RUSH: 2. Caress of Steel (studio album #3)

[Note: this is a mirror of a previously posted article on my old blog, so I can keep this series together on the same blog.]

This is part of my journey through all of Rush’s many albums in the wake of our loss of Neil Peart (and, basically, our loss of Rush). My journey began here.

Caress of Steel is Rush’s 3rd Studio album, the 2nd album with the Peart/Lifeson/Lee trio, and the 1st album with lyrics entirely written by Peart.

I don’t really have a lot to say about this one. It’s perfectly fine, and they make some good music in there, but nothing on here really clicks for me, personally. Every bit of it sounds familiar, so I know I listened to it more than once, way back when. I found that I never replaced my Caress of Steel cassette when everything changed to CD’s, then iPods, then iPhones, so I just bought it again.

We’ve got a song about Bastille Day, a Kiss-inspired song about going bald, a song about a park in Ontario where Peart once worked. Even trying to listen carefully and be fully present, my mind keeps wandering off while listening to all of these.

“The Fountain of Lamneth” takes up a whole album side and sounds like it’s got a lot going on. I can grok part of it, listening to it in the car without the lyrics in front of me. Sometimes, I can understand what Lee is singing and can glean meaning from the sound of the music itself. There’s a lot of it I’m not following/understanding, though. This would be the time to sit down and listen to it again with the lyrics in front of me if I’m ever going to. I don’t like the way the sound of the song makes me feel, though, and I don’t really feel a need to linger here.

Then we have “The Necromancer,” which is a song in three parts, and Biter makes a re-appearance! The first part feels very Pink Floyd-y, but I’ve already got plenty of actual Pink Floyd. The second part is a lot Rush-ier. The third part made me actually laugh out loud because the lyrics and the music seem a bit mis-matched. The music build up at the beginning of part 3 (Return of the Prince) had me picturing a big grassy flower-filled field with frolicking hippies, and then the lyrics chime in with “Stealthily attacking, By-Tor slays his foe!” ….Okay! I guess I can add this to my list of Upbeat Songs About Death. Whack for my daddy-o, there’s whiskey in the jar-o?

Let’s talk about whisky! Whiskey. Scotch.

I’m slowly making my way through Ghost Rider, and Peart frequently mentions enjoying “measures of The Macallan.” Hmm, I think to myself. Maybe I’ll stop by Spec’s and see if they have The Macallan in their tiny sampler bottles, so I can see what Neil Peart’s favored whisky tastes like! Let me check online whether they carry it.

THAT’S A BIG BAG OF “NOPE!”

Okay, scrolling down the page, there are a ton of varieties of Macallan whisky, and most of them are pretty affordable.

I thought about being That Guy for some poor Spec’s employee by just asking them straight out “Which Macallan is Neil Peart’s favorite?” … because those folks at Spec’s know EVERYTHING right? I googled instead, and found that he drank The Macallan 12.

And BOOM! Look what I found right there among the tiny whiskeys!

SCORE!

So when I get to be less sick, and get some of my sense of smell back, and start to feel like alcohol might be something I should put in my body again, I’ll give it a try and see how it tastes!

But, right. Caress of Steel.

Thank you, disappointed record company folks, for getting over yourselves and for giving Rush more chances to find their sound and really come into their own after this album with its disappointing sales and tour turnout.

Goodbye, Neil.

Friends, what did this album mean to you?

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