Sound — 10
First off, I can't believe nobody has reviewed this album yet! This is one of Rush's best albums ever, and it is extremely popular (well, as popular as Rush gets). The sound is amazing, and all of the instruments sound great. The production quality is awesome, and I love Alex's tone for his guitars! This album was more Rock/FM oriented, so it's a bit more commercial than other concept albums like Hemispheres and 2112.
Lyrics — 9
01. Tom Sawyer - we start the album with a classic. Really good vocals from Geddy, and a cool solo. From the synth intro, to the great lyrics written by Neil, this song rocks. 02. Red Barchetta - this starts with a cool harmonic intro, with a kind of more laid back feel. The lyrics are futuristic I suppose, about a kid visiting his uncle who has a Red Barchetta (nice car, BTW) and he takes it for a ride, and ends up racing other people in "alloy air-cars." Great song, with cool tones. 03. YYZ - there it is, one the coolest intrumentals I've ever heard. The song has no lyrics, but it really rocks. The guitars sound awesome, the bass work is great, and drums are amazing. I really like their performance of this on Rush In Rio. Also, in case you were wondering, YYZ is the area code for the Toronto airport, where Rush are from. 04. Limelight - a great rock song, with a cool opening riff. I love his distortion here. Alex is the master of creating cool tones. The lyrics are great, and talk about fame and what it means to different people. Geddy's vocals are awesome on this one. 05. The Camera Eye - this is more of a classic style Rush song, and it clocks in at about 11 minutes. It uses some good synth work, and sound effects from cities. The lyrics are mostly about the bustling cities of the world. Great guitar work as well. 06. Witch Hunt - a different song, with strong lyrics about prejudice and hate. Really creepy sounding, and heavy on the synth. Still a good one though. 07. Vital Signs - another different one, that hints at the sound the Rush would have later on in the eighties, with a lot of synth, and more chord work by the guitars instead of solos. Still a catchy song, with great vocals.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, it's a tremendous album, and it's probably the best album for people who are just getting into Rush, and don't want to be scared off by the 10 minute intstrumentals and concept songs of earlier albums. The album that is closest to this one would probably be Permanent Waves, which is also pretty mainstream friendly. I love it to death, and if I lost it, I would by another one, because I have all of their albums, and wouldn't want a space in my collection!