After the commercial failure of “Caress of Steel,” Rush’s label asked them to return to a more “radio-friendly” sounds. Their answer was released on April 1, 1976, with an opener that is 20 minutes long: a high sci-fi epic. They didn’t go with what the company or the media wanted, they went with what they wanted to do and the result was one of the greatest albums ever made.
The album is best known for its self-titled track. The whole story is inspired by a novella of Ayn Rand which is one of the prominent writers that affected Peart’s songwriting. The novella, called “Anthem”, takes place in a society in which the concept of individuality is eradicated. The main character finds the electricity that is secret to the society which helps him to start a revolution. Similar to that, 2112 is set in a dystopian city of Megadon where the Temple of the Syrinx ruled with an authoritarian theocracy, banning technology and limiting even the song we sing.
Our hero discovers the magical creation which is known by us as “the guitar.” When he took his discovery to the priest, however, they disregard him by saying “it’s nothing new, just a waste of time.” In his dreams, the hero gets reached by an oracle from the elder race of men who left the world to live their life with hard work and beauty. After seeing what could world be, the hero, in a soliloquy, decides that he cannot live anymore and takes his life. As the hero dies, a new voice, probably from the elder race the hero saw in the dream, comes in saying, “We Have Assumed Control” and the epic ends in an ambiguous note.
Side 2 of the album is a killer too. “A Passage to Bangkok” which is related to weed, and “The Twilight Zone”, which is a reference to the famous TV series, are amazing songs with traditional Rush sound. The whole album is one of the best-selling works of Rush. They gave us an amazing piece of art and defined how to write a prog-rock classic.