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Rush's Pop Album...But It's Not Bad
on January 13, 2013
1987's "Hold Your Fire" is easily the most controversial album Rush ever released. It's very poppy, very 80's in it's sound, LOTS of keyboards and synths, no real trace of the band's earlier progressive rock anywhere, and the music is the most radio-friendly platter of tunes the Canadian power-trio have ever made. "Hold Your Fire" is probably the only album in Rush's catalog that your grandmother would probably enjoy, too. This is Rush's "pop" album, no doubt about it. Is this really the same band that gave us Moving Pictures, 2112, etc.?
However, I don't say any of that to slam the album. "Hold Your Fire" is actually a very good, very solid Rush album, with some very good songs on it, as well as top-notch musicianship from the Rush men, as always. But somehow, it's just not as powerful as their earlier stuff, with the band basically playing it safe on this one. The album lacks....well, fire. Maybe that's why they called it "Hold Your Fire"? Still, "Force Ten", "Open Secrets", "Lock And Key", the single "Time Stands Still", and "High Water" are all quite good standout tracks, and the rest of the album works well enough. Geddy Lee's bass-playing, keyboard flourishes (and there's lots of those), and vocals all hit the spot, Alex Lifeson, while somewhat underused here, still fires off some great guitar riffs, and Neil Peart is still a force of nature on the drumkit. Its just somewhat disappointing that the songs still lack "punch" of some sort. In other words, it ain't bad at all, but Rush have done better music than this.
But unspectacular Rush is still better to listen to than lots of the music out there. And besides, it was 1987 when Rush made this. MTV was in full swing, and Rush were trying to fit in with it all by making a commercial-sounding, radio-friendly album, and such is "Hold Your Fire". But there's still some good, enjoyable stuff to be found on this. And...the album cover is really cool too, don't ya think? Love that solid red cover, with the three red balls standing out front. Really cool eye candy....So, in the end, "Hold Your Fire', while not the best of Rush, is still a very good album on its own. Worth getting if you're a diehard Rush fan, but please set your expectations a little lower on this one.