to encounter lyrics such as

 

She came on like a teaser

I had to touch and please her

 

.. you have to give him credit for at least coming up with thoughtful, intelligent stuff across an interesting range of themes.

 

Or these:

 

Oooh ooh I need some love

I said: I need some... love!

Oh yes I need some love.

This feeling I can't rise above.


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#14 SJS

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 03:56 PM

I would rank Neil among the best lyricists out there.  I appreciate his choice of themes, his striving for crafting of a good lyric, and his extensive vocabulary. 


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#15 chemistry1973

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 05:46 PM

This sounds like it could be twerked into a survey question.

Here’s a list of some not-quite-brilliant rush songs:

The Camera Eye - too long and repertetive and I cant get the image out of my head of someone doing bad interpretative dancing during the intro sections.

Vital Signs - this could have been a driving four on the floor rocker, and then someone over-thought the whole thing. Imagine the whole song with the beat of “truth hits everybody”...

The Trees - Stunning music. Mind bendingly awful lyrics and an unbelievably stupid attempt at a metaphor. I think Peart’s heavy drug period was likely 76-78.

Farewell to Kings - There is a great pop rock song in here - I love the melody. Lyrics are cool and punk rock. But the drums are ALL WRONG.

Test for Echo- Holy Shit - musically a triumph. This is a pure rush song. So pure that the lyrics are the worst and the singing is starting to feel cut and pastey. “Clutching at the straws of deniabilityyyyy”.
The whole record is like this.

#16 grep

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 05:49 PM

My uncle has a country place that magically hasn't been tagged in Google Earth, Zillow, or Realtor.com.

He says it used to be a farm, before the motor law. Well, it's pretty much still a farm. Because it's not tagged on Realtor no one has been interested in building a subdivision or a strip mall there. It's only a matter of time though before someone motors by and thinks it's a fine place for a Starbucks.

Future site of the Lerxtwood Mall!!

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#17 Slim

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 08:09 PM

The Motor Law is definitely going to be a thing. But we won't get air cars, I don't think.



#18 Slim

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 08:13 PM

I must admit I've never actually known what a subdivision is. A neighbourhood of recently-built houses? Or what?

 

The term "shopping mall" is in common English usage now and I think almost anyone would understand it, though I'd never encountered it in 1981. But "subdivision" means nothing to me. Sounds like something out of a maths text.



#19 Greg

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 08:35 PM

Subdivisions are what Americans (mostly) live in.  They are these horrific developments of cookie-cutter houses that are just about identical except for different window placements, which side the forward-facing garage is, siding materials and paint color.  Look on the back on the album, you'll see how bazillions of American neighborhoods look like.  It's a blight on the landscape, IMO.

 

As much as I am/was into Rush, the lyrics always were secondary.  If someone asks me what this song or that song is about, I would likely have a blank stare because I don't listen to music for lyrics.  I'm not oblivious to them, I listen to music for the percussion and rhythm section.  



#20 grep

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 08:42 PM

I've never been a big fan of Neil's lyrics and he's nowhere near the standard, for me anyway, of writers I admire like Neil Finn, Sting, Polly Harvey, Yan Wilkinson. But in a genre where it's not unusual to encounter lyrics such as

She came on like a teaser

I had to touch and please her


.. you have to give him credit for at least coming up with thoughtful, intelligent stuff across an interesting range of themes.

I imagine that an up and coming linguist does great things with her tongue. Very, um, articulate(d).

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