Welcome to our third segment of Classic Albums. Today we discuss my personal favorite Rush album, Hold Your Fire from 1987. Thanks to MTV, 8-year old me was exposed to them early on. “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight” live in 1981, and the World Premiere of “Distant Early Warning” in 1984 definitely had my attention, but I have to admit it now, I never owned an album until 1987, freshman year of high school. I know, I know!! I should be shot!
After seeing/hearing “Time Stand Still” over my Froot Loops (no milk) on a Saturday morning, I marched over to the guy two lockers down on Monday and asked to borrow his cassette of Hold Your Fire. I put it in my Walkman and pressed play for the 40-minute bus ride home. What I heard was absolute perfection. Let’s begin:
“Force Ten” is the perfect album and show opener. The jackhammer intro makes you sit up and take notice instantly, and the song just flows. “Time Stand Still” is my all-time favorite Rush song to this day, and I make no apologies for it. Aimee Mann’s call and response vocal with Geddy Lee may be one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard.
“Open Secrets”, “Second Nature”, and “Prime Mover” provide musical arrangements and lyrical depth that sound unlike anything done before or since.
“Lock And Key” tackles the subject of keeping one’s primal urges in check, a theme throughout much of the album, though it’s much more at the surface of this song. “Mission” is another favorite, especially live. It is a moving, and at times heartbreaking song. “Turn the Page” is another fast-paced number featuring some killer bass lines.
Both Geddy and Alex Lifeson have said it was a mistake to include “Tai Shan” on this album. I say it would have been a mistake NOT to. Its classical Chinese music influence tugs at the heartstrings and I can’t envision the record without it. “High Water” ends things with Neil Peart’s rank and file, regimented, almost machine-like drum beats, and Alex has some of his finest solos on this one.
This is my favorite Rush album. Anytime I play it, I am transported back to a magical time in my life. I hope it does the same for you.
FAVORITE TRACKS: “Force Ten”, “Time Stand Still”, “Mission”, “Tai Shan”