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Counterparts

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Reviews

Average Rating
★★★★☆
(148 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • 11 tracks and no bummers. As another reviewer said, naturally, you will prefer certain ones over others. This isn’t my personal favorite Rush album, but it might be in the top 5 just because it’s so consistent. And I like some more modern alternative music. Let’s get to the songs:

    Animate- 11/10- Easily the best on the album. This song would be the best on a lot of albums. I like how it’s rocking and going really fast then suddenly it’s a ballad, then it picks up again. Awesome.

    Stick It Out- 10/10- You’re coming off the high of Animate and you encounter another really good song. Very heavy, but very catch melody.

    Cut to the Chase- 10/10- And that’s for the lyrics alone!!! The music just compliments!

    Nobody’s Hero- 9.5/10- Okay, the first verse is awkward, so I’ll take 0.5 points off. Don’t use the word “sexuality” in an emotional song.

    Between Sun and Moon- 9/10- Not as flourishing as the rest. Lyrics are kind of dumb “Ahh yes to yes to ahh yes to ah….” What?

    Alien Shore- 9.5/10- Cool!

    The Speed of Love- 8.5/10- The worst on the album. Not bad, just kind of meh… Ya know…

    Leave That Thing Alone- 10/10- Funky bassline. Just cool in general

    Cold Fire- 10/10- Just because it’s commercial doesn’t mean it’s bad! It’s catchy, like The Spirit of Radio, but in a VERY different way.

    Everyday Glory- 10/10- Caps off the album very well.

    In conclusion: I would not recommend starting your Rush catalogue with this album, I’d recommend Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, or Signals, but maybe your 5th or 6th buy. Gets a 9.9/10 from me because it’s not quite perfect, but it’s consistently very good.

    Posted on February 10, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I feel that this is probably overall the best rock album that I have ever purchased. Every song (except for maybe “Speed of Love”) ranks as one of my favorites. The instrumental track, “Leave That Thing Alone,” is one of the best rock instrumentals I have ever heard. Every song is thought provoking and the musicianship is top notch.

    Posted on February 10, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • When I started listening to Rush two years ago (only 18, cut me some slack on that one), I started with their early stuff, 2112 (still my favorite), A Farewell to Kings, Fly By Night, etc. Then I progressed (pun intended) to their “middle” era, of Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures. I finally picked up Counterparts when the remaster was released, and was surprised to hear such a solid album. I enjoy Signals, but Presto didn’t impress me all that much, and neither had Test for Echo. Counterparts, however, is a gem. Nobody’s Hero, Between Sun & Moon, Alien Shores, and Double Agent are the standouts for me, but it is truely a sold album. I highly recommend it.

    Posted on February 10, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Counterparts is one of Rush’s best albums, almost up there with the stuff from their classic period. It’s just an extremely well-written, well-recorded and awesomely-performed record from start to finish. The opening duo of Animate and Stick It Out are fantastic and two of Rush’s finest moments. Just amazing songs, Animate being a relentless and wrenching song with great lyrics and Stick It Out just kicking you in the gut it’s so heavy. Other great cuts on here are the touching Nobody’s Hero, the gritty Between Sun and Moon, and one of Rush’s coolest instrumentals, Leave That Thing Alone. I also really like Double Agent and Cold Fire. All in all, a great album and the best Rush album of the 1990’s era.

    Posted on February 9, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I am often in the minority in my view of this, but I feel “Counterparts” is the Rush masterpiece of the ’90s, and may well be their best album. I’ve often heard of it referred to as Rush’s stab at alternative, which I really don’t agree with either– certainly, the band was influenced by a return of guitar-based rock music to the forefront of popular consciousness, and no doubt that assisted in this album fully embracing the guitar as main driver behind the music, but this is the direction the band had been heading for the past several albums– after the synth wash of “Grace Under Pressure” and “Power Windows”, “Hold Your Fire”, “Presto”, and “Roll the Bones” all walked the path of guitar based performance. What may have been more alternative influenced on this record was the focus on rock rhythms rather than the budding focus on funk and even hip hop rhythms that was so present on “Roll the Bones”.

    As a result of this sonic shift, this album features some of the most inspired playing by guitarist Alex Lifeson in a long time– Geddy Lee’s bass, so often the most interesting component in Rush material on the past few albums, moved into a more traditional rock roll, freeing Lifeson to fill space better (mind you, Geddy Lee still has one of the most distinctive voices on the bass guitar in rock music, and is instantly recognizable). I also find that Lee’s singing is superlative, perhaps the best he’s done– his confidence as a vocalist allows him full control over his range and he fills each song with an investment of emotion I don’t feel we’d heard from him in the past. Lyrically, the album also continues the evolution of previous records– Neil Peart’s early albums were fantasy/science fiction influenced, often allegorical or parable. As time wore on, he brought his lyrics into a more modern society, into the current view. The past few Rush albums began to show a trend of lyrics with a much more personal bent, this album continues that trend– themes largely of love and relationship dominate the album, and even the more globally minded songs (“Nobody’s Hero”) have a personal slant to the lyrics.

    To talk a bit about the songs themselves, there really is a wealth of stunning material here. The rolling, jangly opener, “Animate”, with its synth soaked bridge, stands out as one of the best cuts on the album, ditto for instrumental “Leave That Thing Alone”, which musically manages to portray a haunting, tense feel.

    Beyond these two, the album seeks several directions, easily viewed in its thematic content– the two I mentioned previously fit in with a sort of struggle in relationships theme that’s all ofver the album, including the great, driven “Cut to the Chase” (with another stunning Lifeson guitar solo), “Alien Shore”, lyrically an explosion of metaphor, musically its funky in a way much of the material on the last album was, and one of the album’s singles, “Cold Fire”, a bitter love song with clever word play (how can you not love a love song with the line “she said, ‘this is not a love song’”) and a sufficiently affected vocal delivery by Lee.

    There’s also definitely an undercurrent of sort Whitmanesque uplifting of the everyday people, the single “Nobody’s Hero”, reflecting on how the death of a loved one means everything to some but nothing to most, and the fairly obvious message of “Everyday Glory”, the latter a powerful, swelling song, again with a great vocal by Lee.

    Finally, there’s a handful of experimental songs– Rush seeking new directions continuously stabs out in a number of ways– “Stick It Out”, with its overt guitar (and great bass playing in its bridge) doesn’t quite succeed as well as you’d hope, nor does the straightahead “Speed of Love”. The funkier songs on the record though, the unique “Between Sun & Moon” (with great lyrical word play and a monster riffing) churns and chugs and spins and explodes in its chorus, one of the great, overlooked Rush songs, and one of Peart’s cleverist moments as a lyricists, and the bizarre, funky, bass-driven “Double Agent”, with its strange spoken word vocal, as the peak of ’90s Rush experimentalism, it does far better than expected.

    Overall, this is a great album, with a lot of varied, intriguing, and successful material. Experimentation abounds, and Rush does well with it. Highly recommended.

    Posted on February 9, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now