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Roll the Bones

4.2 out of 5 stars 198 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

For thirty years, Rush has been one of the biggest rock bands in the world, filling arenas, selling tens of millions of albums & playing songs with which a generation of rock fans came of age. They are currently celebrating this remarkable anniversary with another record-breaking sold out world tour & their brand new collection of classic cover songs, Feedback. And, to further mark this milestone, &, to further mark this milestone, the band's classic 1991 Atlantic studio album has now been completely remastered.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 31, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B0002NRQU2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,793 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Stack VINE VOICE on March 23, 2005
Format: Audio CD
"Roll the Bones", to my ears, represents the first time in a long time that all the elements of the band are coming together-- after experimenting with softer sounds and cleaner tones on the last couple records, and synth-driven rock before that, Rush seems to have found a good balance with "Roll the Bones". With Lee's confident vocal delivery supported by unparallel musicianship, great songs, great lyrics, and (finally!) great arrangements, Rush has turned out an album as good as the work they'd done ten years beforehand.

A trend with Rush albums is that they seem to be putting the songs I enjoy the most right up at the front of the album, "Dreamline", opening this one, is no exception-- what a great song, churning verses breaking into a driving chorus, blazing guitar solo, its a song born to be listened to rolling down the highway (likely a bit too fast at that...). The band shifts gears into the rolling grooves of "Bravado", a great minor key ballad, clearly showing how much better they'd gotten at this form than on "Presto". Following this up is one of the more interesting cuts on any Rush album, the title track, "Roll the Bones". Funky rhythms, synth hits, interspersed acoustic guitars and a bizarre rap make this one totally unique in the Rush catalog. Its a lot of fun-- this is an element of the band that started to emerge at this point, the fact they COULD have fun, but beyond that, its a great piece, stellar vocals, and a compulsively funky bassline accentuated by great playing from Lifeson and Peart.

So this was a pretty golden start, the album does kind of drift after this-- similar to the Rush albums of old, none of the material is really bad, it just doesn't grab you-- "Face Up", "Where's My Thing?
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Format: Audio CD
In many ways Presto and Roll The Bones are sonic sisters of sorts, which isn't too surprising given that both albums share the production values instilled two years prior by the likes Rupert Hine, much like Kiss' Rock And Roll Over and Love Gun share sonic similarities under Eddie Kramer. Like that example, the former is again the stronger effort of the two, despite the band's utter gush and glow for Bones.

That said, I think Roll The Bones is a bit unfairly maligned by many fans. I don't think it's the worst Rush album to date and I can't possibly see why anyone would rather listen to the debut over this album on the whole, but that's just me. That said, outside my bias against the first four Rush albums (yes, including the beloved 2112), I think it's the weakest of Rush's releases since the band found their first solid stride with A Farewell To Kings in `77, so as not to lavish too much praise on this record. In fact it's quite the mish-mash of the good, the bad, and the downright fugly.

While Bones may not contain anything as specifically off-putting as Dog Years, it arguably contains a fair share of head-scratching selections. Face Up is clearly one of the least interesting songs the band has ever done, lyrically and melodically lazy throughout. You Bet Your Life doesn't sweeten the deal a whole lot, although admittedly its creative choral hook isn't bad, even if it's a bit Billy Joel-esque. Neurotica is the most promising of the questionable lot, especially musically. However, the vocal melody does nothing for me and the chorus is a "whoa-whoa-ing" mess. Add to this their historically least-compelling (and most appropriately inquisitive) instrumental Where's My Thing? and we're four songs down already.
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Format: Audio CD
This album seems to be slagged off by many people and I don't really understand why. Rush has only done what many other true artists have done, which is grow and evolve. On here Rush returns to progressive hard rock with less synths, and the songs are mostly around the 5 minute mark. Every track on here is great, but my personal favorite is "Heresy", featuring ethereal vocal overdubs and soundscapes which is trademark Rush at their finest. Also worth checking out: "Where's My Thing", Rush returning to instrumentals. Not as flashy as YYZ or La Villa, but still great and refreshing to hear. The title track, which reminds me of something John Lennon could have written for some reason. "The Big Wheel", and "Ghost of A Chance" also, but everything on here is excellent as I've said earlier.

I can't find much, if anything, wrong with this album. It's just a prime example of a band that's grown and evolved and I'm personally pleased with the results.
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Format: Audio CD
I am getting tired of people rating recent Rush albums based on their past works. Without question, the past albums such as Hemispheres and Moving Pictures were fantastic, but my goodness, GET OVER THEM when reviewing more recent Rush efforts! No band that I know of spans the generations more effectively than Rush, so why hold them to their past? That said, Roll the Bones represents yet another groundbreaking effort by the group. That's why they appeal to so many; always willing to try something different, expanding their own musical talents while smirking at the mainstream music buerocracy. . . . a true indication of a band still in their prime; confident, aware, and powerful. The title tune, Roll the Bones, is wonderful and, in my opinion, cautiously happy -- saying "Live, dammit!" and not waste time wondering why we're here or how we got here. More than previously, this album seems to communicate 'follow your dreams,' and the band is doing JUST THAT. Can you imagine what we'd get if the guys themselves decided, "Well you know, 'Where's My Thing' is good, but its just not The Necromancer, so lets scrap it."? So appreciate them for now while they're still with us.
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