The Angels’ Share

Background and Commentary

The phrase “the angels’ share” refers to the amount of whiskey or wine that’s lost in the aging process (as it evaporates, it goes up to the heavens for the angels to enjoy), but here it refers to the amount of knowledge we lose as we grow older. The piece draws on the ancient Greek idea that we’re born with perfect knowledge, which we then lose as we grow older and think in more rational ways. Geddy asks us to consider whether our dreams are one of the ways the angels try to tell us what’s going on from a celestial standpoint. “We dream, we hypothesize / Maybe these are secrets shared by those / Watching from the sky.” The word “seraphin” in the line “A seraphin joke of eternity” refers to the highest order of angels, so when Geddy sings that line he appears to be suggesting that our loss of perfect knowledge at birth is probably a source of amusement for the gods. If that’s the case, that’s fine for the gods, but it’s a source of frustration for us. As he says, “If you can solve the problem / Come and tell me to my face.”—Rob Freedman, Rush Vault

In this piece, I’m asking the question, “What if the heavens were full of characters designed to interfere with our lives as opposed to help them? And I mean this in a playful way, of course. The chorus speaks to the frustration of that mischief.”—Geddy in Barnes & Noble online chat, reproduced in Merely Players, Robert Telleria

“I was thinking about the histoy of the concept of angels and how often the existence of angels on human life that come up in folklore.”—Geddy in TV Guide Online, reproduced in Merely Players, Robert Telleria

“The acoustic guitar dominates ‘The Angels’ Share,’ one of two soft songs on the album. It’s a beautiful one, about how little man knows in comparison to celestial beings. It is one of the most memorable songs on the album, with exquisite strings brought in here and there. There is a rare guitar solo in the end.”—Epignosis on Prog Archives

“The string-laden, almost romantic “The Angels’ Share” and “Slipping” see Lee’s vocals at their emotional best.”—Raff on Prog Archives

“’The Angels’ Share’ is also quite good, a mellow tune with some orchestration.”—Mellotron Storm on Prog Archives

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Lyrics

The angels share
The secrets of the universe
It’s seldom fair
Partly blessing partly curse

All those things we cannot know
We dream, we hypothesize
Maybe these are secrets shared by those
Watching from the sky

If we are only members of the human race
No supernatural beings from a supranatural place
If you can solve the problem
Come and tell me to my face

The angels share
All the human mysteries
There is no prayer
To the thieves of celestial history

The myth of perfect wisdom
We’ve forgotten at birth
It’s a kind of clandestine conspiracy
A seraphin joke of eternity

If we are only members of the human race
No supernatural beings from a supranatural place
If you can solve the problem
Come and tell me to my face

All those things we cannot know
We dream, we hypothesize
Maybe these are secrets shared by those
Watching from the sky

If we are only members of the human race
No supernatural beings from a supranatural place
If you can solve the problem
Come and tell me to my face

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~ by rvkeeper on March 31, 2011.

 
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