Cut to the Chase: Background

“The line ‘ambition is the fire’ is subliminally heard in the second verse of the song, which recalls others from the Rush catalog. The line ‘young enough to remember the future’ recalls ‘New World Man.’ ‘Chooses an uphill climb’ recalls ‘Marathon,’ and a ‘bearing on magnetic north’ recalls ‘Prime Mover.'”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players

“Genius is the fire that lights itself.”—Neil in the liner notes for Burning For Buddy

More about “Cut to the Chase”

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~ by rvkeeper on January 12, 2011.

2 Responses to “Cut to the Chase: Background”

  1. When I heard this song for the first time, it just screamed Schopenhauer to me (specifically Will as the root of everything). When I read Traveling Music, of course, it includes the story about how Neil got schistosomiasis on a trip to Africa but the doctors in Toronto missed it at first. While ill and collating notes from the trip, he decided to research the man (Schopenhauer) who had written a quote he found particularly distasteful. While browsing the encyclopedia (remember those?) for Schopenhauer, he came upon schistosomiasis and suggested that as a diagnosis to his doctor who confirmed it. Counterparts’ lyrics would be written shortly thereafter and I do think that this episode inspired, in some small way, “Cut to the Chase”.

    • I’m not that familiar with Schopenhauer, but I’d be interested to hear more on this. I remember that story about Neil coming down with schistosomiasis. There’s a lesson in that: take responsibility for yourself and not rely on others, I guess. I think with “Cut to the Chase” Neil might be referencing the sui generis character of genius, and the fact that it will either succeed or go down in flames.

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