Okay, dear readers, here’s a piece on the lighter side.
There’s a song by the band Nerf Herder called ‘The Girl Who Listened to Rush’ (link here). I am that Girl, one of many, many girls who are into the most-excellent Canadian rock band, Rush. It seems we’re considered an major anomaly in this world but I know there are more of us than any bunch of rock dudes, or dudes of any other musical persuasion realize.
Why are girls into Rush?
Well, I’m only going to speak for myself here but here goes.
First, they’re brilliant. I first got into Rush in 1981 when the band released their album, ‘Moving Pictures’. This album really launched them into the big-time because it’s still freaking brilliant after all these years. ‘Tom Sawyer’ was the very first song I ever remember hearing by them and I still love it even though I’ve heard it probably ten million times in the last forty years. And if I was a filmmaker, I would love to make a video for the song ‘Red Barchetta’ because why in the world no one has ever done that is still beyond me (if you haven’t heard the song, listen to it with your eyes closed visualizing the song in your mind- it’s easy to do because the song creates such strong visual imagery).
One of the big things about Rush was how they fought and won battles against conformity and pressure from their record company to record something more radio-friendly, especially in their early days. In the 2010 documentary ‘Beyond the Lighted Stage’, all three band members (bassist/keyboardist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer/lyricist Neil Peart) talk about how in 1976 their record company threatened to drop them if their next album wasn’t a hit. The record company wanted songs they could release as singles while the band was working on one big piece titled ‘2112’. In the documentary, they talked about going all the way with their vision and if it didn’t work out then they’d hang up their instruments and go back home. But it worked out well and I think it was because the band stayed true to their vision and connected with fans because of it.
Another thing with Rush is how well some of their songs have aged and are in fact, timeless. Take ‘Subdivisions’ off of the album ‘Signals’ (1982). Those lyrics describe life in the suburbs today just like they did forty years ago, the aching conformity and fears with razor-sharp lyrics and music that makes you want to get in a car and drive as fast as you can out of those cookie-cutter mazes as I call them. ‘Limelight’ still describes life in the spotlight as well it did when it came out. And ‘Distant Early Warning’ talks of environmental catastrophe as if it was written in the twenty-first century instead of the 1980’s.
This year I want to listen to Rush’s entire catalog in chronological order. I listen to a lot of the same songs over and over like the musical nerd I am but I want to dig deeper. Last year, drummer Neil Peart died and it was a huge and shocking loss for us fans as he hadn’t publicly disclosed his cancer diagnosis. I guess we all thought like so many brilliant people he was immortal though is music and his lyrics are immortal. And sadly, I never got to see them live though I desperately wanted to (that’s a story for another time and place). But I’ve watched videos and documentaries and will continue to come back to those.
I don’t think being a girl means I’m a different kind of fan than my brother or other guys. I think us girls love the music and lyrics that make us think and feel. Rock and roll music has always been seen as a boys club with girls not allowed all the way in though we don’t give up on the music. Hopefully someday that won’t be the case and maybe the music will be fully integrated.
For me, Rush’s music takes me out of my boring-ass reality and makes me think about other things. I can close my eyes and visualize with my imagination fully engaged. Women can do this despite some a-holes not thinking that women have imagination and want to think about things other than domestic servitude or romance. And as romance author and reader, I’m sure that might be a bit shocking to some. It shouldn’t be because women can think about more than one thing at a time. In fact, I’d say we can multi-task in every way possible because that’s what’s expected of us.
So yes, women can be musical geeks and be into many other things. I think us female Rush fans epitomize that to a perfect T.