Drive Time Selections: Where I pick a random release from my collection and perform a close listening, or as close of one as I can achieve while driving to and from work🙂
Release:Roll the Bones
Label:Anthem / Atlantic
- Roll the Bones
- Face Up
- Where’s My Thing
- The Big Wheel
- Ghost of a Chance
- You Bet Your Life
Roll the Bones is the fourteenth studio album by Canadian rock band Rush, released in 1991. It was recorded at Le Studio in Morin-Heights, Quebec and McClear Place in Toronto, Ontario with Rupert Hine returning as producer. The album won the 1992 Juno Award for best album cover design. Roll the Bones became Rush’s first US Top 5 album since 1981’s Moving Pictures, peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200. It also achieved an RIAA certification of platinum, the latest Rush album to date to do so.
From a lyrical perspective, 1991’s Roll the Bones is quite possibly Rush’s darkest album (most of the songs deal with death in no uncertain terms), but from a musical point of view, the record treads territory (highbrow melodic hard rock) similar to its recent predecessors, with only a few surprises thrown in for good measure. These include an amusing rap section in the middle of the title track, a welcome return to instrumentals with “Where’s my Thing?,” and one of the band’s finest songs of the ’90s in the gutsy “Dreamline.” “Neurotica” is another highlight which lives up to its title, and though their negative subject matter can feel stifling at times, fine tracks like “Bravado,” “The Big Wheel,” and “Heresy” feature wonderful melodies and arrangements.
More so than most other groups, Rush had spent the late eighties and early nineties attempting to balance out the more organic elements of their music with the electronic ones (as well as attempting to recapture the artistic success of “Moving Pictures”), and achieving that balance rather nicely, albeit inconsistently. While more than a few brilliant examples of said synergy exists on releases such as “Hold Your Fire,” “Power Windows,” and “Grace Under Pressure,” no one release is as consistent as “Roll the Bones,” which not only shows Rush at it zenith in this stage of their existence, but also serves as yet another jumping-off point for the band; after this release would come two other, uneven ones, “Counterparts” and “Test for Echo,” which would show the band departing from their synth-n’-guitars sound for the harder, more organic sound of yore. It’s because this is a watershed release for the group – and it happened to come at a point when they weren’t releasing that many recordings anyway – that this is the best Rush recording of the 1990’s.
Excuse the less-than-stellar title track (marred not by the psuedorap, but rather by a lackluster arrangement) and the excessive secular lyricism (I prefer to be browbeaten by neither side of the pulpit), and what you get is probably the fourth or fifth most enjoyable Rush release to date.
I was able to find this (subtitled) video on YouTube. Enjoy!