Thanks for visiting! This site has moved to, where all new posts will appear! Please update your bookmarks accordigly.

The new feed URL is:

“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”
— Thucydides

“A civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”
— Jean-François Revel

Rush: A Passage to Bangkok

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This is the second 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 yesterday here.

I had a lot to write about the album’s title track, “2112”, which is quite long and dense with interesting material, and seemed in need of detailed description/explanation. For this second track, “A Passage to Bangkok” (which, it may relieve you to learn, is only three and a half minutes long) and some others, I’ll largely just post the lyrics — in no small part because the song’s role in the overall story is still a bit of an enigma to me.

My best guess so far is that it describes the return to Earth of the “Elder Race of Man” mentioned in the title track — which, interestingly, would seem to imply that the ominous chant of “We have assumed control” that’s repeated at the end of the previous track is not a malevolent declaration by the Priests of the Temple of Syrinx, but a proclamation by the Elder Race that they’ve arrived “to (re)claim the home where they belong”. Having returned home after a long exile, they travel the planet to survey all the old familiar places.

That’s just a guess though. This stuff is pretty out there. Rarely can Rush be accused of unimaginative lyrics…

A Passage to Bangkok

Our first stop is in Bogota
To check Columbian fields
The natives smile and pass along
A sample of their yield
Sweet Jamaican pipe dreams
Golden Acapulco nights
Then Morocco, and the East,
Fly by morning light

We’re on the train to Bangkok
Aboard the Thailand Express
We’ll hit the stops along the way
We only stop for the best

Wreathed in smoke in Lebanon
We burn the midnight oil
The fragrance of Afghanistan
Rewards a long day’s toil
Pulling into Katmandu
Smoke rings fill the air
Perfumed by a Nepal night
The Express gets you there

We’re on the train to Bangkok
Aboard the Thailand Express
We’ll hit the stops along the way
We only stop for the best

More to come…

Previous: 2112 | Next: The Twilight Zone

2112The Complete Album

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