The Canadian power trio Rush is just about the most unhip thing you could possibly listen to. You could listen to the “Cats” soundtrack or the Pat Boone Christmas album and pretend you’re doing so ironically, and you might even get a few people to believe you. But put on some Rush at a party, and most of the noses in the room will prune with disgust, as if to say, “Who farted?”

Rush is one of my favorite bands, and the amount of shit I’ve had to take over the years for it has not been small.

“How can you listen to that shit?” many people would ask me.

“Why does Geddy Lee sing that way?” they would inquire.

“When Neil Peart wrote the lyrics to ‘Free Will,’ was it from the narrative point of view of some kind of android, like ‘Mr. Roboto?’” went one curious well-wisher.

Despite the nuisance of having to listen to other people’s unsolicited opinions, I have always found that the rewards of listening to Rush far outweigh risks. I love them in a very naïve, teenage boy kind of a way, even though I’m pushing 50 and my decrepit body will probably blow away like a pile of ashes the next time someone coughs on me.

It doesn’t matter. Despite the looming shadow of bursitis, rheumatism and various other physical ailments that plague those in their autumn years, I still air drum to Rush and get all giddy when I hear their music. I’m not sure the people who listen to Boards of Canada get the same thing out of it.

As with any other band that’s been popular for decades, Rush has a bunch of songs that get played on the radio relentlessly. Some of them deserve it and some of them don’t. The execrable 1991 song “Roll the Bones,” for example, is a miserable abortion of a song that deserved to be subjected to a good dilation and extraction procedure, followed by having its quivering remains harvested for financial gain.

Despite this less-than-perfect batting average, there are many Rush songs that are as good as the band gets, and which don’t receive a fraction of the attention that they deserve. To remedy this sorry state of affairs, The Z Review presents this list of the top ten most underrated Rush songs.

Please enjoy, and always remember, what you own is your own kingdom, what you do is your own glory, what you love is your own power, what you live is your own story.

“The Necromancer” from Caress of Steel

“Something for Nothing” from 2112

“Xanadu” from A Farewell to Kings

“Circumstances” from Hemispheres

“Jacob’s Ladder” from Permanent Waves

“Witch Hunt” from Moving Pictures

“Chemistry” from Signals

“Losing It” from Signals

“The Body Electric” from Grace Under Pressure

“Secret Touch” from Vapor Trails

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…And all the goodies in our Entertainment  and Features sections!

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About Author

Daniel Bukszpan is a freelance writer with over 20 years' experience. He has written for such publications as Fortune, CNBC and The Daily Beast. He is the author of “The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal,” published in 2003 by Barnes and Noble and “The Encyclopedia of New Wave,” published in 2012 by Sterling Publishing.

31 Comments

  1. Second Nature
    Need Some Love
    A Farewell To Kings
    Vital Signs
    Between Sun & Moon
    Middletown Dreams
    Chemistry
    Totem
    Freeze
    Spindrift

      • Perhaps I’m alone, but I’ve always loved Open Secrets from Hold your Fire album. Anyone?

        “Folks are basically decent, conventional wisdom would say…. but we read about the exception, in the paper everyday”…Yes – Second Nature is good as well.

        Thanks the reminder.

  2. HOW DARE YOU!! Vomit verbal abuses upon my most FAVORITE of RUSH album title songs!!
    That, you monster, is my most favorite ALBUM of ALL RUSH ALBUMS. …and you have no respect for it’s title composition. The NERRRVE!
    In the words of REN HOEK : “YOU,…YOU W WUUUUUUURRRRRRMMMMMM”!!! 😉😐

  3. Love The Necromancer and Losing It.. Great choices!! For me I would have Cinderella Man for the great diverse sounds and production and crazy ass lead break (typical Rush) and Entre Nous, like Jacobs Ladder, just so out of left field. The chorus
    just between us I think it’s time for us to recognize the differences we sometimes fear to show just between us I think it’s time for us to realize the spaces in between leave room for you and I to grow.. Always been an inspiration for me in any type of relationship.. So moving to me and heartfelt like the end of Hemispheres The Sphere a kind of dream.. sometimes makes me teary eyed but, don’t yell anyone
    The Camera Eye.. Honorable mention.

    • I understand what the author is saying about Rush in the perspective of the listener, but if you have not ever listened to them before, the average casual listener of Rush,and not the current crop of millennials, or late to the party baby boomers, who never grew up listening to them… I knew a guy that I worked with at a former job, who absolutely had nothing but bad things to say about Rush as a band, but praised every other group, that basically came out of the same era, basically contemporaries of the band… although I am still a fan, and always will be, there are some songs that I’m not a fan of, and don’t gravitate towards when I am listening to the CDs or on YouTube. Their musicianship excels and surpasses most bands today for sure, but their playing on their respective instruments, far surpasses most groups of any era, especially the one that they were most popular in, and constituted the majority of their heyday… plain and simple, they are great band that I grew up with… who I was turned on to buy a buddy when we were teenagers… I listen to a few modern bands, but I always return to the classics….

  4. Douglas W Vernon on

    Not a bad list but you should have included greats like digital man and making memories, beneath between & behind, Anthem, stuff like that.

  5. Huge fan of all the songs you posted! Necromancer is one of my faves but Secret Touch is on my “juice” list, meaning it juices me up with energy. I’m a vocalist and found it in karaoke one time. I was giddy to sing it! Well said all the way sir.

  6. Rush musically and lyricly to me are above most bands and anyone who turns thier nose up at rush has no musical taste. I love classic rock and some new rock but most bands today don’t have an ounce of originality. I have my favorite favorite rush songs but they are all my favorite.

  7. Underrated rush songs:
    Countdown
    Fountains of Lamneth
    Circumstances
    Bu2b
    Vital signs
    Twighlight zone
    And pretty much almost anything off presto

  8. Obviously op-eds about the arts are as misguided as a liberal, Marxist paradise. But “unhip” is about as stupid a phrase as one can imagine. Only the super cool are uber Rush fanatics. By the way, cool and hip belong together, just to clarify for the “unhip” writer.

  9. We all have an opinion and that’s the only excuse I can find for this article. All ten of my most under rated Rush songs would be different. Article was horrible and choices very weak. I question how much of a Rush fan this writer really is. This article scores a 1 out of 10.

    • Douglas W Vernon on

      Actually, Jim.. YOU are not a true Rush fan. No Rush fan would say something so heartless for another fan’s opinion. While I disagree with some of the selections here, some are VERY worthy and would be in my list as well, as a matter of fact, here’s MY opinion for you to spit at you heartless bastard:

      Here Again
      the NECROMANCER
      Losing it
      Digital Man
      The entire B side of Caress of Steel
      All Hemispheres
      Natural Science
      Between the Wheels
      Marathon
      Neurotica
      and I could go on and on and on, but those are some of the better written of the available selection.

  10. Roll the Bones.. Absolutely love it. It was that song, Freewill and Tom Sawyer that got me addicted and since then no turning back. Every single song they made is underrated… Your list is fine. My top 10 underrated as follows:
    Mission
    The Pass
    Prime Mover
    Turn the Page
    Anagram
    Available Light
    Presto
    Marathon
    Hand Over Fist
    Afterimage
    The Analog Kid
    Kid Gloves
    OK that is 12? Sorry need at least 20… Pretty much every single song on every album in 80s has a very special place in my heart. From Signals to Presto… I love it all, but I think the lyrics from that era really speak to me.

  11. There’s no ‘bad’ music in the world, only ‘different’ (ref. BoC and Rush-both of whom are IMHO great).
    Now, your list is good, however you’ve missed off ‘Different Strings’. The day they do that in concert, Hell will surely freeze over….

  12. I listen to BOC as much as I listen to Rush. Both are in my top five and I enjoy collecting them on vinyl and listening to them both on my old 1970’s Pioneer stereo – as well as air drumming to both bands. Great list! Jacob’s Ladder and Witch Hunt are two of my very favorites. I would add Subdivisions and almost any song from Power Windows.

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