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Rush - Signals CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.95 | 1231 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars "Signals" returns to the theme of man's alienation in a world of machines last heard on "Moving Pictures". Yet in many ways it is a transitional record, caught between the fiery red of action and the cool blue of reflection. Thematically, it's the last RUSH record to adopt the vantage point of the teenager at the edge of adulthood. "Subdivisions" sets the problem, as the young adult feels the pull of the city from the suburbs, "the timeless old attraction." From there, a final respite in the unhurried world of youth ("The Analog Kid") before love beckons ("Chemistry") and places our hero in the crosshairs of adulthood ("Digital Man"). At first, the young hero looks to be a cog in the big machine ("The Weapon"), but youth is also revealed as the breeding ground for change ("New World Man"). "Losing It" addresses the failed dreams of youth, but "Signals" ends on a high note, with "Countdown" showing how technology can be used for good. In many ways, RUSH's teenage heroes (from ""2112"" through to "Tom Sawyer") reach maturity on "Signals". Subsequent albums like "Grace Under Pressure" and "Power Windows" were as apt to see the world through the eyes of an adult. That transformation can be felt in the music as well: synthesizers have steadily crept into the foreground while ALEX LIFESON's guitar eschews the old pyrotechnics for technically precise textures. GEDDY LEE's voice is also more subdued, less likely to reach the emotional heights of a "Tom Sawyer" or "The Spirit of Radio." NEIL PEART, for his part, remains charged, designed to complement GEDDY's bass lines as dual engines of propulsion (heard to best effect on "Digital Man" and "Chemistry"). "Signals" signaled the end of one musical chapter and the start of another.

It's the last time that RUSH played like their lives depended on it; subsequent albums seemed overly analytical, detached. Even when the trio regained some of their former form, it lacked the naturalness of "Signals", making this for some listeners the last essential RUSH album.

daveconn | 4/5 |


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