#98 - Alex Lifeson
Repeated listens to the recommended tracks and a more general survey leaves me with an "I guess you had to be there" kind of feeling. The playing is no doubt proficient (although I wonder whether there is a touch of over-hype of a middling technician in the lumpen field of popular rock) and the list of influencees stretching from Metallica to all manner of modern Radiohead and Muse types, is certainly impressive.
My brother once quotably (for it is so!) derided Ian McEwan as being like Martin Amis but without the jokes. So too, Rush come across like King Crimson without the preposterousness that makes King Crimson so very necessary. You get the feeling that Alex and his chums spend more than a little time in front of the mirror, and this self-regard bleeds through almost every note. I don't know what most of the members of King Crimson even look like despite owning over 10 of their albums and having seen them live twice (I can only assume that both Fripp and Belew will make this list, so more of them later).
The arpeggios really started to get me down after a while. It's all sweeping lushness between sexless riffing.
There is nothing even slightly raunchy about it. The opening strains of no riff made me think "I must start a band!". I feel unkind and unqualified with this one. He does nothing wrong but I can find little to recommend Alex. But, perhaps if I were younger, or gave him more time the majesty would be revealed (for he is widely and highly regarded, both critically and with a bazillion album sales).
Unfortunately, in the reordered list I have just decided to maintain, he comes in at 100 with Thurston a clear first. What a cruel indictment to put him behind Lindsay!!! But just because I can't stand Lindsay's songs doesn't take away from his guitar invention.