GEDDY LEE – My Favourite Headache (Atlantic, 2000)
I have owned this album twice now. I bought it when it first came out, then a couple years later Lemon Kurri Klopek hooked me with up with a copy autographed by Ged himself! As a diehard Rush fan, this album is one of my prized possesions.
I just don’t enjoy it as much as Geddy’s Rush discs.
The title refers to Geddy’s love of music — a source of satisfaction and frustration, his “favourite headache”. Personally, I was disappointed by the album. I thought the songwriting was not up to standard, treading familiar waters already crossed on Test For Echo. The playing is competant enough. I mean, you can’t go wrong with Matt Cameron and Jeremy Taggart on drums, can you? Ben Mink is a fine multi-instrumentalist, but there is no shredding like you’re used to on Rush albums. (Geddy also plays guitar himself.)
Can a listener separate Geddy as a solo artist from Rush? It is very difficult to do. Whatever Geddy writes, sings, and plays is going to automatically sound something like Rush. But without Alex and Neil, of course it won’t sound exactly like Rush. And that is more the fault of the listener (me) than the artist (Geddy). I personally cannot separate the two.
There’s some monstrous playing here — just listen to that opening bass on “My Favourite Headache”. There’s also some decent riffs (“The Present Tense”). There’s some passion (“Working at Perfekt”) but very little that stands out as memorable, as classic, or something you just crave to hear again. In general the songs here are all pleasant, solid rockers (with a few slower tunes). Geddy’s lyrics are weak at times (“Home on the Strange”) but his singing is good and the production is excellent.
Best tune: The final one, “Grace to Grace” which is the only one that really cooks.
The cover art is pretty disappointing. I’m sure it meant something to someone along the way, but to me it’s just a generic cover that could have been on any album in the faceless morass of the 1990’s.
3/5 stars. Not bad, but no stand-outs.