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Vapor Trails
     

Vapor Trails

3.9 94
by Rush
 

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The half decade since Rush's last studio offering hasn't been a pleasant time for the Canadian trio -- what with drummer/lyricist Neil Peart having to cope with the deaths of both his wife and daughter. While an element of darkness crops up on Vapor Trails, it doesn't weigh down the band's artistry. In fact, it seems to have invested

Overview

The half decade since Rush's last studio offering hasn't been a pleasant time for the Canadian trio -- what with drummer/lyricist Neil Peart having to cope with the deaths of both his wife and daughter. While an element of darkness crops up on Vapor Trails, it doesn't weigh down the band's artistry. In fact, it seems to have invested Rush's music with a rediscovered visceral edge, a reconnection with humanity. In sharp contrast to the succinct, keyboard-driven material the band has proffered on it past several releases, Vapor Trails evinces a desire to give listeners a few sharp pokes to the nerve center. Alex Lifeson's guitar surges to the fore on the bulk of the disc's 13 songs, sometimes simply slamming (as on the surprisingly raw opener, "One Little Victory") and sometimes intricately slashing (as on "Nocturne," which conjures up images of Rush's headiest days). Peart's lyrics, while certainly indicative of the troubles he's endured, don't lapse into simple autobiography: "The Stars Look Down" and "How It Is" both resonate with complex yet ultimately universal comments on love, loss, and regeneration. While Vapor Trails may give pause to those who have come to expect more gentle musings from Rush, folks who fondly recall the band's reign as power trio kingpins will find following these trails an irresistible journey worth repeating.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Greg Prato
Most longtime Rush fans realize that a new album from the Canadian trio in the early 21st century is quite an accomplishment. After drummer Neil Peart's much-publicized tragic turn of events in his private life not long after Rush's 1996 release Test for Echo (the death of both his teenaged daughter and wife less than a year apart), the group's future was understandably cast into doubt. Slowly but surely, however, the band regained their footing and issued their 17th studio album in 2002, Vapor Trails. You would think that a veteran band entering their fourth decade together would perhaps mellow out a bit, but this doesn't prove to be case, as evidenced by the leadoff track "One Little Victory," while the majority of the album follows the same direct and hard-hitting sound as their past couple of releases (fans of the group's more synth-based and sterile mid-'80s style will have to look elsewhere). Peart, who remains the group's main lyricist, opts to conquer such challenging subject matter as the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on "Peaceable Kingdom," while bits of the lyric to "Ghost Rider" ("Pack up all those phantoms/Shoulder that invisible load") lead the listener to believe that perhaps the drummer is sharing his personal healing process with the fans. Other standouts include the melodic "Sweet Miracle," the explosive "Out of the Cradle," the mid-paced title track, and "Earthshine," the latter of which showcases how fine Lee's voice has matured (especially when compared to his high-piercing shriek on Rush's early albums). All in all, Vapor Trails does an amiable job of signaling the welcome return of Rush.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/14/2002
Label:
Atlantic
UPC:
0075678353123
catalogNumber:
83531
Rank:
9376

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Vapor Trails 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 94 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would give this zero stars if I could! If Rush wanted to "get back to the basics" thay should've tried a tour down memory lane to the 70's instead of the 90's. This is horrible! After a few listens to this disc, that awesome integrity that has inhabited so many other Rush lp's was still missing. Honestly, they can't be tickled pink with this. But if millions of folks are buying this slop then maybe they are tickled pink. Way to go guys!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Without a doubt, this is the worst recording that Rush has produced in their long career. Gone is the sophistication, complexity, and mature introspection into the bigger questions of life and history (Red Sector A, Power Windows, Subdivisions, etc.). What we are left with is a sound that strangely resembles my blender when I'm making daquiris. I have loved this band for 25 years, even played in a Rush copy band after high school. But now, I crave more taste and insight, not meaningless buzzsaw jams. I am thoroughly disappointed. Two stars only because it's Rush. Another other band, and it'd be one star.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My favorite band of all time! Worst album ever! No guitar solos. They have turned into a boy band.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Boring and generic. Lots of noise and very disjointed songs. No melodies to follow. Sounds like a cut-and-paste-job, done on somebody's computer!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was really looking forward to this album as Rush have been one of my favourite bands for the past 25 years but alas they seem to have no connection with their past here, seemingly jumping on the nu-metal bandwagon to produce their most mundane and characterless album ever. If you took away the voice, you'd be hard pushed to tell it was Rush, the playing is adequate rather than outstanding as normal and more importantly, the songs are boring, with no memorable parts. They simply sound completely insignificant compared to their former selves. They did the heavy rock thing way back in the early seventies and to be frank they were much better at it back then. The desicion to lose the keyboards has made matters even worse, taking what was left of any trace of sophistication away. I think I'll stick with Caress of Steel if I want the heavier side of the band. Sorry guys! Although I'll probably still go to the tour for old times sake.
Guest More than 1 year ago
And well worth the wait. I listened the first time...waiting to hear that one song that really stands out above the rest. I just didn't hear it. So I listened to it several more times and realized that there is not one song that is head and shoulders above the rest, because the entire album is great. It definitely sounds like Rush but with a new hard edge and the usual awesome lyrics. Buy this album you won't be dissappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up the CD Tuesday when the stores opened, and I have played about 4 times all the way. I have left Vapor Trails on random lately, and I really enjoy all of the songs. Great jobs, and I will see you August 19th in Dallas.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To be honest, wasn't sure what to expect, except I was looking forward to it. Following the boys over the last year in print it seems as if they themselves were unsure as to the quality of the songs, and how they would be received. Well. My butt feels like it's been on the receiving end of a sledge hammer thingie! They plain ROCK! What's that all about? THIS far into middle age and they still ROCK? And there are hauntingly beautiful passages on this thing, WAY more melodic than Test For Echo! Geddy's voice has always been the weak point for me, but he does things here that can only be described as remarkable. Stand-out surprise: How It Is
Guest More than 1 year ago
Why do you have to listen to these songs 10 times and try very hard to enjoy them?! That is so sad. When I first heard Limelight, The Camera Eye, By-Tor, 2112, Lakeside Park, La Villa Strangiato etc it was instant enjoyment and admiration for the power trio. I agree with the 'few' 1 & 2 star raters that these songs lack melody, timelessness, craftmanship etc and are on the whole not worth even copying. I have struggled with Rush's progressive style since Signals (maybe that is my problem).By the way does anyone else out there get sick of the childish lyrics like ''Dog Years''?....get Terry Brown back now!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Simply the best!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to admit that I've followed these guys from their first album (boy that dates me). My favorite era was their Farewell to Kings, 2112, Hemispheres, Moving Pictures years. This band has always been all about musicianship and songwriting and these guys are second to none in both categories. I have to admit I lost some interest when Geddy's voice dropped a few octaves and the guitars got turned down and the synthesizers and keyboards dominated. Occasionally, they've got me excited again; Counterparts had some rockin stuff on it, but this album flat-out rocks! Geddy's vocals are passionate (and occasionally dwell into octaves of older days), Alex's guitars are in your face and the riffs are full of hooks. Of course the drums and bass and lyrics are topnotch. I love it! Nobody can touch these guys. What a solid CD. I can't decide on a favorite song; they're all so good. I love the riff in Earthshine. Crank it up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rush has produced, in my opinion, their greatest album of all time. This album combines the best of the old stripped down style reminiscent of their earlier albums with the complex technical layering of their latter efforts. Geddy has seemed to rediscover his bass in a big way on this one. Alex's guitar textures are unparalleled in the industry. Who else can get so many differing voices out of a six string? Neil, well, he is Neil, drummer extraordinare. My first listen to the album left me with chills. I am so excited to see them again live.
Guest More than 1 year ago
just a quick note...i have loved rush for years...(34 years old)....never missed a show in okla or texas....study them, have tapes of each ind, member...watch these guys over and over.... I just feel the new album doesn't get away from the ''flatline'' that rush can get in to. I have always listened and loved rush songs and albums...knowing that a big, funky, groove injected passage was coming...maybe not in this song...but perhaps in the next....Am I the only one that based my love for rush firstly on the musicianship and secondly on the vocal passages? I love the lyrics....but the intricate instrumental passages were what fueled me. There is no instrumental or even instrumental breaks on this new album that pump enough gas in me to keep me wanting to move on thru the tracks. Maybe I am a minority....I thought everyone was glued to this radio unfriendly band because they were great fusion injected musicians...I will always go see them...but may have to get a beer when they play stuff from vapor trails.....please feel free to commumicate with me....I LOVE RUSH..... elmore.summerall@excite.com
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is *the* Rush album of albums. Intense, deeply sonic, modern and still a bit progressive, sweet and at other times with a hurricane punch that reminds people who *need* to be reminded....yes, life can get very dark, nasty, and plain horrid. So, this shows the bitter-sweet, especially summed up so well on "How It Is". The production is the absolute best I think of almost any album ever, very organic, to-the-bone, while some of the mullet-loving 80's Rush fans will wish for some Duran-Duran type of overly-produced slop. Rush...endlessly rocking...into the 21'st century. Bravo, guys!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This review feels like an obituary. I was 14 in the year 1976, when I first heard 2112, and from then on each new release was eagerly awaited. Unfortunately "Roll the Bones" was the last time Rush's music excited me. Since then I have checked the music stores, hoping a new Rush album would rekindle the fire, and each time being disappointed. I have to agree with those others who also gave stars only grudgingly; the music is no longer melodic or tuneful. They used to be MASTERS of this. And frankly, I'm long over the crypto-populism which has overtaken the lyric writing. Moral confidence and clarity of purpose used to be hallmarks of Rush's approach to music, it set them apart, and it was beautiful. Now they're hiding everything in some new "mashed potato soup"-style, and it's unbecoming to what we all know these fellows are capable of. The live release was proof that it DID exist. Geddy Lee's voice is better-trained now than it has ever been, but he refuses to let us listen to him sing. All three have chops which they now seem ashamed to let see the light of day. It seems appropriate that the graphics resemble hastily scrawled messages from a dying finger. It didn't fit "Hemispheres" but it does "Vapor Trails"...RIP
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best albums I have ever heard. And that coming from not the best sounding mp3swhich I had access to!Geddy Lee is amazing in bass and his voice is very harmonious.The guitar sounds great with a lot of different textures, it rocks! And what can I say about Neil Peart?He's simply one of the best drummers in history bar none and he shines once again keeping the playing tight along with the rest of the songs.I didn't perceive any ''weak'' songs. I'm buying 2 copies come May 14th. One for the home and one for everywhere else.It's that good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One reason why Rush is such an incredible band is that they have changed their sound over the years with great success. Vapor Trails is no exception. The music is more technically intense than ever. Unfortunately for me, although many may disagree, I find the album to be lacking many of the things that I really love about Rush. Alex¿s riffs, although incredible, never really catch my attention melodically. My opinion of the vocals is the same; too much harmonizing and not enough melodic content. Furthermore, the guitar and bass sounds often drown out Geddy¿s vocals, which are often difficult to discern. Perhaps the producer Paul Northfield is to blame for this strange, non-Rush-like mix of sounds. Perhaps I¿ve now become the old school fan and this album will entice a new generation of fans that enjoy Rush as much as I do. Regardless, I can¿t wait to see Rush live in concert once again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fantastic! The jam session on ''Secret Touch'' is worth the money alone. If you only listen to ''classic'' Rush and not the ''new stuff'', you're really missing out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
..it just kills the mood.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Vapor Trails finally booted Dream Theater's Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence out of my car CD player. If this isn't the best Rush CD in the past 10 years, and I mean a totally complete CD, then I need my hearing checked. Everything clicks, from Neil's precision, to Geddy's remarkable voice with those great harmonies, to the wondrous Alex Lifeson showing that you don't have to be in your twenties to sound amazing. He owns Vapor Trails. Peaceable Kingdom and Secret Touch completely floored me, and remain my favorites at this moment. Earthshine and How it is should be considered for the next single. One Little Victory is so going to rock the house. Now if only they could get Dream Theater to open for them, life would be just perfect.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Originality and innovativation are hard to come by when you're are band putting out albums for 28 years. THAT IS WHAT RUSH HAS DONE! Vapor Trails should win a Grammy for ''Album of the Year''. Buy this album if want to hear something fresh and musically genius, as all of Rush's albums are anyway.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We had an inkling that Rush's experiences of the last five years would have affected the traditional way they would approach a possible future release. Vapor Trails gives us reason to celebrate. Not merely because Rush has overcome tragedy to make another album, but also they have given us something we didn't see so much in the '90s: an album which - track after track - gives us something profuse, complex, and orchestrated enough to reward us with something new with each listen. Geddy's vocal performance rivals many previous releases, and due to new and exciting approches in bass and guitar textures, the lack of keyboards goes generally unnoticed. Even the quieter ''low-end'' in recent album mixes has been replaced by a punchy and warmer sound mix here. I haven't felt truly passionate about a Rush album since Hold Your Fire. I thought maybe after idolizing them since age 10 (and the release of Moving Pictures), I was just getting too old to listen to them. Vapor Trails, after giving it a chance, is proving me very, very wrong.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Awesome CD Rush! It's been what, 4 years since the last CD. That's just to long for this Rush fan. I got this CD the day it came out and that is the only CD I've been listening to since! As I said, ''It's simply awesome'' It's like classic Rush only better! Neil Pert is TOTALLY AWESOME !!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album has got to be one of the greatest albums I have heard in a long time.Rush once again lives up to there expectations.Buy it you will love it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Vapor Trails is a BIG HIT amongst most Rush fans I've spoken with. A great comeback album after long hiatus....songs like earthshine, sweet miracle, and stars look down are perfect signs of some classic rush songwriting. One little victory shows some signs of Presto era and a great new sound in Ghost Rider. Great job by the boys this time. I was mildly disappointed in their last effort, Test for Echo. This was definitely a goodsign of more great things to come.. Great job guys!!!!!