But I've always WANTED to love Rush. They represent everything that is to be hailed about music; brains, talent, hard work, complex arrangements, and they ROCK. I knew I had to just buy an album, lock myself in a room, and listen to it over and over and over, and not come out until the epiphany.
It took forever, but allow me to gear myself towards prog/rock fans with similar issues: it's worth it.
2112 is a good starting point, as it is like listening to a symphony, a musical journey, more than just a collection of songs ready for radio. Thus, your mindset in the first place is much more open for a work like this. 2112 was made like some early Pink Floyd albums - one epic and a few songs to fill out the time. However, I don't call them "filler" - indeed, such tag-along-songs are more often than not, golden nuggets in and of themselves. Allow me to highlight the wonderful gem, "Tears." A wonderful, creative, and haunting melody floats over a very uniquely atmosphered soundscape. Tender, yet dark. For the most part, the other non-epic tunes here are general classic rock songs (not a bad thing).
But epics have a way of outdoing "general classic rock" - and so let us return to the nucleus of the review (and the album!). 2112 is a brilliant composition. The band really gels as musicians, with Alex Lifeson's thoughtful guitar playing being a perfect compliment to Neil Peart's unbridled sense of storytelling (oh and btw he plays drums PERFECTLY and may frustrate you to want to quit-fortunately I'm not a drummer). And what's scarier, the thematic events of "we have no need for ancient ways" /... "it doesn't fit the plan" have come into dangerous fruition with regards to the music industry's recent suppression of substance.
The most important concept in this review (which is one of the most important concepts about music, if I may be so bold), is that sometimes, patience is rewarded. I wanted in, so I listened over and over. If you give it a chance, you'll get lost in its world of greatness. If you dismiss this after a few spins, you never gave it a chance to stick in the first place.
So to end where I began, I'll skip the in-depth analysis of the music, simply because that's been done elsewhere many many times. What I can offer is the perspective of someone who didn't "live through" the 70's and had to get into prog backwards (Dream Theater and Queensryche are my roots). 2112 is a can't-fail album for anyone - the ["controversial"] singing doesn't even begin until a full length instrumental overture has revealed the piece's many themes. It's plenty of time to absorb the music and become involved. Once the vocals hit, they seem more like any other contributing instrument to a well-blended band, as opposed to a dominant force you just wish would "get out of the way" so you can appreciate the rest of it.
Regardless, there's much to appreciate. It's an understatement to say that without Rush/this album, much greatness would not have been able to draw influence from said entity. And although commercially, prog has seen better days, right here is why there's any hope at all.