Day 103: A song by your favorite band/artist whose name begins with “R”.

“The Enemy Within” – Rush

Grace Under PressureThe “R” entry is a little out of order, but considering I was informed today is the 30th anniversary of the release of Rush’s Grace Under Pressure album (or at least it would be if I wasn’t days behind) I figured I’d move things around. Plus, I’m long overdue for my first Rush entry.

And since one of my favorite Rush songs (and possibly the favorite), “The Enemy Within” is found on Grace Under Pressure (which I keep wanting to type as “pressuer” for some-possibly-pseudo-Canadian reason), I decided it was a good fit.

Plus shaking things up a little never hurt anyone. (Except babies. Don’t shake babies up. The results will not be good.)

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I’m a keyboard guy, but as documented multiple times here, a good bass line will suck me in like there’s no tomorrow. Now, Geddy Lee is no slouch on the bass, and while this one doesn’t sound technically difficult, it’s driving and fast.

Couple the bass with some really good interplay between Alex Lifeson’s reggae-inspired guitar playing, and you’ve got a recipe for musical success. At least I think so. I especially love that interplay after Geddy finishes up the lyrics (with a “Hey, yeah yeah yeah!”) and the bass line and guitar pick up the pace once again until fade. Brilliant! (It may be that particular moment that makes this my favorite. Funny how it can come down to something that specific.)

Lyrically, “The Enemy Within” is part of Neil Peart’s “Fear” trilogy (which ended up having four parts, but hey), which deals with, funnily enough, fear. What causes it, how we handle it, and so on. This song particularly deals with phobias. Fear really is “the enemy within.” It keeps us all from doing so many things that we’re capable of. And while fear is a good natural reaction to real danger, there are far too many things we do or don’t do because of the fear of danger that is perceived, but not real.

That will be the extent of my affirmation speech today. But I will be at the convention center this weekend. Admission is $20 at the door.

But back to the topic of lyrics: while it’s not the song’s lyrics that really make it a favorite, I’ve always really liked this particular couplet: “Suspicious-looking stranger/flashes you a dangerous grin.” This one line paints such a picture for me; you don’t need to know anything else that is going on to feel the peril. If you’re like me, you can actually see this guy. Once again: Brilliant! (For the record, I have no affiliation with Guinness. Nor any affinity toward Guinness. Blech.)

Bring it all together and what do you get? The song that inspired my inaugural Rush entry. For the record, it is unlikely to be the last.

But don’t fear it. (Or the reaper, but that’s a topic for another day.)