The Camera Eye: Background
“‘The Camera Eye’ is an 11-minute battle between barbed riffs from Alex and tidal synthesizers from Geddy.”–Martin Popoff, Contents Under Pressure
The piece “focuses on a lighter mood [than ‘Limelight’] in an attempt to capture what was perhaps the most unique talent of a half-forgotten, early 20th century American writer. John Dos Passos [one of whose books is The Camera Eye] is not ranked highly in the canon of literature nowadays, but he helped expand the limits of the novel much like Rush were trying to do with music. And this song, more than any essay about Dos Passos, captures his wide-eyed sense of wonder and ability to see the magic of life. It describes the feeling of place that one can experience in New York or London or any town anywhere that . . . [has] a character and a quality its own.”—Bill Banasiewicz, Rush Visions
“The contrast between possibilities [London] and hard realities [New York City] is exactly the same one that’s drawn by H.P. Lovecraft in his short story ‘He,’ in a semi-autobiographical monument to his unhappy ‘New York exile.’ . . . Lovecraft lived for a few years in New York City, a prospect he first greeted with eagerness, but soon it palled on him. The possibility and the reality of New York proved to be two quite different things. . . . [And, like Neil,] Lovecraft chose yesterday’s London as his point of comparison and contrast with today’s New York.”—Carol Selby Price and Robert Price, Mystic Rhythms
“The sampled cinematic street sounds are from ‘Metropolis’ in Superman: The Movie. Part one is about New York and the hard realities, while part two is about London and the possibilities, the two verses linked by rain. Chase scenes in Incident at Channel Q [a 1986 movie by Storm Thorgerson about suburbanites taking a dim view of heavy metal] used some of the faster parts in the song.”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players
~ by rvkeeper on January 11, 2011.