I was always disappointed in Rush’s Vapor Trails. Even though I knew it was a miracle it ever got made, seeing how Neil Peart had disappeared after the death of his wife and daughter, and for awhile his bandmates didn’t even know if he was still alive.
Peart eventually returned, learned how to play drums again, and continued his healing while recording the album. But it was an aural mess — mixed way too loud, way too muddy, and I couldn’t makes heads or tails out of what they were playing.
But it’s been remixed… and it’s a revelation. It’s like hearing it for the very first time. Now I can finally hear the songs, the instruments and even the lyrics. Some of the remixing changes the balance between instruments so you might hear some bits you never heard before. One song had acoustic guitars in it that I never knew were there. Purists might complain that they’re pulling a George Lucas by changing it, but most fans were never satisfied with the horrible, muddy mix to begin with, so this is more repair work than repainting. And the band was never happy with it, so why not?
It’s still not their greatest (certainly not as great as their classics Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures, or a later classic like Counterparts), but it sounds so much better I’ll give it more than a few spins now.
(By the way kids, “spins” is how we oldsters refer to playing music from a CD or a vinyl album. See, way back in prehistoric times music came on physical objects that had to “spin” around to play. Imagine that!)