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Rush - Power Windows CD (album) cover




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3.54 | 954 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A victory lap before the showers

Power Windows is the last album by peak-era Rush. Sorry if that's hard for their many fans to swallow but it's true. The initial glorious run of albums that were both kickass and interesting, largely start to finish, ended here. Some would argue it ended much earlier but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Nevertheless, despite such proclamations this is still a very decent album that entertains with relative ease. Some have called this album part 2 of Grace and there is some truth to that. They have their similarities although Grace is a more focused and intense, while Power Windows ever-so-slightly loosens the pit bull grip to the neck. I used to prefer Grace by far, these days I appreciate Power Windows more.

The album begins with a Rush "classic" in Big of those songs I remember exactly where I was when I first heard it. My friend and I had purchased the new cassette and tore the cellophane off, running for his car stereo to hear the new Rush! We though this track was promising, only to proclaim most of the rest of the album garbage. We wanted to like the new Rush and Yes albums but we were 70s throwbacks trapped in the 80s even at our young age. We were immersed in total self-hatred of our decade which in retrospect doesn't look so bad. The 80s had its moments, from D Boon to D Byrne. Today Big Money still presents the band in a good light with a spirited mélange of tastes and textures in a largely rocking meal. In several tracks Geddy's bass playing is just phenomenal and Alex quite inventive. He can still rip off a nice solo too, check out Marathon!

The rest of the album maintains a consistent appeal after all this time. I enjoy the melodies and catchy choruses along with the period sound, the big synths and echoey guitars don't bother me at all. I lament the lyrical changes Neil is going through, as we move from poetic science-fiction and literature/philosophical themes to the stylishly whiny bleeding-heart lyricist of Manhattan Project, Territories, and Middletown Dreams. But otherwise there is a sense of fun here within the music that was missing in the two previous albums, even though they may have been stronger on the whole. There's a bit more variety than Grace and more flair than Signals. There is a hard to describe haunting melancholy along with hope, dressed in a sound that is stylish and ambitious.

These three albums form the 80s Rush in my mind, they capture the band in the final throes of their peak. Starting with the next album the band began to sound increasingly formulaic despite proclamations of constant change and the eventual, nearly constant siren song of the "return to form." There has never been a return to form because that is no more possible than McCartney returning to White Album, or the Stones to Exile. That isn't to say there wouldn't be more worthwhile albums, I simply maintain this one was the end of their most vital period. Ignore the terrible reviews that cry crocodile tears about synth overload--this is good stuff.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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