When it goes rock, it rocks hard. Ged drives the melody while Alex runs circles around it, echoing it and then contributing his own licks in the margins. Of course, the guitar doesn't get to have all the fun. I had to listen hard for it but sometimes, when Alex goes high, Geddy goes low. I like low.
By 1:25 they move into the song's signature groove, a perfect accompaniment to the joy in Geddy's voice when he sings "ride like the wind." I love playing that section and seeing it played. Sometimes I need to be reminded that music doesn't just shock, awe, or emotionally move the listener; it's also a lot of plain old fun.
Into the second verse, the basic concept remains the same, but now the band really let it all hang out. I marvel at Senor Lee's ability to play and sing at the same time. In some songs the words and music go together smoothly and you only need to have one clock in your head, but for this song, you need total independence of voice and hands. The way he sings "strip away the old debris," in a totally unhurried tone, ought to be at odds with the liquid-quick bass line, but somehow Geddy brings them together. The switch to playing triplets at 2:23 weeds out the weaker cover bands just in time for the next movement.
I give props to Alex for playing a simple, rocking part here. Let the song sell itself. By 2:58 they go back to something a little more ornate, but musically as well as lyrically, this song celebrates the simpler, visceral pleasures, and not letting people take them from you. The man rocks when he wants to rock, and only then. Hey, guitar solo! Nice tone, bro.
After another repetition of that main groove I mentioned before, and then at 3:54 we're into the next verse. This time Neil really brings it. The time remains 4:4 and nobody would hurt themselves trying to rock out to it, but the guy plays like he has more hands than your stereotypical Indian deity. I can barely fathom the drum part at 4:18. I may be imposing my own idea on the song, but I think the music follows the action brilliantly. Earlier, the music and drive were leisurely, but now, as our driver runs for his life, the band play their asses off. I was pondering trying to tie 4:4 time into the action of a four stroke engine, but I think I'll quit while I'm ahead.
The plot wraps up at 5:06, and then we get the longest denouement I can recall in a rock song. For almost a full minute, Alex plays harmonics and Geddy noodles around in that casual better-than-me way that I hate to love so damn much.
So yeah, I love this song. Someone buy me a Ferrari, or maybe a Caterham 7. I'll take you all for rides in it, I promise.