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Revisiting Every Rush Album In Order: Grace Under Pressure (1984)

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#1 Segue Myles

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 01:31 PM

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After the mediocre, but not without merit, Signals, I come now to one of my all time favourite albums: 1984's cold, serious (but not too serious) and surprisingly bleak Grace Under Pressure.

Arguably my favourite artwork, favourite songs, favourite lyrics and favourite melodies of the entire synth era.

Here we go!

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#2 Segue Myles

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 01:34 PM

1. Distant Early Warning

The world weighs on my shoulders
But what am I to do?
You sometimes drive me crazy
But I worry about you
I know it makes no difference
To what you're going through
But I see the tip of the iceberg 
And I worry about you

The lyrics to this chorus are so moving, and their is an urgency to the music and a desperation in the vocals that just radiates with panic and fear. I love this song. It sounds like the feeling of a panic attack, and it is to my ears one of the bands finest singles. Terrible, but oddly endearing music video.

I love this song so much. It moves me. Up their with the very best Rush songs.

10/10

#3 Segue Myles

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 01:37 PM

2. Afterimage

This sounds to me like the full realisation of everything they attempted on Signals. Mood, music, mixing and feel. There is a cold, bittersweet sense of sadness and longing. I love the solo from Lifeson and I just can't sing my praises for this song high enough. To my ears their is a perfect balance between the bands rock elements and the synths. It is almost overwhelming, but Rush balance everything perfectly.

Amazing, AMAZING song.

10/10

#4 Segue Myles

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 01:37 PM

Warning: I will be gushing hard on these songs.

#5 Segue Myles

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 01:43 PM

3. Red Sector A

After two perfect songs that I love dearly, we get this: another bloody amazing song.

Everything here...the heartbeat rhythms, the yearning bark of the verses, the absolutely sinister synths...Red Sector A takes all the sense of pain and fear of earlier classics like 2112 or With Hunt and ramps it up: a song about the holocaust needs to be taken seriously. And this band manages to pull it off. This is a sad and initially hopeless sounding song that has the most beautiful underlying and gradually increasing sense of hope, which never stops building. This is EPIC songwriting on a small, but no less grand scale. This is cinematic and just so bloody, achingly beautiful.

One of the bands finest recordings. After the previous two songs, Red Sector A keeps the momentum going. And this is BRILLIANT.

Rush are no longer the same sounding band that they were just three years previously. But they are every bit as creative and musically intoxicating.

Are we the last ones left alive?

10/10

#6 Segue Myles

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 01:47 PM

4. The Enemy Within

Part one of "Fear" sounds almost perversely buoyant. It is once again comparable to some of the lesser songs on Signals, but their is a strong sense of confidence and ambition here. Everything I disliked about the previous album is to a point evident here, but this go around the band nail the formula. Reggae beats, ultra catchy chorus, sinister synths, crystalline production, four songs in and I have nothing to say that is negative.

The Enemy Within is almost the twin of The Weapon. I just love it. But it is a minor step down from the absolute gold of the previous three songs.

Fantastic lyrics again, as always:

To you — is it movement or is it action?
It is contact or just reaction?
And you — revolution or just resistance?
Is it living, or just existence?
Yeah, you — it takes a little more persistence
To get up and go the distance…

9/10

#7 Segue Myles

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 01:54 PM

5. The Body Electric

Now I know many fans are not the biggest lovers of this song, but to me it's one of the catchiest choruses I have ever heard and I LOVE to sing along to it. It is a GREAT SONG. I love the nerdy story, I love the beauty of the layers of sounds. The band have so much energy here.

Urgent. This song sounds URGENT. A feeling this album at large feels like. I really am struggling to explain my love for these songs, but it is to my ears one of the finest albums ever recorded and I do struggle to contain myself.

One zero zero one zero zero one
SOS
One zero zero one zero zero one
In distress
One zero zero one zero zero

Is it strange that once again I swear I feel a similar tone and spirit akin to 2112's title track? Without sounding anything like that album, and definitely not the era, Rush somehow recapture that songs feel. Superb song, great storytelling, fantastic playing...there is a reason Rush is one of the most beloved prog bands of all time, and even though the songs are short, the way they put so much excitement and feeling into each track proves the value of Grace Under Pressure. This album is one of the bands masterpieces.

9/10

#8 Segue Myles

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 01:57 PM

6. Kid Gloves

In contrast to Subdivisions, an anthem for the outcast, this song appears to almost be an ode to youthful stupidity. To be popular, act tough. Be tough. Learn the hard way!

Handle with kid gloves
Then you learn the weapons
And the ways of hard-knock school
Put on your kid gloves
Put on your kid gloves
Then you learn the lesson
That it's tough to be so cool

Yeah...maybe it's better to be cast out...

9/10

#9 Segue Myles

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 02:02 PM

7. red lenses

A strange, surreal song. Again, comparable to Signals (tracks like Chemistry or Countdown), but I really truly enjoy this track. For me, the weakest song on a phenomenal album. I didn't at first like this song but it grew on me massively ober the years.

I believe this song to be about paranoia, to be so convinced by what we are told on the media that we signs everywhere of the world going mad.

We've got mars on the horizon
Says the national midnight star
(It's true)
What you believe is what you are
A pair of dancing shoes
The soviets are the blues 
The reds
Under your bed
Lying in the darkness
Dead ahead

It resonates even more with me since watching shows like The Handmaids Tale and seeing signs of that emerging dystopian society seemingly everywhere.

It must have been something that I read.

8/10

#10 Segue Myles

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 02:05 PM

8. Between The Wheels

A brilliant, brilliant song. It sounds very similar to the first three songs, bringing the album full circle in a grand climax.

We can go from boom to bust
From dreams to a bowl of dust
We can fall from rockets' red glare
Down to brother can you spare
Another war
Another wasteland
And another lost generation

It slips between your hands like water
This living in real time
A dizzying lifetime
Reeling by on celluloid

Time marches on. The end is in sight, and yet it can fee every trial lasts forever.

You never know what is going to come in life.

10/10

#11 laughedatbytime

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 02:09 PM

View PostSegue Myles, on 02 December 2018 - 02:02 PM, said:

7. red lenses

A strange, surreal song. Again, comparable to Signals (tracks like Chemistry or Countdown), but I really truly enjoy this track. For me, the weakest song on a phenomenal album. I didn't at first like this song but it grew on me massively ober the years.

I believe this song to be about paranoia, to be so convinced by what we are told on the media that we signs everywhere of the world going mad.

We've got mars on the horizon
Says the national midnight star
(It's true)
What you believe is what you are
A pair of dancing shoes
The soviets are the blues
The reds
Under your bed
Lying in the darkness
Dead ahead

It resonates even more with me since watching shows like The Handmaids Tale and seeing signs of that emerging dystopian society seemingly everywhere.

It must have been something that I read.

8/10
You take the Handmaid's Tale seriously?

:rfl:

#12 Segue Myles

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 02:11 PM

So Grace Under Pressure is one of my all time favourite albums. Whilst I can safely say it doesn't quite come close to matching the absolute perfect score on a song by song basis like I gave Hemispheres or Moving Pictures, I can say though that the songs not rated 10/10 are merely rated an honest and still worthy high score.

This is not am album lacking balance. What this album does have, however, is eight extremely strong and beautiful songs, with four in particular standing out as absolute career bests.

I love this album so much. It's cold, it's cynical, it's dark, and even its playful numbers have thought provoking ideas and harsh lessons to learn from.

This is Rush continuing the journey they truly started with 1980's Permanent Waves, when they really started to streamline their songwriting and push their progressive tendencies into shorter and sharper songs. Whilst they gave it a really good go on Signals, Grace Under Pressure betters it in every way.

10/10

Favourite Songs: Distant Early Warning; Afterimage; Red Sector A; Between The Wheels
Least Favourite: red lenses

#13 Segue Myles

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 02:15 PM

View Postlaughedatbytime, on 02 December 2018 - 02:09 PM, said:

View PostSegue Myles, on 02 December 2018 - 02:02 PM, said:

7. red lenses

A strange, surreal song. Again, comparable to Signals (tracks like Chemistry or Countdown), but I really truly enjoy this track. For me, the weakest song on a phenomenal album. I didn't at first like this song but it grew on me massively ober the years.

I believe this song to be about paranoia, to be so convinced by what we are told on the media that we signs everywhere of the world going mad.

We've got mars on the horizon
Says the national midnight star
(It's true)
What you believe is what you are
A pair of dancing shoes
The soviets are the blues
The reds
Under your bed
Lying in the darkness
Dead ahead

It resonates even more with me since watching shows like The Handmaids Tale and seeing signs of that emerging dystopian society seemingly everywhere.

It must have been something that I read.

8/10
You take the Handmaid's Tale seriously?

:rfl:

No I don't. But powerful storytelling should leave a mark on a person, and the book and show are each so brilliantly done, they have stayed strong in my mind as I go about every day doing things.

Remember I mentioned paranoia? This song appears to me to be about the way the media feeds our worst fears. Like the protagonist here paying too much attention to what he reads, immersing himself in the propaganda, I likened it to my experience becoming really immersed and addicted to a nihilistic and disturbing fictional portrayal of the future.

Call that the power of art.

#14 Entre_Perpetuo

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 02:15 PM

View PostSegue Myles, on 02 December 2018 - 01:34 PM, said:

1. Distant Early Warning

The world weighs on my shoulders
But what am I to do?
You sometimes drive me crazy
But I worry about you
I know it makes no difference
To what you're going through
But I see the tip of the iceberg
And I worry about you

The lyrics to this chorus are so moving, and their is an urgency to the music and a desperation in the vocals that just radiates with panic and fear. I love this song. It sounds like the feeling of a panic attack, and it is to my ears one of the bands finest singles. Terrible, but oddly endearing music video.

I love this song so much. It moves me. Up their with the very best Rush songs.

10/10

That chorus.

Those lyrics are some of the most emotive in Peart's catalogue.

#15 laughedatbytime

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 02:30 PM

View PostSegue Myles, on 02 December 2018 - 02:15 PM, said:

View Postlaughedatbytime, on 02 December 2018 - 02:09 PM, said:

View PostSegue Myles, on 02 December 2018 - 02:02 PM, said:

7. red lenses

A strange, surreal song. Again, comparable to Signals (tracks like Chemistry or Countdown), but I really truly enjoy this track. For me, the weakest song on a phenomenal album. I didn't at first like this song but it grew on me massively ober the years.

I believe this song to be about paranoia, to be so convinced by what we are told on the media that we signs everywhere of the world going mad.

We've got mars on the horizon
Says the national midnight star
(It's true)
What you believe is what you are
A pair of dancing shoes
The soviets are the blues
The reds
Under your bed
Lying in the darkness
Dead ahead

It resonates even more with me since watching shows like The Handmaids Tale and seeing signs of that emerging dystopian society seemingly everywhere.

It must have been something that I read.

8/10
You take the Handmaid's Tale seriously?

:rfl:

No I don't. But powerful storytelling should leave a mark on a person, and the book and show are each so brilliantly done, they have stayed strong in my mind as I go about every day doing things.

Remember I mentioned paranoia? This song appears to me to be about the way the media feeds our worst fears. Like the protagonist here paying too much attention to what he reads, immersing himself in the propaganda, I likened it to my experience becoming really immersed and addicted to a nihilistic and disturbing fictional portrayal of the future.

Call that the power of art.
Fair enough, but that particular type of dystopian society is so far from emerging it's laughable.   But I guess it's disingenuous (though perhaps wise), to pick the safe target that's unpopular and won't fight back in any meaningful way, unless that's really the actual target you're hysterical about.

But carry on, other than that I've really enjoyed these reviews.

:cheers:

#16 MalformedEarthborn

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 02:35 PM

Though I can't help but frown at the 2 songs without bass (as amazing as they are-- Afterimage is a top 10 Rush song of mine), the other songs have some serious groove that would carry for the next two albums. Certainly Rush's most atmospheric album, with a cohesive concept that still let's each song stand alone. They jumped fully into the synth sea and although I think the best mix of synth and rock came with HYF, they sound sharp and cold on this one and it fits the mood perfectly. Also, I think Neil's lyrics took a huge step up with this album up until Presto.
I'd give this one a 9 easily.

#17 Segue Myles

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 02:39 PM

View Postlaughedatbytime, on 02 December 2018 - 02:30 PM, said:

View PostSegue Myles, on 02 December 2018 - 02:15 PM, said:

View Postlaughedatbytime, on 02 December 2018 - 02:09 PM, said:

View PostSegue Myles, on 02 December 2018 - 02:02 PM, said:

7. red lenses

A strange, surreal song. Again, comparable to Signals (tracks like Chemistry or Countdown), but I really truly enjoy this track. For me, the weakest song on a phenomenal album. I didn't at first like this song but it grew on me massively ober the years.

I believe this song to be about paranoia, to be so convinced by what we are told on the media that we signs everywhere of the world going mad.

We've got mars on the horizon
Says the national midnight star
(It's true)
What you believe is what you are
A pair of dancing shoes
The soviets are the blues
The reds
Under your bed
Lying in the darkness
Dead ahead

It resonates even more with me since watching shows like The Handmaids Tale and seeing signs of that emerging dystopian society seemingly everywhere.

It must have been something that I read.

8/10
You take the Handmaid's Tale seriously?

:rfl:

No I don't. But powerful storytelling should leave a mark on a person, and the book and show are each so brilliantly done, they have stayed strong in my mind as I go about every day doing things.

Remember I mentioned paranoia? This song appears to me to be about the way the media feeds our worst fears. Like the protagonist here paying too much attention to what he reads, immersing himself in the propaganda, I likened it to my experience becoming really immersed and addicted to a nihilistic and disturbing fictional portrayal of the future.

Call that the power of art.
Fair enough, but that particular type of dystopian society is so far from emerging it's laughable.   But I guess it's disingenuous (though perhaps wise), to pick the safe target that's unpopular and won't fight back in any meaningful way, unless that's really the actual target you're hysterical about.

But carry on, other than that I've really enjoyed these reviews.

:cheers:

I don't think it is but the show is so well done for this present generation it gets under your skin.

You're missing the point of my comparison. I am talking about an almost brainwashing element to what we feed ourselves.

#18 Segue Myles

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 02:43 PM

View PostMalformedEarthborn, on 02 December 2018 - 02:35 PM, said:

Though I can't help but frown at the 2 songs without bass (as amazing as they are-- Afterimage is a top 10 Rush song of mine), the other songs have some serious groove that would carry for the next two albums. Certainly Rush's most atmospheric album, with a cohesive concept that still let's each song stand alone. They jumped fully into the synth sea and although I think the best mix of synth and rock came with HYF, they sound sharp and cold on this one and it fits the mood perfectly. Also, I think Neil's lyrics took a huge step up with this album up until Presto.
I'd give this one a 9 easily.

I would give it a 9 but this album IS ONE of my very favourite albums by any band. I have given generally superb scores to Rush and their albums but they are a rare band to come out of nowhere in my life and just completely change my musical landscape. These are albums that mean the world to me.

#19 Digital Dad

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 07:32 PM

I love half of this album, DEW, Afterimage, Enemy and Wheels. RSA is ok. The rest sucks balls.

#20 JARG

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 02:24 PM

View PostSegue Myles, on 02 December 2018 - 01:57 PM, said:

6. Kid Gloves

In contrast to Subdivisions, an anthem for the outcast, this song appears to almost be an ode to youthful stupidity. To be popular, act tough. Be tough. Learn the hard way!

Handle with kid gloves
Then you learn the weapons
And the ways of hard-knock school
Put on your kid gloves
Put on your kid gloves
Then you learn the lesson
That it's tough to be so cool

Yeah...maybe it's better to be cast out...

9/10

I see this one as a similar in sentiment to Limelight. Both are saying, "if you want it bad enough, this is what you have to be willing to do/deal with". Put aside the alienation; put on your kid gloves.





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