Mr Geddy Lee (though not really) (mrgeddylee) wrote,
Mr Geddy Lee (though not really)
mrgeddylee

Subdivisions


It may be just my personal Rush history, but the opening keyboard chords for this song feel somehow archetypal for me, as though Geddy didn't so much write them as discover them. Even when the guitar comes in, the effect is seamless and laid back, very much unlike the choppiness of "Tom Sawyer." The drums, too, punctuate the flow without interrupting. Only at 0:44 do we get so much as a hint of rock.

It's only a hint, because the first verse still comes off very cool, collected, analytic. Of course, any adult talking about being a teenager has to sound analytic; it's that or just start shouting incoherently. Still, for me, the fun begins with the bass riff at 1:44, as we go into the chorus. Finally, with the bass going, I sense real musical similarity to the band that wrote "Vital Signs," especially at 2:04 when we get into "any escape..."

Neil once again exceeds my vocabulary. Any drummer could fake it and a casual audience might never notice, but for people who really listen, the absence of a simple repeating pattern jumps out. Anyone can grasp a piece of the puzzle, but few can hold the whole pattern in their heads.

In the second verse the drums show up a lot more, and I welcome that change. It gives the music a restless energy that perfectly suits the lyrics about the energy of the living night. I especially like the drum accents at 3:14, when Geddy sings about rats and traps. You want ticking, you get ticking!

After that, we go into the final chorus, and then at 4:18 the solo. It's a perfectly competent Rush solo, with all the usual ingredients, but for me it doesn't stand out from the crowd. Really, it's hard for me to write about this song because I encountered it very early in my fandom, and thought it was awesome, and then I went through that bitter Rush vet phase where I grumbled about how they don't make them like "Xanadu" anymore, and then I got over it but it was never quite the same, and then I, and then I... and also, being a basshead, I have to resent the keyboard-heavy sound of this song. I will give it this distinction: it's the best Rush song I habitually fast forward past.

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  • 4 comments

_earthshine_

November 4 2011, 02:32:30 UTC 5 years ago Edited:  November 4 2011, 02:33:35 UTC

I missed a few of these posts, but was totally selfishly relieved to see that you got sparse on LJ not long after i did, so i consequently didn't miss much. I may go back on comment on the last few tunes from Moving Pictures, but i won't let my OCD stop me from picking up now. (That album is so over-talked anyway.)

I'm mostly here to say i'm still hangin' with ya -- or at least trying to.

Re the tune itself, i second your comment about the drums. It was actually only relatively recently -- like a couple of years ago -- that the genius of this song's drum part struck me (no pun intended). Neil has something like 6 or 8 distinct patterns he uses throughout the song -- maybe more -- and then throws in fills and variations on top of them producing a sum total result that would make a drum machine programmer hang himself.

Subdivisions isn't my favorite song on this record, but it's not one i skip -- especially cuz dropping the needle on anything but the start of a side is a pain. ;)


Oh, and one other note:

I went through that bitter Rush vet phase where I grumbled about how they don't make them like "Xanadu" anymore, and then I got over it

I'm still not sure i'm over it.


Welcome back. :)
These are the only posts I still make here. I wanted to have some way for people to go back and view them all, or subscribe just to these via RSS, and other systems don't have tags. For everything else, though, I now post to Google+.
Ah, okay. Well, i'm glad the project continues, and i, for one, am glad it's still on LJ. I'm tempted to try Google+ in the eternally-springing hope that it's the terminal system that will somehow prevent the need for further migrations, but i know that's a lot to hope for, so for now i'm holding off. I'm sure that, eventually, i'll need to follow the crowd once again just to able to keep in touch with people. I'll deal with it then. :)
Glad you got back to this, man!