Updated: Aug 27, 2021
“Moving Pictures” is the eighth studio album from Canadian prog-rock band Rush released on February 12, 1981. Rushing to capitalize on the mainstream success of 1980’s “The Spirit of Radio,” the band realized that in order to transition outside the confines of a cult royalty status Rush had earned as one of the pioneering sounds of the burgeoning 80’s prog-rock scene (alongside bands like Genesis and King Crimson), that they would need to come up with faster, choppier songs to set themselves apart from a growing field of sleepy, sci fi inspired concept records, all seeking to overperform and outshine genre rivals through a sport of technical bells and whistles, while also requiring a lengthy investment from listeners willing to go along for the ride. With very clear goals in mind, Rush began crafting the 7 song, 40-minute statement which ultimately came to be known as “Moving Pictures.” Progressive rock gets its name due to its constantly evolving song structure. Also sometimes referred to as "symphonic rock" or "art rock," prog-rock songs follow a trajectory that mimics the multi-act structure and drama of classical and operatic pieces. The music itself attempts to convey a narrative arch that rises, falls, expresses conflict, and shifts throughout various mood changes. This is often done very erratically, eccentrically, experimentally, and through the fusion of multiple contrasting genres and styles. Critics and enthusiasts of the scene noted that progressive rock’s avant-garde approach to song writing often merged references from both high and low cultures to produce sophisticated music that elevated the subject material through the expertise required to perfectly execute increasingly complex arrangements and still tell an audible story. Bands like Rush had long since paid their dues establishing a dedicated underground following and amassing widespread critical acclaim, but they had yet to garner mainstream credibility outside of Canada, or achieve any prolonged radio success beyond a fleeting single that only made it to #51 in the U.S. Reflecting upon their arsenal of tricks gleaned through a decade of releases incorporating the recording studio as the fourth member of the band, Rush set out to craft quick, intricate, and infectious tracks that captivated listeners’ attention through continuously intensifying instrumentals, complimented by the enigmatic storytelling of Geddy Lee’s piercing vocals. The result was an instant classic as “Moving Pictures” went on to become certified 5x platinum, earn Grammy nominations, and catapult Rush into a much deserved and long-awaited superstardom. Unravel the intricacies of some of the band’s most iconic works of art including legendary tracks “Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight,” “YYZ,” and “Vital Signs” while awaiting the 40th anniversary remaster now on Spotify!