From Rush to R30 - A listening retrospective: Hemispheres

Hemispheres carries on where A Farewell to Kings leaves off, with "Cygnus X-1: Book II", an 18+ minute description of the battles between the heart and mind. Say what you will about Neil's writing, but he makes it a compelling tale. The music is ably done, and before I know it, the song is complete, and moves to the next track: Circumstances. Apparently the lyrics for this song were written during a low point in England when Neil was a bit homesick, and tired of the tour. The Trees is one of the most recognizable songs from Rush, with it's moral tale of the trees in the forest trying to work out their differences, only to have the great mediator (the saw) bring them all down to size. The final track on this disc is "La Villa Strangiato", which is one of my favorite Rush instrumentals, and also weighs in at a hefty 9 minutes.

Hemispheres may not be the first album I'd pick up on a Rush Binge, but it's one of the more enjoyable listens. I remember getting this tape back in high school, and fell in love with it right away. This album finds Rush still defining their sound, and still on top of their game with no signs of ever slowing down.