Yes, yes, i know what you’re about to say: OVERKILL!!! ANOTHER Rush compilation??!! It’s true, the folks at mercury/universal have flooded the market with compilations in recent years, but let’s take a moment to analyze those, shall we? “Chronicles”: the first, true, Rush 2 CD compilation, it was released several years ago, when Rush changed labels. Then came “Retrospective I & II”, which, essentially, consisted of the same songs included in “Chronicles”, but split in 2, so people could have the possibility to buy one or the other.
Althought these compilations offered almost nothing new (there were a couple of different songs, that’s all…), it was a smart move, and one that has become increasingly common for record labels in recent years (Atlantic did the same with Zeppelin’s “Remasters”, spiltting it into “Earlier Days” and “Latter Days”…). Then came the single disc “Spirit of Radio”, which was a Greatest Hits of sorts, with little appeal for long time fans, but most likely meant to attract new ones. It failed to represent the band’s full body of work, but it probably served well its purpose of enticing new listeners. And now we get the latest installment of the “Gold” series by Universal, which in fact consists of the 2 volumes of “Retrospective” grouped together at half the price and with minor changes (the song “Something for Nothing” is sacrificed in favor of “Working Man”).
But unlike many other such compilations, which (to me) more often than not fall short to people’s expectations, this one is pretty good! You get 29 songs (one more than Chronicles) spanning all of their studio albums with mercury, for less than 15 bucks! The song lineup is somewhat different, though, but you get pretty much all of their “big” songs included in Chronicles(Working Man, Flight by Night, Closer to the Heart, Limelight, Tom Sawyer, Subdivisions, 2112, etc), and I believe that long time fans will appreciate the inclusion of songs like “By-Tor and the Snow Dog” and “Xanadu’, which, oddly enough, were left off Chronicles.
Of course, if you want to complain, you can always do so by saying that this or that song were excluded, but C’MON, what else can you ask for for less than $15? By restricting the song selections to studio albums, live versions of songs like “What you’re doing” and “Passage to Bangkok” are absent here, and while it is a shame, i guess we can all eventually get over that. A few other songs are absent here, such as “A farewell to kings” and “Lakeside Park”, and the running order (random, as opposed to chronological) is probably not the best, but in the end, I still think that this compilation is very much worthwhile, especially if you take in consideration its best asset: value.
You really get your money’s worth and, at half the price of Chronicles, I think this is the best choice right now for those looking for an introduction to the band, and maybe also for those long time fans looking for a good compilation. Let’s face it, for a band with such an enormous catalog as Rush, it is almost impossible to please everybody. So there you go, now you know what to expect, so the choice is up to you now, but be sure of one thing: if you choose to get “Gold”, it will be a purchase you won’t regret.