Fearless Dream

reflections of a pragmatic optimist, lover of freedom

Month: January 2009 (page 1 of 7)

Rush: Something for Nothing

This is the final post in a series of six, in which I’m lyricblogging the 1976 Rush album 2112. To start at the beginning, see the post that started it all here.

“Something for Nothing” is the gem and culmination of 2112, the part I’ve been most eager to get to — a song I can listen to again and again, and a parting bit of imparted wisdom that sticks deep in your mind where it belongs.

Neil Peart (Rush’s peerless drummer and primary lyricist) is well known for having drawn inspiration from Ayn Rand’s “Objectivist” philosophy, and he has surely produced no more direct expression of that influence than in “Something for Nothing”, which is both a wake-up call to the dreamer who has yet to back his plans up with committed and decisive action, and a fierce defense of the individual’s right to take pride in and enjoy profit from his own hard-won achievements.

“Something for Nothing” is a worthy anthem to rouse you to action when you crawl reluctantly out of bed in the morning, or to keep in your head through late night entrepreneurial labors of love when exhaustion might drive others to their comfortable beds. Its bold, ringing declaration has surely changed my life for the better, and I hope it will do the same for others.

Something for Nothing

Waiting for the winds of change
To sweep the clouds away
Waiting for the rainbow’s end
To cast its gold your way
Countless ways
You pass the days

Waiting for someone to call
And turn your world around
Looking for an answer to
The question you have found
Looking for
An open door

You don’t get something for nothing
You can’t have freedom for free
You won’t get wise with the sleep still in your eyes
No matter what your dream might be

What you own is your own kingdom
What you do is your own glory
What you love is your own power
What you live is your own story
In your head is the answer
Let it guide you along
Let your heart be the anchor
And the beat of your own song

You don’t get something for nothing
You can’t have freedom for free
You won’t get wise with the sleep still in your eyes
No matter what your dream might be

Previous: Tears

2112The Complete Album

  1. 2112
  2. A Passage to Bangkok
  3. The Twilight Zone
  4. Lessons
  5. Tears
  6. Something for Nothing

Rush: Tears

This is the fifth post in a series of six, in which I’m lyricblogging the 1976 Rush album 2112. To start at the beginning, see the post that started it all here.

“Tears” is where the album gets philosophically interesting to me again, as its longing, reflective lyrics seem to pose a profound question about the value of compassion and its limits.

“What would touch me deeper?”, the song asks, “Tears that fall from eyes that only cry?” Tears draw our natural sympathy, but their meaning is diluted when coming from someone for whom we know they flow frequently and freely.

“Would it touch you deeper, than tears that fall from eyes that know why?” Whose tears carry the greater sorrow, or should be ascribed the greater gravity? Those of the ignorant and consequently helpless, or the more reservedly given tears of one who sees and understands the world through the lens of reason, and is moved by a deeper understanding of its workings and flaws?

Tears

All of the seasons and all of the days
All of the reasons why I’ve felt this way
So long…
So long

Then lost in that feeling I looked in your eyes
I noticed emotion and that you had cried
For me,
I can see

What would touch me deeper…
Tears that fall from eyes that only cry?
Would it touch you deeper
Than tears that fall from eyes that know why?

A lifetime of questions, tears on your cheek
I tasted the answers and my body was weak
For you,
The truth.

What would touch me deeper…
Tears that fall from eyes that only cry?
Would it touch you deeper
Than tears that fall from eyes that know why?

Previous: Lessons | Next: Something for Nothing

2112The Complete Album

  1. 2112
  2. A Passage to Bangkok
  3. The Twilight Zone
  4. Lessons
  5. Tears
  6. Something for Nothing
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