Rush – Headlong Flight (Single)

RUSH was probably the first band I ever really got into. ‘Moving Pictures’ was the first record I ever bough, and one of the first ‘big’ shows I ever went to was RUSH. Bottom line; this is a band who earned my love years ago, and regardless of what could ever happen in the future, they have made some of my favourite albums in rock music. Going strong for the better part of half a century, RUSH may also be distinguished by the fact that they have not given up their pursuit of inspired, powerful, and most importantly, relevant music. ‘Clockwork Angels’ is RUSH’s nineteenth album since their debut in ’74, and when I heard the first couple of tracks from the album about a year or so ago, I was all the more excited. While ‘Caravan’ and ‘BU2B’ only stoked the fires of my excitement, this ‘single’ tends to work the opposite direction.

‘Headlong Flight’ is a seven minute track with lyrics apparently concerning the band looking back on their career nostalgically. Although this has all of the potential to be something great, ‘Headlong Flight’ feels aimless and lacking the conviction I would hope and normally expect from RUSH. RUSH have lost none of their instrumental talent; after a superfluous spacey intro, the drums erupt and it’s made clear that the holy triumvirate have lost none of their skill. Although RUSH have been pursuing a more modern rock oriented style in recent albums, the guitar work often alludes to earlier points in their career, specifically the tones of their golden prog era. Whether this is simply meant to fit the theme of the song or more indicative of the album as a whole, it seems like an unfair goad in the case of ‘Headlong Flight’. The sounds are here, but the songwriting is not; the instrumentation is well managed and very rock-oriented, but the vocal melodies overtop feel like they were thrown together in a matter of minutes.

Although the instrumentation of RUSH is as strong as ever, Geddy Lee’s voice seems to have taken a toll. Although I am of the belief that his matured voice has given him some of his best ever vocal performances, it’s clear that the cannot sing the ‘high notes’ with as much conviction. While I have always appreciated his voice in the past, Lee and RUSH as a whole now have we wondering if ‘Clockwork Angels’ will be the excellence that ‘Caravan’ suggested it is, or something like this; nostalgic, functional, yet uninspired.


1. Headlong Flight (7:20)


* Geddy Lee – vocals, bass and keyboards
* Alex Lifeson – guitars
* Neil Peart – drums and percussion


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