PERFORMING ARTS

Driven: Rush in the ’90s and “In the End.”

ECW. (Rush Across the Decades, Bk. 3). Apr. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9781770415379. $34.95. MUSIC
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Popoff completes his trilogy chronicling the 50-year career of the Canadian band Rush. As in previous volumes, Anthem and Limelight, he examines each album’s songs with attention to lyrics (now tending toward the more philosophical), instruments (less reliance on keyboards), and production. Rush was attuned to the changing styles around them, such as the development and success of grunge groups including Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but they notoriously refused to jump on the bandwagon or be pigeonholed. Over their historic run, Rush held onto an individuality that both won and lost them fans with each new album; in some families, three generations remained loyal to Rush. Popoff’s longtime access to the three band members, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart, and their associates continues to provide a phenomenal treasure trove of insight and detail. Interestingly, though the members discuss playfulness creeping into their style, the book itself is more somber than the previous two, alluding to Rush’s five-year hiatus (1997–2002) and several tragedies befalling the group.
VERDICT This third installment’s heartfelt exploration of the hobbies, obsessions, and families of the members of Rush more than compensates for missing some of the sparkle evident in the first two volumes. Popoff is to be congratulated for this herculean effort.
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