SOUNDTRACK: TRIUMPH-Just a Game (1979).
When I was a kid, my love of Rush was followed closely by my love of Triumph (I had a thing for Canadian power trios). I’ve recently read a bunch about Triumph and was surprised to hear how acrimonious the band was. Of course, I didn’t care about any of that back in the 80s.
This album was my favorite (even though Allied Forces was their major breakthrough). In my gate-fold album the inner foldout was an actual board game. How thoughtful!
It’s funny listening now, how much I liked this album back then because there is definitely some cheese here. And I could never decide if I liked drummer Gil Moore’s songs or Rik Emmet’s songs best. “Movin On” is a great hit but the backing vocals and “on and on” parts are kind of wimpy 70s rock–I must have blocked it out while jamming to the guitar solo.
Rik Emmet has since gone on to a successful solo career. But on “Lay It On the Line,” the song that got me into them (thanks MTV) Rik rocks like he loves this band and this music. The song features some serious guitar workouts and some impressive vocal acrobatics.
Perhaps, in hindsight, I like Rik’s songs better, as “Yong Enough to Cry” is pretty cheesy (it was fun to sing along to when I was 13 though–even if I never understood Gil’s pain, man). But all of that was forgiven for the majesty of “American Girls.” Sure, it’s also a cheesy song, but man it rocks. As a young kid, I loved hearing the national anthem in the middle of the song. And that solo is non-stop.
“Just a Game” is a powerhouse of a song although it’s a little long for what it is. But then there’s the amazing “Fantasy Serenade” just over 90 second of beautiful classical guitar (a direction he’s go in much more after leaving Triumph). It’s wonderful as a solo and it works as an amazing intro to the majestic “Hold On” (a song about music that doesn’t suck). Although admittedly, the single version is better without the weird disco instrumental in the middle that really kind of puts a kibosh on the flow of the song.
The album ends with the strange (and quite long for what is it) “Suitcase Blues,” a 3 minute slow blues about touring. But hey it showcases diversity, eh?
Even though many people compare Triumph to Rush, I think the more likely comparison is actually Kiss. “American Girls” has a real Kiss vibe towards the end, and the opening chords of “Movin’ On” have a real Kiss feel. Regardless, they played great metal/rock/prog and I’ll always love them for it.
[READ: February 12, 2012] Ready Player One
Do you like Rush? Do you like Monty Python? Do you like the 80s? (not those 80s, but cool 80s like Blade Runner, coin op video games, Family Ties, Square Pegs?) Then you absolutely must read this book. Especially if you like Rush, because how often does Rush form a plot point in a book?
Sarah was reading this book and she insisted that I read it (she has really been passing on the good suggestions lately!). And when I heard her playing Rush a few days after reading this book (and she doesn’t like Rush), I knew I had to read it.
But what is it? Well, It is basically the story of an online quest to find a secret egg and win a massive fortune. The egg was placed in a virtual world by its creator, James Halliday. Halliday was “a nerd uber-deity on the level of Gygax, Garriott, and Gates.” He created amazing video games and ultimately the most amazing virtual reality space ever: OASIS. (For Atari geeks, his inspiration for getting into creating video games in the first place was the Atari game Adventure). Halliday was obsessed with the 19080s (the decade he grew up in), with technology and with geeky movies. The only way to find this egg in OASIS is to know a thing or two (or 1,000,000) about the man who created it and the decade he loved.
If you were hooked by the first paragraph, you’ve already put this book on hold. If you were hooked by the third paragraph, you know you have to put this book on hold. If you’re not convinced yet let me back up.
It is the year 2044. The earth is in a hellish state–there’s no fuel, there’s no jobs, people live in trailers that are stacked on top of each other. Life sucks. Except for OASIS. OASIS is the virtual world created by Halliday. At this stage in the world, OASIS is where most people go to school (cheaper and easier to do virtual teaching) and where many people spend most of their lives. It’s depressing and horrible (and I actually didn’t enjoy the opening chapters all that much because it was really horrible and at a times a bit more caustic than I was expecting–but that changes quite a lot).
So Halliday invented OASIS as an idealized pace. It was originally a multi-player game but soon became a new place to live, a kind of Eden. It was free to join and you didn’t have to pay to play. Although you needed credits to travel (or to build your own buildings or planets or whatnot), you could stay on the main world (which looks a whole hell of a lot nicer than the real world) and just hang out for free. You can earn points through various achievements which would let you travel (or you could always hitch a ride with a friend) around the worlds.
Anyhow, when Halliday died, as his last will, he created a contest in OASIS. Anyone who could find the three keys and unlock the three gates would win his entire fortune (billions of dollars) and total control of OASIS.
The protagonist (Wade in the real world, Perzival in the OASIS world) is telling his tale because he was the first avatar to find the first key to Halliday’s Hunt (it took over five years to find the first key). If you played D&D, this section will make you smile.
When Perzival found the key he was suddenly famous because everyone on OASIS knew it was found. Prior to this moment, the “leader board” which previously listed only Halliday, now suddenly lit up with Perzival’s name. (Good thing OASIS avatars are anonymous, right?) (more…)
Read Full Post »