Rush, ‘The Anarchist’ — Song Review
One of many things that makes Rush so consistently rewarding is that they stick with what they do well -- more than likely, Geddy Lee won't form an electronic side project any time soon, and it's a safe bet Alex Lifeson won't switch over to steel guitar. 'The Anarchist,' the anthemic third single from the excellent 'Clockwork Angels,' is a perfect example of Rush reveling in the many things Rush do well.
This one's dominated by Alex Lifeson. He has a knack for crunchy barre chord riffs that descend chromatically, swinging for your eardrums like a metallic jackhammer. He also has a flair for explosive dungeons-and-dragons, sword-wielding arpeggios bathed in flange. They're all here; 'The Anarchist' is a sonic flip book of Lifeson's many guitar specialties.
Neil Peart is the rare rock lyricist who writes with the delicacy of a poet, even in the midst of an indulgent album-length concept. But it's important to give credit to Geddy Lee, who manages to shape Peart's many romanticisms into effortless, hooky choruses: "The lenses inside of me that paint the world black / The pools of poison, the scarlet mist that spill over into rage," Lee sings in the chorus. "The things I've always been denied, an early promise that somehow died / A missing part of me that grows around me like a cage."
There are a few intriguing, unexpected touches: Neil Peart's textural post-chorus tom-tom dance, and the eerie, Middle Eastern strings that swoop in like vultures during the bridge. But 'The Anarchist' is -- first and foremost -- an affirmation of Rush's geekiest, greatest musical trademarks.
Hear Rush Perform 'The Anarchist'