While 2112 was the first Rush song I ever heard, A Farewell To Kings was the first Rush album I owned (the store didn’t have 2112 at the time). Sentimentally, it’s a favorite because it was among my first progressive rock albums, but beyond the gushiness I still love this album because it’s great music.For a band that critics hated, Rush had quite a following at this point, picking up numerous fans who’d been dazzled by the band’s stunning musicianship, philosophical reflection typically disguised as fantasy/sci-fi stories (but not always…sometimes it was just a story), and the fact that they freakin’ rocked. A Farewell To Kings produced one of the band’s most popular songs, “Closer to the Heart,” which continues to receive the attention of classic rock radio stations all over the place. I don’t use superlatives too much, but I must say that this is the best song under three minutes EVER. The socially conscious title track squeezes a lot of “progression” into a 5 minute song. The highlights of this album are the mesmerizing “Xanadu” and the rockin’ space adventure known as “Cygnus X-1, Book I.” Even though the latter is best appreciated as a precursor to the phenomenal “Hemispheres,” it’s a great song even on its own. The first movement is ominous, the second is catchy and exciting, and the third is an insane rhythmic assault underscoring Lee’s screaming vocals. Finally, like most of Rush’s work, this really doesn’t sound dated at all, despite being released in the late 70s. Timeless music is great music!Critics [stink]. Rush rules. Or something. But I’m pretty sure I’m right.