Audio Autumn

I can spend all year obsessed with new music (mmmm… Madlib and Quantic) but the instant fall rolls around, it’s back to old favorites and the prog rock comes out of the closet. From Don Caballero to Primus to Zappa, it all just says autumn to me. But the band that seems to capture the end of summer best has to be Rush. I’m not talking the what-the-hell-happened post-Mercury Rush. And I’m not talking about the whole-album-is-one-song early Rush, either. I’m talking the wicked hot stuff in-between: Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, Exit…Stage Left, Signals, and Grace Under Pressure.

Each track says something different, but each feels fall. Subdivisions brings out the isolation of chilly suburban streets. YYZ is the impersonal chaos of a holiday airport. Jacob’s Ladder has the foreboding of an pre-winter storm. And Kid Gloves captures the cliquish start of a new school year.

It may seem like I’m saying that Rush does quiet desperation better than anyone, but that’s not quite it. It’s more that Rush does solitude, introspection, and dreams. Somehow fall says all those things to me.

And, of course, there’s Red Barchetta. Driving alone a leaf-strewn road on a clear day and it tears thorough the speakers…

Drive like the wind,
Straining the limits of machine and man.
Laughing out loud
With fear and hope, I’ve got a desperate plan.
At the one-lane bridge
I leave the giants stranded at the riverside.
Race back to the farm, to dream with my uncle at the fireside.

Ah, yeah. That’s autumn.

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