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This album continues the band's explorations of their musical style and sound. Bringing a greater sense of depth to it are Alex Lifeson's use of classical guitar to open the title track. Also of note are the subtle keyboard and synthesizers Geddy Lee uses in "Xanadu", along with their prominent use in the melodic bridge and the chorus section. Anchoring the album is Neil Peart's percussion, an ever-expanding range of drums, woodblocks, bells and chimes.
The lyrics of "Cinderella Man" are based on the Frank Capra film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. It is also notable as one of the few Rush songs for which Lee wrote all of the lyrics after Peart's entry into the band.
"Madrigal" is one of the band's softest songs of this time period. It is also one of Rush's shortest songs at 2:35. The only other Rush songs that are shorter are "Broon′s Bane" (1:37), "Need Some Love" (2:19), "Malignant Narcissism" (2:17), "Hope" (2:02), and "BU2B2" (1:28).
In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock, the album came #6 in its list of "40 Cosmic Rock Albums".
Allmusic's Greg Prato gave the album 3.5 stars (of 5), saying they "had improved their songwriting and strengthened their focus and musical approach." He took notice of the synthesizers that were creeping into the arrangements, "a direction the band would continue to pursue on future releases."
Edmund Blackadder wrote on Sputnikmusic.com that Farewell was "Rush's masterpiece (closely followed by Hemispheres)", describing the instrumentation as "absolutely brilliant, with every musician at the peak of their talents" and praised the album for its "wide variety of different song types and structures".
Robert Christgau was much less kind. He gave the record a D rating, calling them "the most obnoxious band currently making a killing on the zonked teen circuit." He compared them to bands such as "Angel. Or Kansas. Or a power-trio Uriah Heep, with vocals revved up an octave. Or two."
The tray has a picture of the star with man painting (mirroring the cover art of Retrospective I) with "The Rush Remasters" printed in all capital letters just to the left. All remasters from Rush through Permanent Waves are like this.
The remaster has all of the original vinyl packaging, including the back cover (all black with puppet strings) and inner sleeve photos of the band on stage. The star with man logo was reinstated after its absence on the original CD issue.
A Farewell to Kings was remastered again in 2011 by Andy VanDette as part of the three-volume "Sector" box sets, which re-released all of Rush's albums recorded for Mercury. In addition to the standard audio CD, A Farewell to Kings was also included on an audio DVD in the Sector 2 set, remixed into 5.1 surround sound.