2112 (reissue)

While Rush began dabbling in more complex arrangements on 1975's Caress of Steel, it wasn't until their 1976 masterpiece 2112 that the Canadian trio fully emerged from the Zep-blues monotony to become a prog-rock titan. And 2112—from the Starman emblem on the back of the record that has covered the back of many a denim jacket, to the futuristic seven-suite title track—has become Rush's signature work. In what will be a year of reissues of the band's classic albums, 2112 gets the remaster treatment this month; and, simply put—it sounds fantastic. The swirling synth intro to “Overture”—the first suite of side one's “2112”—sounds even more chilling and robotic, and Geddy Lee's winding bass lines are warmer and fuller. The song itself, inspired by the writings of Ayn Rand, tells the story of mankind falling under the control of the “Priests of the Temples of Syrinx” It's the sort of sci-fi nerdery that would stick with Rush for better or worse (mostly better) for the next three decades. The album's second side is far less ambitious, but equally melodic and layered. “A Passage to Bangkok,” “Lessons” and album closer “Something for Nothing” are all Rush classics, still worthy of air-drum circles and D&D parties from now till the year 2112.