Simply, it is the most beautiful, emotional song in the band's catalogue.
It's all about the nuances and the substance.
Musically, I love the way it remains quiet and steady from start to finish, yet somehow builds in intensity without getting faster or louder. This era of Rush was about finding ways of flexing musical muscles without bursting out of the confines of the song. This piece is so tight, so textured, so interesting without ever getting too dense or obvious.
The solo has so much feeling. I love the weight of spare arrangement in the opening verse and how it grabs you with its quiet authority. I love how that quiet is echoed near the end (when love remains...) and the way that drives home just how intense the song got without you noticing. I love how Lifeson's melodies act as the anchor of the song, allowing Peart and Lee to throw in little flourishes. I love the pensive outro and the way it makes you realize they are singing about something that is going to resonate for a long, long time.
Peart is one of my favourite lyricists, but if his poetry has a flaw, it's how he can be too precise, too black and white.
He strikes the perfect balance here. There is nothing strident about this one; it is the mature work of man who has seen and experienced success and failure and has come to realize failure is what happens not when things don't work out as we hoped, but when we abandon what is important.
It's a measured, understated lyric, with depth and sadness, but quiet confidence as well.
In short, there's no bravado here, just simple truth for those who want to hear it.
And Geddy captures the tone perfectly.
The message resonates with me very much on a personal level, and, as in all the best songs, the music captures the feeling perfectly.
Musical discipline, intelligence, emotional truth.
I love this song.