Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Neil Peart and Love

This latest Rush album,
Snakes and Arrows, is hitting me. The music is great: Geddy's voice is only getting better with age, and his bass work is subtle and understated, his tone trebly. Lifeson's guitars are rich and varied; lots of acoustic and 12 string. Peart's drums and cymbals are sublime. He really is one of the best ever.

Yet is the lyrics which are really making me listen. The album really seems to be about spirituality. I wrote about "Workin' them Angels" in my last post, but other bits have popped up.

On the song "Faithless" Peart makes his strongest statement about his spirituality:
I don't have faith in faith
I don't believe in belief
You can call me faithless
You can call me faithless
All this is sung with an earnestness (not by Peart, but by Geddy*) that sounds very spiritual. It has the classic soaring quality that Rush do achieve so often, yet there is a tenderness that is not tinged with mawkishness. It sounds like a decision that has been only made through many triumphs and loses. Yet it sounds to me as if the loses won.
I still cling to hope
And I believe in love
And that's faith enough for me
To essentially the same music we then are told the above. Geddy alters his vocal melody to show the real glimmer. The few tones difference is the difference between losing and winning. Love is indeed great.
But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three;
and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 RV
For a Christian, it is difficult to separate love from God.
God is love;
and he who abides in love,
abides in God,
and God abides in him.
1 John 4:16
In the song "Ghost of a Chance" from Roll the Bones (1991), Peart has this to say about faith and love:
I don't believe in destiny
Or the guiding hand of fate
I don't believe in forever
Or love as a mystical state
He is essentially saying the same thing, but now (16 years later) love has a "higher status". I would still say he doesn't see a mystical side of love, but now he believes in it. The difference is profound, and the music reflects this. In 1991, the music is smooth and controlled. In 2007, it has become ragged and more human. It also sounds more spiritual.

*An interesting side issue: I am not sure of Geddy's religious beliefs. I know his parents survived being in a concentration camp. If he is a religious man, how would he feel singing those words?

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