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Rush – The Pass
Dec 11, 2014
Rush – The Pass
Dec 10, 2014
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Explanation
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No hero in your tragedy
No daring in your escape
No salutes for your surrender
Nothing noble in your fate
Christ, what have you done
The final verse is a direct condemnation of the cult of "hero worship" that grew out of the World War II Japanese fighter pilots known as The Kamikaze meaning "spirit wind" or "divine wind." albeit spirit directly translates as "kami" making that a more accurate term.
The tradition of death instead of defeat, capture, and perceived shame was deeply entrenched in Japanese military culture. It was one of the primary traditions in the samurai life and the Bushido code: loyalty and honor until death.
Neil Peart, alarmed by the growing problem of youth suicide and the tendency to romanticize it, was very passionate about dispelling any and all myths that there is honor in taking one's own life for whatever reason. Stating directly that there is no honor and nothing heroic about suicide.
This song is about the tragedy of teen suicide and the myths that have been discovered to rationalize it as a heroic or noble act, like kamikaze pilots or suicide bombers that wear explosive vests into crowded public areas and detonate the device based on the premise of "entry into heaven" for their sacrifice.
Teen suicide is a worldwide tragedy that this song addresses without shame. It was meant to help kids that are dealing with sadness and depression, and it has been shown (i.e.,YouTube comments/praises) to have saved countless young lives since it's release in the early 1990's.
Rush – The Pass
Dec 10, 2014
+1
Explanation
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All of us get lost in the darkness
Dreamers learn to steer by the stars
All of us do time in the gutter
Dreamers turn to look at the cars
The first four lines in the chorus are Neil Peart's homage to nineteenth century poet, playwright and wit, Oscar Wilde. It comes from a line in the third act of Wilde's vastly successful play entitled, Lady Windermere’s Fan, a renown Victorian-era comedy that has continued to be performed on stages throughout the world ever since it opened in February, 1892. The sardonic line reads:
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
Both the original and Neil Peart's more contemporary update (a 20th century twist) express the essence of an artist's soul in the desire to find wonder and beauty even in the most unlikeliest of places.
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Explanation
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haven't got a steady job
He's referring to the original wave of Punk rock during the late 1970's. By 1979, the hardcore punk movement was emerging in Southern California. A rivalry developed between adherents of the new sound and the older punk rock crowd. Hardcore, appealing to a younger, more suburban audience, was perceived by some as anti-intellectual, overly violent, and musically limited. In Los Angeles, the opposing factions were often described as "Hollywood punks" and "beach punks", referring to Hollywood's central position in the original L.A. punk rock scene and to hardcore's popularity in the shoreline communities of South Bay and Orange County.
Agent Orange in from Orange County (hence their name) and is considered pioneers of Surf Punk.
As Hardcore became the dominant punk rock style, many bands of the older California punk rock movement split up, and the authorities began cracking down on the violence by closing hardcore venues and access to the bands.
The absence of these social venues are what these lyrics are referring to as "the scene."
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Explanation
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Cruising under your radar
Watching from satellites
Take a page from the red book
Keep them in your sights
Red alert
Red alert

Left and rights of passage
Black and whites of youth
Who can face the knowledge
That the truth is not the truth?
Obsolete
Absolute
Yes! I was right, its' definitely about a dad that is worried about his son.
He's clearly keeping an eye on him but doing do with a loe profile so the kid doesn't get spooked maybe. "Red alert" hints at danger ahead, perhaps, either for the son or for everyone. The "tip of the iceberg" means it is something colossal - no. Something titanic.
Then "left and rights of passage" is a terrific line because it's a pun concealing the term "rite of passage" which is a traditional point in a young person's life where he/she has ceremonially entered into adulthood and must now leave their childhood behind.
The "blacks and whites of youth" is a way of saying childhood was a simpler time when things were b/w. Now things become many shades of gray. Now a young adult must face the facts that certain things he may have held to be unyielding truths begin to reveal multifaceted and he must look at all the different sides now in order to understand things on a far deeper level.
Old lessens become obsolete; that's a fact that has always plagued the young sage. New things are discovered and earlier books that were held dear are placed upon the shelf to gather dust. Only one thing is ever certain - everything becomes obsolete, and that's absolute.
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Or roughly; The more things change, the more they stay the same.
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Explanation
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It's so hard to stay together
Passing through revolving doors
He's losing touch with loved ones because of the daily routines and schedules that keep them busy and consume their time with little or no satisfaction reciprocated.
I feel like it's a father talking to and missing his son, or wishing they could spend more quality time together. Pining for an earlier time when things weren't so dire.
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Explanation
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There's no swimming in the heavy water
No singing in the acid rain
Red alert
Red alert
Suggestions a futuristic society where the environment is a wreck and the little things in life (like swimming and tap dancing down the street in a light sprinkle) are becoming more scarce as the days spin through the weeks.
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Explanation
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Absalom
Absalom
Absalom
Absalom, Absalom! is a novel by William Faulkner. Neil Peart uses the name as an homage to Faulkner but also because of distinct visual similarities as well as obvious poetic associations it shares with the sequential phrase used above:
Obsolete
Absolute
Absalom also alludes to the favorite son of David from the Old Testament in the Bible, and the emotional impact of David's loss when Absalom was tragically killed.
Upon hearing of his son's death, David cried, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!"
Peart hoped to capture at least a fragment of that pain and sorrow with his poem, and this writer personally believes he accomplished that goal with grace.
+1
Explanation
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We'll dive into lava
This could be a thinly draped deference to a pulsating mosh pit of faces as seen from the stage.
Like the endless sea of faces are analogous of lava. Both the pyro-clastic surge of molten rock and the flowing waves of a mega-audience are raging with energy waiting to consume the performers up on stage.
And here too is mentioned a dangerous but exhillarating ritualistic act in rock and roll known as stage diving where performers (or anyone) jump or dive out onto the crowd as they catch the diver and pass him around like a wave in the ocean might carry a plastic bottle around.
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Explanation
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Frozen human
Run, they're freeing
Live forever
Horrid sculpture
Forever screaming
These are clues to the destructive forces in play as the volcano continues it's reign of blood red ash. Though deceptively simple these five lines swiftly unveil an eerily familiar stage found buried at the base of Mt Vesuvius; a stage frozen for nearly two millennia. Like a creepy chessboard of morbidly disfigured pieces randomly scattered about, the game was abruptly halted in 79 A.D. Twisted faces silently scream for evermore trapped at a moment of torment in a rain of suffocating fire.
This is some good story telling. The characters are classical heroes all caught at once in a 2000 degree bowl of plaster for the ages. And we are witness to once vast landscapes being crushed mercilessly under the thunderous roar of lava rivers shaking the earth.
Now only the stench of burning hair and faint echoes of scalded voices refuse to fade against the dying of the light.
A black cloud of ashes hides the sun.
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Explanation
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Mantle crust ignites
Bleeding, heated birth
This is a poetic way of describing the new born eruption of the volcano and the super heated destruction of the pyro-plastic flow and the rivers of molten lava that branch out like veins of super hot blood.
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Explanation
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Lunatic Fringe - I know you're out there
The Lunatic Fringe are the racially motivated pockets of (mostly) Hitler sympathizers and KKK members that promote the unpopular ideals of antisemitism and keep the desire of an Aryan master race alive.
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Explanation
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We're all on guard this time against the Final Solution
The Final Solution is a direct and deliberate reference to Adolph Hitler's goal of advancing an Aryan master race led by him and his German war machine. This plan led to the Holocaust (also known as the "Endlösung der Judenfrage" or "Final Solution of the Jewish Question")
Under Hitler's leadership and racially motivated ideology, the regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews, and millions of other victims whom he and his followers deemed racially inferior.
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Explanation
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There lived a lump of anthracite
Anthracite is a hard, compact variety of mineral coal that has a high, often semi-metallic, luster. It has the highest carbon content, the fewest impurities, and the highest calorific content of all other types of coal.
Unlike other coals used for heating homes and factories, anthracite ignites with difficulty and burns with a short, blue, and smokeless flame. During the American Civil War, Confederate blockade runners used anthracite as a smokeless fuel for their boilers to avoid giving away their position to the blockaders.
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