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Essential Listening: Rush tells a story on complex ‘Hemispheres’ album

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Rush’s album Hemispheres offers an amazing journey through many worlds of adventure. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Tired of your Spotify playlists? The Purbalite is here to help with our Essential Listening series.

Rush’s album Hemispheres offers an amazing journey through many worlds of adventure.

Hemispheres is a progressive rock album with four tracks released in 1987. Each track uses excellent instrumentation and vocals to weave an engaging story. The music is technically complex with many overlapping instruments creating a wonderful sound.

The opening track, “Cygnus X-1 Book Two: Hemispheres,” tells the story of Apollo and Dionysus fighting for control of the human race before Cygnus intervenes and balances them. Apollo wants order, but Dionysus wants freedom and chaos. 

“Book Two: Hemispheres” is the second part of a two-song series. Cygnus is the spirit of a spaceship captain who entered a black hole in “Cygnus X-1 Book I: The Voyage,” the closing track of the album A Farewell to Kings.

One of two shorter songs on the album, “The Trees,” is an extended metaphor maple trees becoming jealous of the oaks’ taller forms. The maples unionize and then force the oaks to be cut down to the same height of the maples. 

Rush was inspired by author Ayn Rand and her philosophy of objectivism on multiple occasions. “The Trees” closely follows her theory, telling the listener that equality should not be forced.

The closing track, “La Villa Strangiato,” finishes the album with Rush’s first completely instrumental track. With the subtitle “An Exercise In Self-Indulgence,” the track has very complex instrumentation. 

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Lucas Ovitsky, Staff Writer
Sophomore Lucas Ovitsky is a first year Staff Writer. He can be found playing trumpet or listening to music.
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