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Revisiting Every Rush Album In Order: Power Windows (1985)

Segue Myles

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#1 Segue Myles

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 10:39 AM

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Now onto one of the albums that nearly killed all interest I would ever have in continuing my Rush journey!

I bought this album in 2012, about a year after I got into them, and for want of a better word, HATED it. Even when I joined this forum, I hated it. It was synthy and bland and just HORRIBLE.

But like I normally do, I replay it to see if it gets better. For a short while I loved this. Nowadays I rarely play it.

So how do I view it now?

Let's find out!

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#2 Segue Myles

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 10:40 AM

1. The Big Money

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. I love the guitar tone as it adds a real hard rock element to a largely synth driven tune from Alex. The lyrics continue to be smart and relevant, and the energy is high. On paper, this is a winning song. But...eek...I cannot get on board with that chorus.

Underwhelming,a little awful, this is not the best start to an album...even if I do know it gets better.

3/10

Edited by Segue Myles, 05 December 2018 - 11:39 AM.


#3 Segue Myles

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 10:44 AM

2. Grand Designs

I LOVE THIS SONG!

It has a really lush and beautiful BIG 80s production, the synths are elaborate and in your face whilst the song is so fantastically catchy. I actually don't pay much attention to the lyrics of this song. Maybe I should, but as far as great songs go, this one deserves acclaim for just being a really beautiful recording. Divine synths. All who hate this style...I pity you.

Because this one is HEAVEN.

I love the "whoah"s at the end. Just so much energy, so many layers and just fantastic playing all around. I know many say the synths dominated their sound too much in this era, but I adore the sound here and it wouldn't have worked any other way.

9/10

#4 Segue Myles

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 10:49 AM

3. Manhattan Project

Again, this is so eighties sounding it should by all rights be extremely dated, but the songwriting, the production and the playing are all so on point it manages to still sound fresh.

I remember why I fell in love with this album! A moodier song than the first two, it has a great chorus, and a sense of paranoia and fear is captured in the rather edgy synth lines, nd almost militaristic percussion.

Another truly great song. This sounds like Grace Under Pressure taken to the next level, the instrumental break verging on symphonic.

A cinematic, expansive short song that has all the appeal and drama of a long epic.

The paranoia and fear that dominated the entire Cold War era is perfectly captured here. Great, thought provoking lyrics.

9/10

#5 Segue Myles

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 10:53 AM

4. Marathon

One of my all time favourite Rush songs.

I love everything about it, it has the great melodies, great lyrics. The synths again dominate but the entire band play beautifully, leaving it sounding more like a dance of various players than a fight to have any one single instrument dominate. Alex has superb moments here.

Everything complements. Power Windows is an actual delight to listen too, I forgot how much this record pleased me!

Sandwiched between my beloved Grace Under Pressure and Hold Your Fire, it seems I made a mistake putting this masterpiece to one side.

Beautiful.

The song builds and builds to a really enriching and transcendent finish. Just PERFECT, lush production values and faultless songwriting.

I am loving this.

Also the chorus:


From first to last
The peak is never passed
Something always fires the light
That gets in your eyes
One moment's high
And glory rolls on by
Like a streak of lightning
That flashes and fades
In the summer sky

Beautiful!

10/10

Edited by Segue Myles, 05 December 2018 - 10:56 AM.


#6 Segue Myles

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:00 AM

5. Territories

Ok. Strip this song of all synth. Just the song. The actual song. It's classic Rush. I swear I get subtle Permanent Waves vibes from this, whilst the lyrics appear to carry on from where the band finished with Grace Under Pressure. Beautiful layers of synths, Geddy is just so skilful here.

It has a corny lyric here and there. "Better beer, better food!". Yeah...a lil clunky...and it also comes off as a hardfaced update of Kid Gloves.

But it's still a terrific song on an album that is proving to be exceptional. But let's not pretend it's one of the very best here.

7/10

Edited by Segue Myles, 05 December 2018 - 11:25 AM.


#7 Segue Myles

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:04 AM

6. Middletown Dreams

Before this song played, I looked at the title. I honestly don't remember anything about this song. In fact I don't even remember the title.

Then it begins, sounding like an 80s video game soundtrack mixed with a touch of U2.

I feel like this is a brand new song to my ears! Not sure if that says something about the actual quality of this one.

But...surprise! I really like it. Nice lyrics, Geddy really truly sounds great vocally on this album.

But on an album with serious highs, this one is just a tad unexceptional when put up against the likes of Marathon or Grand Designs. Aside, of course, from the beautiful synths in the second verse which are a minor highlight of the entire album.

Not terrible, but a little boring.

6/10

Edited by Segue Myles, 05 December 2018 - 11:05 AM.


#8 MalformedEarthborn

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:06 AM

View PostSegue Myles, on 05 December 2018 - 11:00 AM, said:

It has a corny lyric here and there. "Better beer, better food!". Yeah...a lil clunky."

That line is Geddy trying to sing like he's in Talking Heads.

#9 MalformedEarthborn

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:07 AM

View PostSegue Myles, on 05 December 2018 - 10:53 AM, said:


Also the chorus:

From first to last
The peak is never passed
Something always fires the light
That gets in your eyes
One moment's high
And glory rolls on by
Like a streak of lightning
That flashes and fades
In the summer sky

Beautiful!

10/10

One of their top 5 choruses for sure

#10 Segue Myles

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:12 AM

7. Emotion Detector

Not meaning to be harsh, but the album really does wind down towards the end.

The intro reminds me of the next albums Tai Shan. The song itself has beautiful, soothing synths and Alex really adds texture and a little grit to a song that whilst lacking all traces of the bands former hard rock bombast, retains all the heart and passion that made songs like Limelight and Losing It such sensitive highlights. But this song is easy to forget.

A nice album track. Some might argue that this is filler. On an album with only 8 songs, this comes off a little too lightweight.

Not a bad song. But it is very nice.

And "very nice" is a little to aneamic a compliment for a mighty band like Rush. Whilst I do love the band when they write from the heart, this one is just a little too wussy for my liking.

A solo could have really beefed this song up.

5/10

Edited by Segue Myles, 05 December 2018 - 11:27 AM.


#11 Segue Myles

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:15 AM

8. Mystic Rhythms

THANK GOD FOR THIS!

Power Windows has great songs and some very middle of the road songs. Definitely one of their most inconsistent albums, but whilst it started off with a weak (of bizarrely revered amongst fans) song, it ends with a minor classic.

Everything great about this album is present, with none of the weaknesses.

8/10

#12 Segue Myles

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:20 AM

So we come to the end of Power Windows. Am album that I think is by and large one of the more divisive Rush releases, I find for me the most frustrating thing about it is it has too many filler moments. The best songs could have made for a classic EP. And for all the praise I have given for the synth sounds, when reviewing songs individually it is easy to praise the positives. A sad weakness of Power Windows is that, when reviewed as a whole, it cannot be overlooked how much all the album blurs together.

I would say I enjoyed this album more than Signals, but I am not sure it deserves a rating much higher than the one I gave that.

6/10

Favourite song: Marathon
Least Favourite: The Big Money

Edited by Segue Myles, 05 December 2018 - 11:28 AM.


#13 Narps

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:24 AM

This one is where it all ended. The first release I didn't run out and buy immediately or ever...

#14 Segue Myles

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:29 AM

View PostNarps, on 05 December 2018 - 11:24 AM, said:

This one is where it all ended. The first release I didn't run out and buy immediately or ever...

Oddly enough it did almost just that for me. Had I not joined this forum, I never would have persevered. Many cite Signals as the bands last truly great creative album. For me, the slide started with that album, but the rest of their career still had a few peaks.

Power Windows is not one of them.

#15 MalformedEarthborn

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:30 AM

I love Alex's guitar tone, I love Geddy's new Wal bass, but the production is super dated. It has a few great tracks, and some good ones, but with only 8 songs, not enough are great. I like your idea of this being an EP with the best stuff, but I think a lot of people will disagree that Mystic Rhythms is a great song and the Big Money isn't. I think Big Money is one of their cheesiest songs tbh.

Also I always loved Middletown Dreams. It has a really dreamy quality to it and i love the quiet middle part.

This used to be my favourite 80s album, now it's my second least favourite from the decade. Still great and has some rocking moments worth enjoying and I like that they played a lot of it on the Clockwork Angels tour, the songs suited Geddy's older voice

#16 Segue Myles

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:30 AM

View PostMalformedEarthborn, on 05 December 2018 - 11:06 AM, said:

View PostSegue Myles, on 05 December 2018 - 11:00 AM, said:

It has a corny lyric here and there. "Better beer, better food!". Yeah...a lil clunky."

That line is Geddy trying to sing like he's in Talking Heads.

Yeah...it made me cringe lol

#17 Segue Myles

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:33 AM

View PostMalformedEarthborn, on 05 December 2018 - 11:30 AM, said:

I love Alex's guitar tone, I love Geddy's new Wal bass, but the production is super dated. It has a few great tracks, and some good ones, but with only 8 songs, not enough are great. I like your idea of this being an EP with the best stuff, but I think a lot of people will disagree that Mystic Rhythms is a great song and the Big Money isn't. I think Big Money is one of their cheesiest songs tbh.

Also I always loved Middletown Dreams. It has a really dreamy quality to it and i love the quiet middle part.

This used to be my favourite 80s album, now it's my second least favourite from the decade. Still great and has some rocking moments worth enjoying and I like that they played a lot of it on the Clockwork Angels tour, the songs suited Geddy's older voice

Middletown Dreams was a really nice listen. Sadly I am not sure it will ever be more than that. The best of this album is GOLD. Grand Designs, Manhattan Project, Marathon and Mystic Rhythms are great songs. If we could have had four more songs of that calibre, we'd have another masterpiece.

Not every album has to be a classic. I enjoyed Power Windows. It is a very good album. But at this point, it is my second least favourite alongside Signals.

#18 Segue Myles

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:34 AM

Also Big Money is a big stink. One of their worst singles.

#19 Segue Myles

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:38 AM

.

Edited by Segue Myles, 05 December 2018 - 11:38 AM.


#20 tks95747

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:59 AM

View PostSegue Myles, on 05 December 2018 - 11:34 AM, said:

Also Big Money is a big stink. One of their worst singles.
Dang...Big Money is my number one or number two off that album (b/t that and Manhattan Project)...





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