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Rush - Signals CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.95 | 1229 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Into the 80s.

the year is 1982, and though Rush has released a string of albums after the 70s ended and before this point they'd still managed to not be tainted by the new music movements around them like so may other bands at the time. Signals is the album that Rush used as a pivoting point. The music is familiar enough to the last 2 albums to keep fans interested while making it new enough that they would start their next 'era'. Some fans love it, some hate it, but what is undeniable about this album is that it's still great. Is it a masterpiece? Close, but no.

So what's different about it that sets it apart from the last albums?

Well, lets see. Synthesizers are brought right up to the front, and Geddy seems to enjoy using them. Ironically, when they'd go in to record their next album 'Grace Under Pressure' they'd claim that the synthesizers were too far in the front, and Alex needed to be heard better. Also different is the fact that the songs are generally shorter. Sure, there's a few longer ones, but there's nothing here like 'The Camera Eye' or 'Cygnus'. As a matter of fact, this is the first album that doesn't feature a song over 9 minutes since 1975. The material here is a bit more radio friendly and the lyrics are a little bit more down to earth (at parts) and seems to talk about the everyman a bit more. Other than that, lets just get to the music.

Everybody knows the opening synth riff to SUBDIVISONS, this song has become almost as popular as 'Tom Sawyer'. It's a good song, if not terribly progressive. This one is certainly one of the songs that was meant for the radio stations. ANALOG kid is up next, it's pounding bass-line proving that Rush still rocks. Again, not too progressive, but a great rock song none the less. More radio friendly songs on the album include the excellent NEW WORLD MAN. Peart seems to have a thing writing about the 'everyman' and here he nails it once more. This is a song with some very nice lyrics that can appeal to anyone. Definitely one to listen to when you're feeling down for whatever reason.

So Rush still rocks, but can they still Prog?

Yes, yes they can. A bunch of songs in the middle prove this to us, the first of which being DIGITAL MAN. Slightly funky, following somewhat on the tail of 'Vital Signs' from the previous album, but this time longer and better put together. Following that we have part II of the IV part 'Fear' started on the previous album with 'Witch Hunt'. I am, of course, talking about THE WEAPON. This is an ominous track deserving of it's name, still a bit funky and definately 80s, but done with such style that you won't even care. COUNTDOWN is another standout, written about the band's experience watching the space shuttle Columbia launch.

Anything else?

There's a couple of tracks still not mentioned. LOSING IT is a fairly slow song which is, more or less, about the loss of desire. An interesting one to have sitting next to NEW WORLD MAN. Then there's CHEMISTRY, a slow clunky rocker that's still great and let's Geddy shout out at the top of his lungs. Excellent.

So it gets a....

4 stars. Excellent addition to any progressive collection. This is also the last essential album by Rush to come for a while. Somewhat an end of an era, but also the beginning of something completely new an fresh. After all, who wants a band to stay static for its entire career?

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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