Most people will say their favorite Rush album is Moving Pictures or 2112 or Signals. Not many will say Caress of Steel (though I like it). My favorite is Presto, which is probably a weird one to pick. I perused some message boards of fans ranking their favorite Rush records and Presto shows up usually middle to bottom of the pack.
I don't really find this strange nor do I have any righteous indignation. To me the album represents a period of my life. It came out in 1989 and was the first NEW Rush album I ever bought, meaning I bought it the day it came out. It was on cassette and I listened to it non-stop.
I think the first half of the record is stronger than the second, especially the combo of "The Pass" and "War Paint." Here are those two songs, for the uninitiated.
For me this record is about being young and not sure what you are doing with your life and the usual youthful nonsense of alienation and being misunderstood and blah blah blah. I don't recall feeling alienated or misunderstood as a teenager growing up in Texas. I really didn't have too many friends my first three years of high school, but that was mainly because I was shy and had glasses and had a terrible haircut. My senior year I started to come out of my shell. Getting a job and contacts and a Mustang probably helped with that but the hair was still terrible. I made more friends, actually hung out with people, and learned how to be a sociable human being. My first girlfriend came along right before I left for college. We never went to a concert together, but we did see Terminator 2 and the atrocious Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie.
So this record was a big part of my life back then. I wouldn't say it "spoke to me" or any kind of cliched junk like that. I listen to it now and it transports me back to being 16 years old. There are a handful of records that do that for me. Metallica's Black album, Iron Maiden's Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, Eric Johnson's Ah Via Musicom, Queensryche's Operation:Mindcrime, and Boston's Third Stage spring to mind. There are others. The old records which I gravitate back to are these, and it's because they are from the most impressionable time of a person's life. I equate these songs with that kid. Of being young and figuring out who I was as a person, where I was going and what I was going to do. I think I am still pretty much that same person, just with more experience and better hair.