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Music

The Rush song Alex Lifeson said was their "most ambitious"

@TylerGolsen

No one has ever accused Rush of sticking to the basics. Over their 40 year career, Canada’s favourite prog-rock sons explored nearly every genre, time signature, and sonic corner of music that was available to them. Through hard rock, progressive metal, reggae, synthpop, funk, and even rap, the members of Rush were never afraid to try something new or stretch themselves beyond their comfort zone.

During a discussion with journalist Joe Bosso, Alex Lifeson talked about some of the songs and solos from across the Rush catalogue that he considered his favourite. Highly celebrated works like ‘Limelight’ came up, as did slightly more obscure album tracks like the Grace Under Pressure cut ‘Kid Gloves’. Lifeson also singled out the difficulty of playing one of Rush’s more pop-adjacent tracks, the Permanent Waves track ‘Freewill’.

“It’s a really hard solo to play. I think I feel a certain amount of pride in that fact alone,” Lifeson explained. “Every time I play it, I’m amazed I got through it. It’s so frenetic and exciting. The rhythm section too – Geddy and Neil are all over the place. It’s probably one of the most ambitious pieces of music Rush has ever done.”

Featuring rapidly changing time signatures and densely-packed arrangements featuring all three musicians playing at the top of their combined abilities, ‘Freewill’ was the platonic ideal that Rush was after when they decided to cut back on the epic-length compositions after 1978’s Hemispheres. The trio figured that they could pack a major punch into shorter songs, and ‘Freewill’ was one of the most successful experiments in that regard.

“In a sense, everybody’s soloing at the same time,” Lifeson said. He also revealed that his solo in the song was spontaneous. “Recording it, I didn’t have anything planned; I was just responding to what the other guys did. Basically, I was just trying to keep up! But I think it worked out pretty well. I’m rather happy with it, and I can usually find fault with everything I do.”

Check out ‘Freewill’ down below.