BU2B: Background

Sulphur

This “faith-bashing” piece (as Neil describes it) returns to themes discussed in a number of earlier Rush songs in which religion and other early influences try to mold us into conformists. “The Way the Wind Blows” from Snakes & Arrows and “The Weapon” from Signals are two examples. As in those songs, the narrator in “Brought Up to Believe” talks about the pressure from establishment figures to accept things as they are even though we live in a world in which everyone must fail. The piece also recalls “Prime Mover” on Hold Your Fire, which talks about the idea of god as a watchmaker, who has set the world in motion but now it’s just spinning on its own. (More on this.) Musically, the piece is characterized by dissonant, angry guitar and bass parts that only stabilize at the choruses.

Neil calls this piece a soliloquy. Where “Caravan” provides a wide-angle look at the world the young man lives in, “BU2B” provides that same world from the point of view of the young man.

Alex says in a MusicRadar interview he likes BU2B for its heaviness. “It’s huge in the old Zep way—it’s got that big, blues-oriented riff. The chorus is very energetic, and the sentiment of the lyrics really sets it up for what’s coming. For guitars, I used a ’59 Les Paul and a Tele, and it’s one of the songs where I layered them. There’s probably six tracks of guitar. I recorded a new opening that wasn’t on the version we put out last year. For people who don’t know, mixing can be terribly tedious—it’s hurry up and wait. Ideally, you want to be out of the room and come in when the mix is ready so that you can be very objective about it. Consequently, there’s a lot of sitting around and, ‘Hmm, what am I going to do today?’ I had Logic set up in my hotel room, and I was goofing around and doing some writing. I had a few guitars—there was one of my Axcess models and a Martin I borrowed from the Guitar Center—and I got a mic. We had talked about doing this little segue, so we stuck the mic outside my balcony and recorded some background sounds: Los Angeles in the morning, cars going by, stuff like that. With the balcony doors open, I did a little guitar pass, and then Ged did his vocal thing. We messed around with a few effects and created the piece. It was all done very spontaneously in just a few minutes in my room.”

“A turgid, vaguely Metallica-ish riff kicks off this badass grinder over which Lee sings, ‘I was brought up to believe the universe has a plan / we are only human, it’s not ours to understand.’ But in typical Rush fashion, the song isn’t static, and in no time at all it zips into a brisk tempo. Lee’s bubbling bass progression suits the mood to a T. Another mean as all get-out verse follows, and then we’re tossed into a bridge of wonderfully atmospheric keyboards and guitars. Lifeson uncorks a brief zinger of a solo—piercing, sustained notes that recall the beginning of his classic “Tom Sawyer” star-turn (let’s hope it’s longer on the album version, as this is described as a “single”). The band hammers the final chorus home in dizzying form.”—Joe Bosso, MusicRadar

“Whereas the single version of BU2B that was released last year kicked down the barn door without warning, now it begins with lightly strummed acoustics. The main riff is just as smashing, however, a growling, grinding earth-mover over which Lee sings, “I was brought up to believe the universe has a plan/ we are only human, it’s not ours to understand.”
Most bands would stay right there, but Rush keep tossing the ball around—Lee and Peart lock in during the bridge at full gallop, with bass and drums pulsating and bubbling. A solemn, vaguely religious tone builds. Lee’s vocals take on a choir-like cadence, and then Lifeson uncorks a brief zinger of a solo, stabbing, thrusting notes that thrash the listener about before smacking headlong into the final chorus. A tough, forceful rocker that works its way into the thicket of your senses.”—Joe Bosso, MusicRadar

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~ by rvkeeper on January 12, 2011.

 
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