Rush has generally resisted doing “expanded” versions of their albums but they’ve made an exception with a new reissue of of their 1976 classic, 2112.
The new version features the album remixed in 5.1 surround sound, with three live tracks (“2112 I: Overture,” “2112 II: The Temples Of Syrinx” and “A Passage To Bangkok”), as well as a comic book depicting the story told in the album’s 20-minute, seven-movement title track.
Both the physical and digital version include a 40-page comic book by story artist Tom Hodges (Star Wars:The Clone Wars, The Simpsons‘ “Treehouse of Horror”); the reissue also features new liner notes by Rolling Stone writer David Fricke.
Based on Ayn Rand’s Anthem (which Rush had named an earlier song after), “2112” surely wasn’t the hit single the label was looking for; but it was, in fact, inspired by the label.
In the Classic Albums: 2112/Moving Pictures documentary, drummer/lyricist Neil Peart says that he came up with the idea of music being used against the totalitarian society after the band’s record label told them that they would have to try and write a hit single for the album (their prior LP, Caress Of Steel, was a commercial dud).
Peart decided to credit Rand’s influence in the album’s liner notes, which was not looked on favorably in the music press; some even compared the band to Nazis, which didn’t sit well with Geddy Lee, the son of a concentration camp survivor.
But despite the album’s lack of a commercial hit, 2112 became Rush’s first LP to land in the Billboard Hot 100, and was soon certified gold selling 500,000 copies.
Rolling Stone magazine has not been historically kind to Rush, but they seem to have turned around in recent years. In 2008, they dedicated a four page feature to the band (which itself became a news story). In 2010, David Fricke was interviewed for the aforementioned Classic Albums documentary. In the current issue, the 2112 reissue is the lead review, earning four stars. And of course, the band is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year — an organization co-founded by RS’s founder and publisher Jann Wenner.
— Brian Ives, Radio.com
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