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Rush - Signals CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.95 | 1229 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars SIGNALS features two of my favorite RUSH songs of all time in "Subdivisions" and "Losing It". "Subdivisions" immediately shoves right in the listener's face the fact that this is a new Rush looking into new sounds. This sounds like a neo-prog tune with the way that the electronic and synthesized textures mesh with the traditional prog approach, and it thrills me to death. The drumming is vital, technical, yet conjures a propulsive groove. As lame as it is, this song got me through a lot of awkward parts of growing up. "Losing It", meanwhile, is a tender progressive pop ballad of sorts to fading light, which became more important to me as I started to watch my parents age and issues with my depression started interfering with my ability to write. These two songs have a tremendous sentimental value to me, but I could not have gotten so attached if they werenot also written and performed so fantastically.

"The Analog Kid" and "Digital Man" provoke me to sing along whenever I hear them; you can immediately pluck out the insistent New Wave sound space to them and, while they aren't very progressive in terms of instrumentation and performance, they are very solid rock songs. "The Analog Kid" has some unconventional song structuring, but isn't too far from the norm, and "Digital Man" is a rather standard tune.

"Chemistry", "The Weapon", and "New World Man" sport a focus on groove that had been absent from Rush songs prior to this point, offering downright danceable beats. It is on these songs as well that we begin to hear Rush's descent, guitarwise, into purely abstract, atmospheric gestures. The synths crowd out the melodic and harmonic space, leaving ALEX LIFESON room only for little guitar fills and abstract chords. Personally, I like these quite a bit specifically for how they challenge the established Rush idiom, offering the same sounds that made Rush reconfigured into this remarkable New Wave machine. These are very underrated songs that challenge a prog listener just as they challenge a traditional rock or pop listener.

"Countdown" I just can't do. It's a decent enough song, but it lacks a certain kind of solid foundation that you normally get from workshopping a song for a bit. This was written to commemorate the launch of the space shuttle Columbia, which was brand new at the time, and they didn't have much time to write and record it compared to the other tunes. While normally a weakness like this would seriously hurt an album, the fact that they placed it at the end after "Losing It", which offers a strong close to the album, makes it feel more like a bonus track and, in that regard, it's a nice little closing gesture.

This would be a three-star album if not for "Subdivisions" and "Losing It", the latter especially as I don't see much discussion of it. However, I could see re-rating this as a three-star album in time. This one is very on-the-fence for me.

Gorloche | 4/5 |


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