Rush: Roll the Bones

Roll the Bones was the second Rush album that I got right around the time of release (the first was Presto, which I got in college right around the same time as I made friends with Carl at Holland CD.) If memory serves it was also the tour that I saw twice: once at The Palace and once at Pine Knob. I remember Primus opening for them at the Palace and thinking that Primus went for more of their deeper catalog for this crowd. It was a good show, though. I also seem to remember Mr. Big opening at Pine Knob but I'm having a hard time corroborating that. Regardless, they were good shows for a very strong album.

The overall theme is about taking chances in life and being OK with the results. "Dreamline" has always been a favorite track and is one that appeared a lot in the ensuing set-lists. "Bravado" is about not giving up in the face of adversity and failure (a topic near and dear to my heart). "Roll the Bones" is a track that I've always found a bit goofy, including the rap part. Frankly I'm just happy they had fun with that track. "Face Up" is a recurring theme of "do I have what it takes to keep going?" and finding solace in recharging one's batteries. The first side closes out with the instrumental "Where's My Thing? (Part IV, 'Gangster of Boats' Trilogy")", which is an inside joke. From Wikipedia: "[Gangster of Boats is] referring to an inside joke where Lee and Lifeson threatened to name a Rush album Gangster of Boats if Peart ever had difficulty coming up with a title, as well as the joke that it's the fourth part of a trilogy". "The Big Wheel" for me is about the uncertainty of childhood and wondering if you're doing the right things to fit in, and the dichotomy of innocence and experience. "Heresy" is a reaction to the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the U.S.S.R.r; a hauntingly beautiful piece that asks "now what?" and wonders how to forgive the terrible costs that were accrued both by the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. during the cold war. "Ghost of a Chance" is the rare love song by Neil Peart addressing the compromises of making a relationship work. "Neurotica" is again about the indecision that plagues us and just taking a chance. This is also another instance of Neil playing with rhymes for Neurotica (Excotica, Erotica, Psychotica, Hypnotica, and Chaotica). "You Bet Your Life" is about the consequences of our choices and that we all have to take chances along the way.

I don't tend to listen to this album too often but when I do I listen to the whole album. It's from a special period of my life where new Rush albums were coming out with semi-regularity and I had something that could bond me to other Rush fans. I also had a poster of the cover (which I foolishly used poster-putty on. Never, ever use that stuff on things you care about).

New Rush album on Monday. Stay tuned.