Why is Rush’s Moving Pictures on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Great hard rock with just the right touch of prog rock-y flair.
What does Rush’s Moving Pictures mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
I am perfectly content to admit that Rush and Moving Pictures has gone up over the years, in my estimation, merely by association with two of my favorite things of all time. Both are dramedies. One is a movie and one is a TV show.
The movie is Adventureland, one of the best movies of all time that hardly anyone has seen (seriously). The cast is lousy with both current and future stars/superstars (Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hader, Margarita Levieva, Kristen Wiig) and some of the best character actors in the biz (there are a ton, but I’ll start and stop with Martin Starr, whom I will watch in anything). It’s a perfect coming-of-age movie that mostly takes place during a post-collegiate summer at a rundown amusement park in 1987, and I love every little thing about it.
There’s a scene where word is out among park employees that Em (Kristen Stewart) is both single and “likes musicians.” Well, one dude – who is both a drummer and super into Rush – takes this opportunity to make his big move via air drumming and scat-singing “Limelight.” (Spoiler: doesn’t go well!)
“Limelight” has a great, late 1970s hard rock feel to it with a little prog rock-y flair to set it apart from the pack.
The TV show is Togetherness, one of the best TV shows of all time that hardly anyone has seen (seriously). The premise is very basic. A couple (played by Mark Duplass and Melanie Lynskey) has a great house and lifestyle in LA, but their marriage is struggling. To shake things up further, circumstances have the guy’s best friend (Steve Zissis) and gal’s sister (Amanda Peet) move in. Hilarity and drama spring out of tiny, realistic moments in only the way that the Duplass brothers can do (Mark and Jay Duplass are the co-creators).
The acting and writing is absolutely inspired, and I’m still broken up that Togetherness was canceled after two seasons.
Onward to Rush: the boys are having a bad night, both in the moment and existentially, when Duplass’ character pulls over and explains something to Zissis’ character.
“This song is called Tom Sawyer, and it is about a magical, amazing and inspired person who lifts the spirits of everyone around him by the very nature of who he is. Tom Sawyer never needs to be embarrassed. Okay?”
“Tom Sawyer” comes on, loudly, the synchronized air drumming begins (because of course), and the fellas proceed to rock the [REDACTED] out.
It’s a great choice too because “Tom Sawyer” is by far Rush’s best song. It has an epic, expansive feel without tipping over into arena rock excess. I’ll admit that I’ve never been quite the Rush fan that I perhaps “should” given my interest in classic rock and hard rock, and one of the reasons is that singer Geddy Lee’s voice simply isn’t quite my cup of tea. But it works perfectly well on “Tom Sawyer,” while overall from top to bottom it kicks… some bottom.
Some stats & info about Rush – Moving Pictures
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Hard Rock, Prog Rock, Album Rock, Canadian Bands
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #379
- All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
- When was Moving Pictures released? 1981
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #831 out of 1,000
Rush’s Moving Pictures on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.