Top 10 Best Rush Albums

The Top Ten
1 Moving Pictures

The best commercial record by Rush because it has a couple of easy-to-relate-to songs: "Limelight" and "Tom Sawyer!" But as a diehard fan of 35 years, it is top ten, but not top five!

Usually, when a song or album is liked by the masses, it is more generic/mainstream than the rest. But the cool thing about this album is that most everyone I talked to said, "There are only 3 guys!? I thought there were 5 or 6!"

Top 10 for sure! Don't let sales and universal acceptance alter your view of this album. I know it's one of the best commercially, but is it the best artistically? I would put Clockwork Angels, Permanent Waves, Hemispheres, and the best they have ever done (even overlooked by them), by far the best solid album from start to finish: Counterparts!

2 2112

To me, it's not even debatable. Moving Pictures is a great album, as are most of Rush's albums. But, 2112 is their best album ever. The storytelling, the riffs, the space vibes, the guitar solos, the perfect drumming by Neil (he's always perfect in fairness), and probably the best bass lines Geddy Lee has ever provided. If you haven't seen the comic strips that accompany the video that were released by Rush recently, please do. It makes you appreciate the album even more. It's the most perfect album Rush came up with. I can't get enough of it.

3 Hemispheres

Hemispheres is by far the ultimate punctuation mark on the band's albums from the 1970s. These four songs stand against that of its more widespread counterparts, and yet the themes presented and musical complexity of all four tracks are the deepest on any album. Every facet of the band is in perfect harmony, and yet it still unequivocally rocks without being drowned out.

When comparing the songs here to similar ones from other albums, Hemispheres is just more cohesive as a unified work, and isn't just my favorite Rush album, but my favorite album, period.

4 Permanent Waves

Deciding on the best Rush album is a nearly impossible task. On one hand, you have Moving Pictures, a perfect meld of Rush's '70s and '80s eras. On the other hand, you have 2112, their absolute classic album that cemented them as a prog rock powerhouse, complete with that legendary title track. You could also argue that the extensive experimentation on Hemispheres, resulting in possibly the greatest rock instrumental ever, La Villa Strangiato, makes it the pinnacle Rush album.

Well, in my opinion (or at least for the moment), Permanent Waves is the defining Rush album. It incorporates elements from some of their greatest albums while also introducing new ones. The opening track, The Spirit of Radio, and the second track, Freewill, showcase the album's more radio-friendly and direct nature. At the same time, these songs maintain the well-thought-out and high-quality nature of previous Rush tracks.

The next song, Jacob's Ladder, almost sounds like a blend of elements from A Farewell to Kings, but it also introduces new elements.

Side 2 doesn't disappoint either. The first track on that side, Entre Nous, is a masterpiece reminiscent of something that could have come straight from A Farewell to Kings. The next song, Different Strings, is a more subdued piece that honestly reminds me a bit of Tears from 2112.

Then there's the final, and possibly greatest, track on the entire album: Natural Science. This song feels like a blend of elements from Hemispheres while also foreshadowing elements of Moving Pictures. It stands as one of the greatest songs Rush has ever created. All of these amazing songs come together to form the most polished and refined recording Rush has ever released.

5 A Farewell to Kings

You know... Xanadu is a masterpiece of prog-ness, like really complete by Cygnus X-1... And Closer to the Heart will blow your mind to Saturn, or Pluto. But musically, Rush is the size of Jupiter.

And do not rate this comment irrelevant because I am just comparing. A Farewell to Kings has like the best acoustic intro of the 70s, man!

After I had enough of my mum going on about Rush, I bought this. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made! From the brilliant nylon string intro to A Farewell to Kings, to the beautiful chaos of Cygnus X-1, I enjoyed every song.

I can't believe I put off listening to Rush for so long. A classic!

6 Signals

This album is a true masterpiece and, to me, the best moment of Rush as well. It is full of high-quality progressive rock compositions which make up a unique release in the history of rock music as a whole. It contains wonderful tracks that only a band with the musical skills and creative ability of Rush could ever create and perform. "Subdivisions" is simply one of the best songs ever written, and "The Analog Kid," "Chemistry," "Losing It," and "Countdown" are also spectacular.

This album is simply breathtaking in scope and vision. From the opening Subdivisions to the closing songs Losing It and Countdown (especially the latter), it is a tour de force that barely lets go of the listener.

I love Rush and their albums, although lately, they do not entertain me the way they used to. Apart from two songs, Clockwork Angels was a disastrous monologue. Together with Grace Under Pressure, Moving Pictures, and 2112, this is a classic!

7 Clockwork Angels

Three years ago, I voted for Signals. I still listen to that album, Moving Pictures, Hemispheres, and A Farewell to Kings on a regular basis. I truly thought that their best days were long gone when they released this masterpiece! This is possibly their most inspired work since their 1976 - 1982 heyday. Every song is a masterpiece in this song cycle, but the crowning glory, The Garden, brings a lump to my throat every time.

I love Rush. I hope that they go on for another ten years. But I really don't know if they can possibly end their career with a better song than The Garden or with a better album than Clockwork Angels. Well done, gentlemen!

8 Fly by Night

#9? Is this a joke? Fly by Night is an incredible album. Granted, personally, I love their heavier music, so this fits perfectly. Definitely deserves a top 3 spot, only behind Rush's two greatest masterpieces: 2112 and Moving Pictures.

My top 5 favorite albums are:

1. Moving Pictures
2. 2112
3. Fly by Night
4. Permanent Waves
5. A Farewell to Kings

I think this is at least in the top three next to 2112 and Hemispheres. I mean, this is as raw of Rush as you get. It's the first album with Neil Peart (which is their second album). Every song on there is just raw Rush.

9 Grace Under Pressure

For me, Grace Under Pressure has the best collection of songs. While there are better songs on different albums, as a collective, this is the best selection that Rush has ever produced.

The first four songs alone (Distant Early Warning, Afterimage, Red Sector A, The Enemy Within) are enough to put this album at the top of my personal list, followed by Hold Your Fire and Clockwork Angels personally.

Great, great rock and roll. Perhaps even better than the usual Rush album, it exemplifies the fact that you can't classify Rush. Are they hard rock? Are they prog? And then there was By-Tor and the Snow Dog. Talk about both lyrical and musical innovation.

It's interesting to ponder what Rush would have been if they continued with a hard rock path. Would they eventually have gone metal?

10 Caress of Steel

This is one of their best, in my opinion, up there with Hemispheres, Moving Pictures, and 2112. Bastille Day, I Think I'm Going Bald, Lakeside Park, The Necromancer, and The Fountain of Lamneth support this view. The Fountain of Lamneth is one of their best songs, in my opinion.

Bastille Day is my favorite Rush song. It's badass. If you deny the utmost awesomeness of The Necromancer (especially the middle section) or the beauty of The Fountain of Lamneth, then you are, quite frankly, wrong.

I only wish this album didn't get so much hate.

The Contenders
11 Power Windows

The greatest album of all time. The production could be the best ever on any album. It's very '80s sounding, yet that is what makes the album so good and gives it such a powerful sound. Plus, every instrument is clear and the dynamics are insane. I always test new audio hardware with this album.

When it comes to the content itself, the lyrics are very thoughtful and the music is unbelievable. It is the perfect blend between rock, pop, New Wave, and prog. Geddy Lee has never sounded better, Neil Peart kills it like always, and Alex Lifeson's guitar solo on "Emotion Detector" is his absolute best. Easily the trio's finest hour.

12 Rush

Easily the best of the hard rock era of Rush. Fly By Night is bogged down by Rivendell and Making Memories, Caress of Steel has The Fountain of Lameness - sorry, Lamneth, and 2112 is their second best out of the first four by just a tiny little margin (that little margin is Tears).

This album rocks hard from start to finish. No weak songs on the album at all in my opinion. But that's all this is, isn't it? An opinion.

Has to be the last of the top 19 (don't count Feedback) because it is without Peart and it sounds like Zeppelin on steroids, except for drums. Simple songwriting for 18-year-olds. Great raw guitar by a healthy Alex! Rush's worst is better than all!

13 Counterparts

I've thought Counterparts has been underrated for years now. It shows a maturity in Peart's writing. Cold Fire is really appealing to all of us who've been challenged in adult relationships. Between Sun and Moon is great fun, and Cut to the Chase is an awesome motivational song.

As far as the best Rush songs go, I would argue it may very well be Double Agent.

Three words: "Animate" and "Nobody's Hero." Two of the most underrated rock songs ever released, this album really shows off just how good Neil Peart is as a lyricist. "Alien Shore" is another personal favorite.

14 Snakes & Arrows

This will always be my favorite. It's a damn shame to see it so low.

15 Roll the Bones

I am a long-time Rush fan and appreciate all of their work. RTB is without a doubt my favorite Rush album and one of my most played albums from any artist. I think the album has huge pop sensibility, and well, I'm a sucker for studio polish. This is an amazingly engineered album filled with soaring, airy guitar solos and plenty of reverb. Totally my cup of tea.

Counterparts was a solid follow-on and definitely a close relative, with only "Leave That Thing Alone," the instrumental from Counterparts, besting "Where's My Thing," the instrumental from RTB. But there is only one Roll the Bones. No other Rush album has this exact feel. Many of their albums can boast a unique feel. This one is my personal favorite.

16 Exit...Stage Left

This is like a live "Best Of" album of songs from my favorite period of Rush ("Farewell to Kings," "Hemispheres," "Permanent Waves," "Moving Pictures").

I think many of the songs on here are superior to their original studio versions, especially the older songs where Geddy originally sang them with that annoying "banshee wail."

It is the Rush album that prompted me to buy all the prior Rush albums.

This is by far the best Rush album for the reasons already given previously. As said, this album has all the best songs created by the group until the early 80s. The mood in this album is also the best they had as a live testimony of their work.

It is a must-have to really know what Rush is capable of giving us.

17 Vapor Trails

This is by far the best album they put out since their comeback. What a comeback album! It's so emotional and raw. The musical compositions are fascinating, and the lyrics are personal and just plain poetic.

A vastly underrated album (even by the band members themselves). It's too bad the production of this album (and the newest one too) is so poor. With proper production, this could become the classic Rush album of the 2000s.

This album isn't liked because of the production. But if you get the remastered version, it's great!

18 Presto

To echo the others, this is a very underrated album in my opinion. Though I can't definitively say I think it's the 'best' Rush album, as different moods fit different albums, it's usually my go-to when I want a Rush fix. Though darker and more subdued tonally and lyrically than much of their earlier work, it's still very much Rush in my mind. I must admit that this album was my first introduction to Rush, so there may be some nostalgia at work in my fondness for it.

Easily Rush's most underrated album. The songs are catchy, well-done, and emotional. Show Don't Tell is a very good opener. The Pass is a very emotional, beautiful but sad song. The band members justly say that it's one of their favorite songs.

Scars has a great rhythm. Superconductor is catchy, Red Tide is somewhat apocalyptic, and Available Light is perhaps Rush's greatest closing song.

19 All The World's A Stage

One of the best live albums ever. Rush showcases their talent and their hardest sound with a perfect blend of melody.

There's nothing else like it.

Certainly Rush's "Alive." If the drums were louder and the guitar quieter, this would be one of the best live albums ever.

Totally raw and energy-filled. Geddy's voice is in his prime!

20 Different Stages
21 Vapor Trails (Remixed)

Better than the original version. The original sounds like crap.

22 Rush in Rio

Possibly Rush's greatest live album. Nearly three hours of some of their greatest songs and for a great price! The production value is spot on, and the audience reaction is brilliant.

By far the best Rush live album, but in all honesty, Moving Pictures was the best.

23 A Show of Hands

A Show of Hands is getting no love here! This is a hugely underrated live set. Rush fans, you need to revisit this album. I have this live set in regular rotation and, across the board, all of the songs in this live set are better than the studio versions! Don't believe me? Have a listen: Mission (better solo), Witch Hunt (amazing guitar tone/crunch before there was Grunge Rock, a clear influence of that sound), Big Money (great here, but the Rush in Rio version is better), and by far the best version of Manhattan Project. Force Ten, Marathon, and Subdivisions are also standouts.

24 R40 Live

In my opinion, this live album is Rush's swan song. My dad and mum went to see it live in Las Vegas, and I could have come as my mum didn't appreciate it as much as I would have.

25 R30
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