Rush contains three of the greatest musicians ever formed in a rock band. With Geddy Lee’s unique voice and awesome bass playing, Alex Lifeson’s superb guitar solos, and Neil Peart’s excellent lyrics and fantastic drumming, they knocked out fans and fellow musicians with their complex arrangements and lengthy epics. But with the release of their 1980 album PERMANENT WAVES, Rush’s songwriting and musicianship began to take a new turn.With the ’80s, the trio said goodbye to the concept albums and 18-minute-plus marathons of their ’70s past. Although their songs were shorter, the complexity and intelligence were still there. As a band, Rush were stronger than ever. The album kicks into high gear with the energetic “The Spirit of Radio,” Rush’s first ever hit single. Featuring more time changes and switches than any other Rush song, this dedication to a Canadian radio station is a great intro to what will follow. “Free Will,” another classic, features one of Alex Lifeson’s most magnificent guitar solos as well as some of Neil Peart’s best lyrics. The 7 minute epic “Jacob’s Ladder” is mostly instrumental and the playing by all three is great, most notably Geddy Lee’s bizarre synthesizer piece in the middle. “Entre Nous” is one of the most realistic love songs I’ve ever heard and contains a lot of catchy hooks. “Different Strings” is one of the most powerful songs the band has ever laid down. It should get more credit than it deserves; it’s one of their all-time best. The album ends with the 9 minute opus “Natural Science,” which starts out as a slow acoustic piece, then picks up speed like a bullet train. There are only six songs on PERMANENT WAVES and it’s a very short record (35 minutes), but adding extra bonus tracks or anything else would seem very wrong. Although I still believe MOVING PICTURES is the band’s greatest album (and the best album ever made), PERMANENT WAVES comes awfully close. This is one of Rush’s finest masterworks.