1981's Moving Pictures is widely regarded as Rush's best album and lauded as one of the greatest prog/hard rock outings ever. The trio honed the new wave-meets-hard rock approach from 1980's Permanent Waves to perfection. Of its seven tracks, four remain in regular rotation on classic rock radio. While other legacy acts of the era experimented with various styles in vain attempts to remain relevant, Moving Pictures peaked at number three on both the U.S. and U.K. album charts. Their most renowned song, "Tom Sawyer," was co-written by the band with Max Webster lyricist Pye Dubois. It's followed by the futurist auto racing rebellion allegory "Red Barchetta," inspired by a short story written by Richard Foster and published in a 1973 edition of Road & Track magazine. It gives way to the sprawling prog instrumental "YYZ." "Limelight" borrows its intro from "Fly by Night," while the verse structure echoes "Free Will" in examining the hazards of fame. The 11-minute "The Camera Eye" begins with a layered synth-driven segment before transforming itself into a labyrinthian prog epic, marking the band's last recorded ten-plus-minutes studio song. "Witch Hunt" and "Vital Signs" remain two of the trio's more underrated rock compositions. The former is a moody collage of shouted voices, blasting guitar riffs, and dynamic crunch with sinister vocals, while the latter offers syncopated synths skillfully melding new wave and polished reggae with prog. Moving Pictures proved Rush still had vast, uncharted musical territory to explore.
Moving Pictures Review
by Greg Prato