Some thoughts from the future:
I wrote these back in 2005; I was genuinely in a period of rediscovery. Looking back at them (looking back at my looking back, if you follow me), I’m struck by how much of this really felt new to me. This may be something of a spoiler, but the ‘rediscovering’ thing worked – I became fully immersed in the music of Rush again, and when I listen to these songs now, I am coming back to them having last heard them a few weeks, or at most, months ago. This also suffers from the inevitable issues with starting a new project without having found a comfortable way to approach it. I did, in the end, stick pretty much to the ‘introduction – side 1 – side 2 – summary’ structure (it gets a little trickier in the age of CDs), but I like to think that as time goes on I give a little more thought to the whole thing.
Since I wrote that, I have bought the ‘Archives’ vinyl set all over again – I have now, to my everlasting joy and delight, returned to the world of record-buying as it was meant to be – I still don’t own a copy of this album on its own on vinyl; no doubt I’ll get round to it eventually. There’s, of course, a pristine digital copy on my hard drive, and (perhaps equally unsurprisingly) I don’t listen to either version all that much. It remains, as I said, perfectly fine, but not exactly representative of the band, and while I’m glad it exists, and hearing any of the tracks makes me smile, I don’t reach for this if I want a slice of early Rush.
NB: these 2018 reflections will be posted as if I’d skipped back in time, to keep them in a logical place in the flow – I actually wrote this in February 2018.