“Retrospective 2 (1981-1987)” by Rush

Artist: Rush
Title: “Retrospective 2 (1981-1987)
Label: Atlantic Records
Release Date: 6/3/1997
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 4/5

Picking up where “Retrospective” chapter 1 left off comes Rush’s “Retrospective 2” and while the first compilation covered the bands first seven studio releases, this one continues the process by presenting the listener with material from the next five albums that the band delivered. Our first chapter covered the years 1974-1980 and one cannot argue about the prolific material that Rush released during this time. Part 2 delivers years 1981 through 1987 and essentially this becomes a tasting platter of the tunes one would find on the bands “Moving Pictures” through “Hold Your Fire” albums. Similar to how we referenced the first chapter of this issue, it might be fine for the Rush novice but something utterly pointless for the diehard acolyte of the band material. Given that this album features tracks from “Moving Pictures”, I cannot imagine any fan not wanting to experience that album in full. I say this because it was my own very first exposure to the band and while a little later than some of my friends its impact resonated for decades as I continued to support their musical efforts as well as digging heavily into the records that preceded it. With only five albums to cover for this compilation it was a bit easier for them to include more numbers that set the Rush fans into frenzy more so than part one, and with the staple classics from the band being longer tunes it was a very tricky undertaking I am sure. Of course every collection leaves off something that one fan here or there will demand publicly as an outrage for finding excluded but in the end at least these two Rush collection left off the “missing” or “new” track that we find as filler on many other greatest hits compilations.

This album is perfect for those fans who began their own Rush journey around the same time as I did with “Moving Pictures” but like myself, I hope that it sends them back into the earlier and more historic material. They scrimped again on the booklet and this one like its predecessor only features the album art which makes that aspect of it rather cheap. I would have loved to see historical liner notes being focused on each particular timeframe as opposed to nothing. My view is that the Rush completist will want this for the collection or to leave at the office or the car. Perhaps even offer up as a gift to the growing musical mind of a younger fan. Either way, if you like a particular era of the band then these two releases gives you the choice of your preference and if you take them as a mere overview of a lengthy career they do the trick. Otherwise you should just stick to the full albums which are all available in remastered form at the time of this writing.

Track Listing:
1. The Big Money
2. Red Barchetta
3. Subdivisions
4. Time Stand Still
5. Mystic Rhythms
6. The Analog Kid
7. Distant Early Warning
8. Marathon
9. The Body Electric
10. Mission
11. Limelight
12. Red Sector A
13. New World Man
14. Tom Sawyer
15. Force Ten

Official Website: www.rush.com

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