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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A great album by one of the greatest progressive bands!! This record is closer to neo prog ŕ la Marillion than to their hard rock roots ŕ la zeppelin. Geddy Lee's voice is clear (unlike the 70's rush albums) and the music is very keyboard-oriented, close to Saga's Behaviour. Bombastic elements added to a passionate voice make this album a must for everyone searching for a delightful and beautiful music. This record, along with 'Hold your fire', is to my mind the best Rush work of the eighties.
Report this review (#20895)
Posted Monday, November 3, 2003 | Review Permalink
4 stars an underrated rush offering, power windows at first can seem a little "techno" for most fans but in my opinion is as good as moving pictures. Don't be put off by the 80's style sheen, this is still as audatious as any of Rush's albums and still different to what anyone was doing at the time. "Marathon" contains some of Neil Peart's finest drumming and the screaming guitar at the beginning of territories awesome. Once you let this album get under your skin it always throws up some great new moment and the big synths just augment this. Possibly not for everyone but for lovers of adventurous rock music a must. .
Report this review (#20901)
Posted Friday, December 12, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars There is not a bad song on this whole CD. The overall feel is a bit moody and somber, but in a good way because the powerful lyrics pack a lot of punch. Big Money was a mainstream, top-40 type of song and very enjoyable. I loved the originality of Territories and Emotion Detector. There are more psychedelic, moodier tunes like Grand Designs (very spiritual), Mahhattan Project "(the drums make you feel like you're piloting the Enola Gay), Middletown Dreams -- all with powerful, thought-provoking lyrics. Yes, there is a lot of keyboarding here, but Geddy does such a masterful job and it integrates well into Alex's lead and Neil's innovative and emotion-evoking drums.
Report this review (#20903)
Posted Saturday, January 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
1 stars I had a real hard time admitting to liking Rush at a point in my life when this came out. They could not make their albums on their own anymore , they had to have guests ;-)). Just kidding but really this does not get better. Most of the first hour fans around me had by this time also given-up , other were resigned and still supporting the band, but everybody agreed that Rush was not stealing money for these were simply well made albums, interesting art work and well produced music, just not our taste at all. For my part , I was busy unearthing sixties stuff as Quicksilver MS, the Dead, Miles Davis , Mahavishnu etc....
Report this review (#20907)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars there's only one weak song on this album , and it's Territories, the rest is simply brilliant, Middletown Dreams is one of my favorite songs ever. Keyboards are the uppermost but we have also great guitar solos. Geddy sings with passion as always and there's so much vitality on the whole album. Enjoy.
Report this review (#20909)
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars here you have an album far better than "grace under pressure"... first, the songs are better, then you can feel the formula of the synth pop era is now fully mastered... only weak point the production makes the songs look all the same... a mistake they were about to repair with their following album but that's another story... so this is a very good RUSH 80's album if that's your stuff you're gonna enjoy it so much you wish you had more !
Report this review (#20897)
Posted Monday, March 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow! This is my fourth contender for best Rush album ever! For a long time, it was my favourite Rush album. Every track is flawless. Power chords abound here, but the melodies don't flinch an inch! Not stand out track, and no weak one. Just an astounding level of consistency! Very radio friendly (not that I think that essential, but it helps) yet still recognisably Rush. This album shows how diverse the band could, and can, be. Unfortunately, lots of Rush fans tend to be in one camp or the other. Either fans of the band before Permanent Waves, or fans of the band after it. I prefer to treat each phase equally. ( Yes, despite what some fans think, the band can be neatly split in half, Hemispheres ending the first half). Buy this and enjoy!
Report this review (#20898)
Posted Saturday, March 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars On "Power windows", the dynamic, crystal clear & powerful sound of the instruments really take all its dimension: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson create impressive & powerful atmospheres with a superb sonority, never attained before: the sound quality is comparable to the Saga's "Heads or tales" album. The electric guitar is absolutely sharp, nervous, loud and highly pitched: actually this record has one of the best echoed guitar solos sounds ever made by Rush: it is not exaggerated to believe Alex Lifeson sounds at his best here! The amazing bass popping amplifies its presence and its speed. The difference with "Grace under pressure" is that here the omnipresent modern, atmospheric & crystal clean mood is highly superior and at its best! The echoed drums are VERY varied and really sound modern, barely electronic. Geddy Lee's voice is much more dynamic and on the higher notes than on some previous records.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Report this review (#20912)
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars A lean winter wolf of an album, sinuous and cunning. "Power Windows" recaptures much of "Signals"' energy, best exemplified on "The Big Money", so in my mind it's always had a slight advantage over the bloodless "Grace Under Pressure". It's not a complete return to form, but it is a better balance between old and new. The rhythm section of GEDDY LEE and NEIL PEART is superlative in every since of the word, while the subject matter is classic RUSH: preserving the personal in an impersonal system bent on domination and destruction. However, it's clear that the synthesizers and ALEX LIFESON's shimmering guitar style are here to stay. I miss the saturated sound of vintage RUSH, the unbridled enthusiasm of their arrangements, the idealism of their vision, but those days passed with the '70s. The new RUSH -- clinical, cynical, mechanical -- is the byproduct of musical evolution. We shouldn't equate familiar with attractive, especially when the change in appearance enabled the band to remain vital without sacrificing integrity. (I can't think of any prog band that's aged as well as RUSH over the years.) "Power Windows"' failure is a weary familiarity from song to song, a brittle inflexibility that ironically costs the music its own individuality. "The Big Money" is handily the album's money shot; the fact that the thoughtful "Mystic Rhythms" was tested as the second single testifies to a lack of viable alternatives. Over time, the songs will assert their own personalities, but for the effort you could have already warmed up to "Signals" or Hold Your Fire.

If you're bent on buying every RUSH album (and I'd actually recommend it), you'll look into "Power Windows" yourself eventually. Because the album can sound awfully dry on vinyl, spend a few extra bucks and go for the compact disc.

Report this review (#20884)
Posted Monday, May 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is one of the reasons why I started playing the bass. Here, as well as on HYF, you often have songs where the melodies are being carried by vocals/bass, as opposed to vocals/guitar. Also, this was recorded at a time when Geddy was using Wal basses (product mentions ok?) which, along with whatver rig he was using, gave him a very articulate and warm tone that was also very even from the low end to the high end which I felt perfectly suits his punctual, lyrical playing. I highly reccomend any young prog rock bassist, or any bassist for that matter, to pick up this album as I really do think it's a milestone in rock bass. As for everything else, this album has a very high energy level, Alex's solos are great, Neil is as usual showing us why he's an inspiration to all musician's, drummers or otherwise, but the one thing that keeps me from giving any Rush album five stars is that except for a few tunes in Rush's archives, most of the lyrics seem more mechanical and scientific than poetic to me. That's the only thing that in my mind keeps Rush from being one fo greatest bands in rock history. All the same, they don't deserve my spelling errors and they will always be one my favorite bands.
Report this review (#20882)
Posted Thursday, May 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars 'Power Windows' follows the line that Rush started to sign since 'Signals' with a 80's synth sound clear and simply perfect. The album is brilliant, a great record of melodic technical rock with awesome stuffs like 'Marathon', 'Big Money' and the mystic one 'Grand Designs'. To be honest this album has no incredible performances from the band, as they did years before, but the quality remains high. The stuffs have such a commercial feel but it fits with the sound of the whole album. In a time (1985-'87) where Iron Maiden, Accept and Judas Priest moved to a synth keyboards sound Rush took the lead with this superb work. Not a prog work but excellent enough.
Report this review (#20883)
Posted Friday, May 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars More complex the more you listen to it, as a life -long prog and Rush fan, the band may have reached their pinnacle here, although Vapor Trails has them back on the right track. "Emotion Detector" really builds into a monster song! This album definitely has a different vibe to it than GUP, and that's a very good thing. Technically, the blending of the instruments has never been better, with Alex really getting in some good licks with the electric and acoustic guitar, and the ryhthm of Geddy and Neil flawless. A real sleeper, and a good one to have within reaching distance. Definitely a solid addition.
Report this review (#20885)
Posted Saturday, May 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
James Lee
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Hmm, Ann Dudley guest stars on a RUSH album...Trevor Horn has already infiltrated YES...the next step would be J.J. Jeczalik joining PINK FLOYD, and the ART OF NOISE crew will have successfully brought down the prog genre! Just kidding, of course, but by 1985 the great prog bands have seen the writing on the wall; digital synthesizers, trendy haircuts and streamlined pop-music structures are the style of the day. RUSH seems to fare much better than the others, having gradually incorporated such elements into their sound for half a decade already. Of course, they are almost a second-generation prog band, having started later and following a different path than the original prog masters, so it's no wonder that "Power Windows" is a lot more likeable than "Big Generator" or (shudder) "Invisible Touch". Nevertheless, it would be the last new RUSH album that I am excited about, except for a slight interest in "Vapor Trails" almost two decades later. The production is too slick and the songs too similar in feel, apart from the designed-for- release "Big Money". The homogenous and yet unique sound of "Signals" and "Grace Under Pressure" has been smoothed out even more, and the result is that the good songs on this album (the majority of tracks) could all be mistaken for each other. RUSH still rocks, and will probably continue to rock until they die, but "Power Windows" is conclusive evidence that they are now focused on making good solid songs rather than exploring any new musical territory.
Report this review (#20886)
Posted Wednesday, June 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolute Gold! This album is great. Not categorized as popular as Moving Pictures or Hemispheres but as with all Rush records this has a unique sound to it, different than all the rest. I stands on it's own as a work of art. This is yet another example of how Rush remains true to their self challenges to create new and every-better music while appealing to the changing musical climate of rock and roll through out time.
Report this review (#20888)
Posted Friday, June 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This could almost be an ELP for the eighties with it's massive pompous semi orchestral sound and dynamic drumming.Peter Collins and the band did a masterfull job with the production.Songs wise it takes a while to get into.The lyrics are very wordy even by Rush standards.This is NOT an album of pop songs!!
Report this review (#20889)
Posted Saturday, July 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars the album power windows is something like that which can not be forgotten.they all played very well in this album and this can easily be liked after listening only by first time,every song of this album is quite unique and amazingly played, the drumming is outstanding, the bass is outstanding and the guitar is also outstanding . we just cannot compare rush to any other band because its class is quite different than others, but i'll just say that rush is rush and thats it. i love rushhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Report this review (#20893)
Posted Wednesday, November 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars This is the biggest disappointment I had with this band. After this album we could expect anything from the canadians... The anterior albuns wasn't big works, but brings good songs, and signs of progressive sounds from the past. But this one... commercial songs, pop feelings...easy passages... All that we couldn't expect from this guys. After "Power Windows", a pop album like "Hold Your Fire" is something we can excuse! But they recover the good times after that nefarious period. After "Presto", Geddy Lee and Co. back to the good times. Not so good like the early days, but better than "Power Windows" phase.
Report this review (#20894)
Posted Thursday, November 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Why is this album so underrated? I've never liked if a prog band starts getting too much into pop. At first I found "Power Windows" a little cheezy but after some listening I started to appreciate it. In this album Rush successfully blended prog rock with 80's synth pop. I usually don't like 80's pop and digital synts very much but Rush made it interesting. IMO this album is much better than it's dull precidor "Grace Under Pressure". The songwritting sounds very inspired. Simple but good melodies, the energy and passion of the music are haunting. The production is polished but the album sounds overproduced at times. The sound is very majestic, textured and keyboard laden. This get's distracting after a while but I still like the overall atmosphere. The performance of the band is perfect. Geddy's bass lines are great - for example in "Big Money". His singing has become more bearable. Alex Lifeson's energetic guitar playing is top noch. Riffs and screaming guitar solos are among his best e.g. 7/8 solo in "Marathon". Neil's rolls and fills are still presented although I would like to hear less electronic percussion. The only big low point could be too much similarity between tracks but this gets improved after repeated listening. "Power Windows" is different from classic Rush albums and it's not a masterpiece but I think it's one of their best. This is their last really good recording!
Report this review (#20913)
Posted Monday, January 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars One of the lesser Rush albums in my opinion, it just doesn't have the spirit that most of their other releases have. There are plenty of good songs here, but very few are great. If anything elevates this album above mediocre, it's the lyrical content. Peart has pieced together one of his more complete albums in that respect. The Big Money, Marathon (especially), and Territories are the better tunes here, but songs like The Manhattan Project and Middletown Dreams kind of bog this album down for me. I find both Signals and Hold Your Fire to be much more essential Rush efforts. But that's bringing my rating for this album down based on other Rush releases. I'm reviewing it as a Rush fan. As a work of mid-80's progressive rock, it still remains top-notch.
Report this review (#20914)
Posted Monday, January 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of this band's greatest albums, bar none. Harkening back to the album's debut (mid 80's), this was one of the albums that defined that era. For those of us now (21rst Century) , even those who want to have this on their CD rack simply for collector's sake, this album has numerous qualities that show the progressiveness of this album: the "running" rythm of Marathon, the "power" chords of Big Money, the "capturing" drums of Mystic Rythms. A must for either RUSH fans, or for 80's Prog Rock fans (even those outside the Great White North eh!).
Report this review (#20915)
Posted Monday, January 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Power Windows" is an eighties album. But it is also a Rush album, which makes it worth it!!! This album is probably the best blend of synths that Rush has accomplished since Permanent Waves or Moving Pictures. It has a great theme running through nearly all the songs. This theme is power. Big Money concerns itself with the power money has over people. Territories is about the power that land gives oneself. Marathon is about the race for keeping or gaining the upper hand in a conflict. Finally, the Manhattan Project is about the power of nuclear warfare. This is a great album that you really shouldn't miss. The songwriting and arrangements are top-notch. Yes, the eighties keyboard and synth sounds get a bit impish, but once you get past this, you can enjoy one of Rush's better records.
Report this review (#20916)
Posted Tuesday, February 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars In terms of progressive music this album deserves a little lower rating and even this, but if we qualify this album as a Rush Fan I would say that this album is not better than Signals but is far superior than GUP...You guys may thing I have somethig against "Grace...", but as simple as that: The songs and the sounds are much better here than with their last and only work with Peter Henderson, I would say that this album is the real continuation of Signals...With Grace they did a great job trying to implement the full sound of synthesisers, but in matters of lyrics and sound they have accoplished it all with Power Windows. Marathon, Territories, Mystic Rhythms and Emotion Detector are great examples of how inspirational and deep are the lyrics of Peart...The real sound of the 80's is compressed here...Great parts of electric drums, echoes of every instrument and the full sound of the synths...I give it 4 and 5 stars if this were a Rush Page, but it's progressive so it's fair enough to give it this rating...If you asked me I'm not really a huge fan of this era, but it's a matter of understanding the "progression" of the band, luckily with Presto they began following another direction.
Report this review (#20918)
Posted Wednesday, February 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now the reason why i say it is an addition to any prog album is for the synth. Their is great amount of it here. No it is not the Rush of the 70s where everyone wanted a FTK type LP but PW is good for the time when it was released. The album is a positive version of Signals and G.U.P. One of my favorite tracks is "Marathon" , In fact, it is one of my favorite Rush Songs!! Given the speed of the songs of this album, it is great to excersise to!!!
Report this review (#20919)
Posted Sunday, February 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This was the most disappointing RUSH album I have heard yet. It feels like the ideas of their early 80's period have flattened, and there hasn't been any great new innovations yet to reassess their course. There are some good elements in the songs, and the lyrics are fine, but there some kind of annoying overall feeling in this album, that I must admit that I sold this away after trying to listen it some times.
Report this review (#20920)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars By far better than their previous release 'Grace Under Pressure'. An album according to the mid 80's sound and challenger of other strong band's albums of the same year like MARILLION's 'Misplaced Childhood', IQ's 'The Wake' or SAGA's 'Behaviour' and so on. A great work full of keyboard arrangements, very POP, really nice! Maybe so many old fans didn't like this album, but in my opinion it's great as what it is... an 80's prog-pop album!! if you've an opened mind... TRY IT, YOU'LL NOT REGRET!!
Report this review (#20921)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars i think, that this is one of the "poppiest" rush albums (without meaning a negative thing). there are several gret songs in it and some weaker ones, but all in all its a great album to listen to or to drive car. well, i try to discribe the songs as good as possible (please don't think anything wrong about me: i am german and my english is not that good *g*)

the big money: a very powerfull track. i think i don't need to discripe it, because it is possible to download it on this page grand designs: this track is built around a tricky keyboard-hook. i think this is one of the weakerones, just because there is nothing to grab the melody and hold it in the mind. if there is five minutes pause i would not remind the melody. manhatten projekt: because i am german i can not understand anything of lyrics, because germans got used to the fact that lyrics are most of the time "i love you" or other boring lines. thats the fact why we germans (and i don't want to ignore all the other countrys where english is not spoken) just overlook neil pearts great lyrics. but without these gret lyrical moments this song features some great melodies, i think one of the best rush - eightyspieces marathon: i think that this is my rush - all - time - favourite. it feautures one of lee's best basslines and vocal stuff. i like the ...nearly entreating vocals in the chorus. the pomp and the keyboards. plus the real strings and the choire. wow! territories: this is a a realy great song, i think. a cool, tight drumbeat and in the chorus there is a slightly spooky mood. midtown dreams: another real strong song. i think it is amazing how tight geddy lee is playing keyboards, basspedals, real bass and vocals at nearly the same time.... i would like to know how this song was played live, becuase this seems to be impossible.... emotion detector: the same as in "marathon". very emotional, very much keyboards, but: i think, beside marathon, this could be my number one in "power windows". the only thing that annoys me are the awfull eightys simmonsdrums. mystic rhythms is, thats my opinion, a very weak track, that seams to be a copy of manhatten project. but it feautures one of neil pearts most exciting groove to practisse...

i think, thats a good album, that features some great kayboards and melodies. very enjoyable!!!!

yours dave

Report this review (#20923)
Posted Monday, May 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars From the first time I heard Rush in the mid-70's, I was a RABID fan...I am a person who judges lyrical content of a song to be as essential as the melody, and Rush filled that bill nicely. As a bonus, I thought it astounding that 3 guys could come up with such a huge sound. When their sound began to change in the 80's with Permanent Waves, I was still on board with their vision, but was increasingly turned off by the "syntho" sound they were adopting. By the time Power Windows rolled around, I was completely disgusted with the (then) disappointing albums Signals and Grace Under Pressure, and had written this band off as a sell-out Pop wanna be. Well, time can certainly give one perspective, and as my tastes slowly came around to the progressive sound, I one night gave Power Windows a listen at a friend's house and was again astounded at the fullness and quality of the sound. And sure enough, all the things I had loved about the band before were here: the brilliant, insightful lyrics of Neil Peart that almost universally speak to the humanity which lies (sometimes buried) within each of us, the spark of compassion and decency among brothers which is far too rare in today's world, and the hope that we can stop this society from it's downward spiral if only we use our conscience as a guide; here, also was the atmospheric guitar work of Alex Lifeson, so unique, yet so instantly recognizable; and Geddy Lee, the critic's most denigrated Rock singer, pulling off vocals, bass AND keyboards simultaneously and seamlessly and effortlessly....I realized that this amazing trio had lept ahead of my perceptions about what Rock - n - Roll is and is not and forced me to redefine my terms! For these reasons I believe this album to truly be a Classic that, as time goes on, will continue to appeal to listeners, and maybe force a few others to "redefine their terms". Finally, when reading reviews of this masterpiece, I found a couple of negative comments regarding the song "Territories". Given today's political climate and the machinations of those in power, the lyrics of this powerful condemnation of greed and avarice spells out exactly what is wrong in ours (and others') societies, and urges us to act like "citizens of the world". How much plainer can an appeal to decency, sanity, and compassion be?
Report this review (#20924)
Posted Thursday, May 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album sees Rush returning to a fine balance between synth and guitars. While the previous album, 'Grace Under Pressure', had almost drowned out Lifeson's guitars completely, Alex turned the tables and made sure his guitar work stood out as much as possible on this album, and he succeeded. It sounds brilliant; the guitars and synths completely balance each other out, creating a mixing pot of the old and new. The opener, 'The Big Money', is as energetic and imaginative as Rush have ever been, as is the next track, 'Grand Designs'. Next comes 'Manhattan Project', seeing the band taking a different approach; different from the first two tracks' rock style. They opt for a gentler sound here, and they carry it off with aplomb. Next come 'Marathon' and 'Territories', both solid tracks, Marathon especially for its killer chorus, but sadly after these tracks the album begins to lose energy. The last tracks don't seem quite as good as the rest, but then comes the sucker punch: Mystic Rhythms. The stand-out track on this album for me; from the moment you hear the opening drum line, you'll be hooked.

Overall, though, this album is great. I highly recommend it if you're a fan of Rush's less epic and proggy material, like Grace Under Pressure and Signals. It's well worth getting, and compares favourably to Rush's older stuff, such as Hemispheres. While it's not entirely in the same vein, it's still Rush, and Rush are brilliant.

Report this review (#20925)
Posted Friday, May 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars To me this was the end of an era for Rush.This while better then GUP was still lacking in direction.Still I've heard far worse being heralded as brilliant but this is Rush we're talking about! This was another attempt at radio airplay which in my opinion was a bad direction for the band.This is one of those records that if you pick up used for 5 bucks youre getting your monies worth.Only for the rush fan not essential in any way but worlds better than Hold your Fire! I guess I'm trying to say that this is just a so-so kinda record.
Report this review (#20926)
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After the overly keyboard Signals and the overly guitar drenched Grace Under Pressure, Rush entered 1985 and created an album that had a stable balance of keyboard and guitar. While not the best album they ever did, it certainly is the best of the 85-89 releases. Filled with catchy riffs and synth lines, some intricate bass lines (although no where near the quality of the 76-82 period), and some precision drumming, there couldn't be much more for a fan to ask for.

From the opening drums of Big Money to the catchy fade out to Mystic Rhythms, there are a mixture of good and mediocre songs. All songs are linked with a specific theme regarding power and how we abuse it. Highlight tracks are The Big Money, with it's catchy verse and catchy bass work, and some great lyrics and drumming from Peart. Territories features some precision drumming, insightful lyrics, and a great riff from Lifeson. Manhattan Project deals with nuclear arms and features a catchy chorus, precision drumming, and more great riffing from Alex Lifeson. The finale to the album, Mystic Rhythms, is a triumphant track that begins a bit somberly, but picks up pace as the track evolves.

Overall, Rush fans should not be disappointed. However, this is not an album to give a person trying to get into Rush. It's a good album, but not necessary to all fans of progressive music. 4/5.

Report this review (#39764)
Posted Tuesday, July 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars OK...wasn't I just ragging on GUP? I believe I gave it two stars? Well, I can't do the same on this one. "PW" is where synth-era Rush got HEAVY, and got down to busy business.

"The Big Money" comes out of nowhere, guitars raging, drums crashing, bass and synths swirling, and in the center of the maelstrom is that voice...THAT VOICE, slapping the listener in the face but fierce!

"Grand Designs" is my favorite song on the album, with synths and percussion up front, letting the bass and guitar dwell quietly in the back til midway through, when Lifeson roars to the foreground.

Production is graceful, atomspheric, things that were lacking on GUP. Lyrics are more poetic, more worldly, and more well-written, and it does seem that this album was written as a response to the coldness of GUP, which is, IMO, their worst disc ever. And so it goes...

I do believe that every album after this simply built on the great things "Power Windows" acheives, til they reach their 80's pinnacle with PRESTO. This album marks the height of synth-era Rush at their powers, able to mix prog, rock and synth-pop into a delectable and satisfying dish.

Report this review (#41764)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
2 stars Mid 1985 Rush released "Power windows", the sound is very impressive but many songs sound too similar. Alex Lifeson almost drowns in his wide range of pedal-effects! Nonetheless, songs like "Manhattan project" (about the atomic bomb), "Marathon" (about the persistence you need to make your dreams come true) and the compelling "Mystic rhythms (featuring ethnic atmospheres) are lush and elaborate compositions. After a few sessions I had very mixed feelings about Rush, I was afraid that one of my favorite bands was slipping out of my hands because they wanted to sound progressive and to develop themselves instead of making 'prog' like on "A farewell to kings" and "Moving pictures", what a paradox!
Report this review (#42284)
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars review #3 by jerome blanchet. ok, i am a big big fan of rush since a long time. and for me, this album is the top quality for the period 1980- 1990, (notice the exeption for moving picture of course.)

this is a pop, prog, thecno, rock album as many other album for the period 1980- 1990 for rush .very complex album. memorable at the vocal.

for me the sonority is perfect for this period of time (1985). wath is stunning with rush, this is the perfect balance between prog and pop this is not as alan parsons project (eve and other album) where pop is more present than prog (even if i love this albums)

i have to say that for me, the best thing for (prog fans) in this album is, odd time signature (of course) , complex bass. great sonority guitar, amazing guitar playing , keyboard sonority and arrangement, and of course amazing drum and cymbal by neil peart.

now, i talk about keyboard sonority and arrangement, for me this album is the finest hours for keyboard creativity. you have to listen the record but il tell to you right now, the keybord is this record is one of the best thing that i have ever heard. astonishing atmosphere and melody. sometime pure keybord sonority and sometime orckestration sonority. the keybord is more present than in , hold your fire album, but the other instrument are not negliger.

if il could meet rush members and ask only one question, i would ask . how was yours life at this period of 1985

thanks to alex lifeson for astonishing guitar playing, simple and so perfect. as a reviewer had say already this record has one of the best echoed guitar solos sounds ever made by Rush.

Report this review (#42411)
Posted Thursday, August 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars As i started listening this kind of music at the beginning of the eighties, "Power Windows" was my first contact with RUSH. I'm a great Rush-fan , but until today, it's still my favourite RUSH album (I'm a branded child, haha). The sound recording techniques is state of the art for this time-period. Everytime I listen to this album it pushs me up to the limit with all it's high-energy, especially when I drive my car in summertimes or I feel sad :-)

"Power windows" is pure adrenaline !!!

It's the most powerful album I ever heard in my life.

outstanding musicians, 100% perfect arrangments, a must have album...

so I give 5 stars for this essential masterpiece.

Report this review (#44605)
Posted Sunday, August 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
Bob Greece
4 stars The power...the swirling keyboards...the high-pitched voice. It was 1985 and I was 15 years old, hearing Rush for the very first time, I knew that this was something very different and very special. OK, it's not really progressive but it's very clever hard rock that would give many neo-prog artists a good run for their money. The album starts with the very powerful introduction to The Big Money. It continues with quality hard-rocking keyboard-driven tracks. The only poor track IMO is the last one Mystic Rythyms, which is a bit lame but the first 7 tracks really grab your attention.

It's not a masterpiece and not that progressive but it's certainly a great album and one that will always mean a lot to me.

Report this review (#52411)
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolutely amazing production of which only the 3 brilliant members of Rush could dream of and create. Cohesive (of which albums are most often criticized of being not), arranged beautifully, played perfectly (as quoted by the band in B-man's biography Visions), aesthetically pleasing and emotionally goodness, are ya'll kidding me! A true Rush fan knows exactly what I'm talking about. Don't judge by what was happening in the music scene at that time, (of which Rush would completely disregard), listen to Power Windows objectively and enjoy the contents....a top 5 of their many, many studio releases...hmmm perhaps top 3.....Rush killz!!!!!
Report this review (#56477)
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Power Windows is in my mind one of Rush's best albums, and therefore an essential part of anyone's collection. I base this opinion mainly on the following points: 1) The incredibly crisp and clear sound - great production, Peter! 2) The songs The Big Money, Marathon and Middletown Dreams are on it; 3) It was my first Rush album. As indicated, the opinion is largely subjective - as I guess all reviews to a large extent have to be. Based on this notion, I for one tend to enjoy reading other reviewers list of favorite Rush albums. Often, these rankings indicate a relationship between similar "types" of Rush-albums. Sometimes the types are grouped within a defined timespan, but not always. My own list of favorite Rush-albums is an exception to this rule, as the albums on it span different timeperiods, styles and focus from the band. I'll leave it up to you to judge wheter or not you agree with the following ranking of my favorites: 1) Moving Pictures 2) Power Windows 3) Fly By Night 4) Test For Echo 5) 2112 6) Hold Your Fire 7) Permanent Waves 8) Hemispheres 9) Grace Under Pressure 10) Roll The Bones
Report this review (#62074)
Posted Wednesday, December 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I've listened to this album 20-30 times. That's a little over once a year for the past 20 years. Considering it's one of my least favorite albums by one of my very favorite bands, I believe I have enough experience with it to confidently give it a low rating. 'Power Windows' is Rush's coldest album. It is terribly mechanical, engulfed in the digital technology of the day. I hear sounds all over this album that remind more of Duran Duran, The Fixx, Ultravox and Modern English than Rush. Indeed, not only is the production totally of its era, but the writing and playing veers into that new- wave/new-romantic/pop/MTV thing that was, next to heavy metal, the sound of the day (1985). Fair enough, because I recognize that all true artists evolve, but I never thought Rush sounded quite right in this guise.

As a production piece, 'Power Windows' is amazing. Peter Collins and the band definitely captured the atmosphere that the songwriting calls for. Whether or not you like their chosen style at this point, there's no doubting the quality of the recording itself. But I still hear a weak album filled with weak songs; not even the performances of the insanely talented members pull it through. Geddy Lee's voice veers into a disturbingly complacent, bland area that took him years to grow out of. Neil Peart's continued use of electronic drums sucks a lot of life out of his performance. And poor Alex Lifeson, once again drowned out by an enormous bank of digital synths and electronic drums. When he does rear his head, it's usually in washes of pastel chords, all brittle and thin.

Many of the songs seem interchangeable, many sounding alike. That fact that I've listened to this well over 20 times and still can't recall anything of "Grand Designs", "Middletown Dreams" or "Emotion Detector" is telling. But there are two moments of magic here. "Marathon" is gifted with a chorus of profound emotional weight, musically and vocally. Despite Geddy's white-funk bass slappin' and poppin', the rest of the song supports the grand chorus well enough. And final track "Mystic Rhythms" has enough brooding atmosphere in its exotic character to pull it through. A dramatic, engaging ending to a sadly unengaging album. Both of these songs would've fit well on 'Grace Under Pressure'. More of their kind is sorely needed here, as I find the rest of it flat, chilly and uninspiring.

Report this review (#66075)
Posted Sunday, January 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolutely fantastic pop/progressive rock, a masterpiece in my humble opinion. The release has not *one* bad track - they all lyrically, musically and technically some of the best ever produced in the pop/rock world. I love this album to pieces. Great vocals by Geddy, amazing atmospheric guitars by Alex and Neil is as usual playing every other drummer on this planet to kingdom come.

Highlights: EVERY SINGLE TRACK!!! Not to be missed by any lover of atmospheric rock/pop!

Report this review (#69953)
Posted Sunday, February 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is another excellent album from Rush with much more involvement of keyboard work which becomes intensified. The opener "The Big Money" was planned to be a radio hit and the video clip was made in a great way. In fact, it's a great track. I like especially Geddy Lee's bass guitar work which provides excellent textures for the song. "Grand Designs" is another track with more intricate arrangements where Alex Lifeson's guitar style has moved forward into a softer one augmented with keyboard sound effects. Neil Peart also gives dynamic sounds especially with his toms. "Manhattan Project" is the band's favorite live track with ambient music background. In this track Geddy starts his voice in relatively low register notes with power. "Marathon" has a combined style of medium tempo at first but it moves into faster one with tight bass lines.

"Territories" starts off with electronic drumming followed with keyboard and guitar and bring the music into arrangement full with keyboard effects. The song moves into complex composition with soaring keyboard and guitar sounds. Geddy's bass lines are great! "Middletown Dreams" is a good track with Geddy's tight basslines combined with keyboard sounds. "Emotion Detector" starts with keyboard and electronic drumming; guitar provides sounds at the back. The song moves in electronic drum beats. "Mystic Rhythms" closes the album with another keyboard-based music. I also like Lifeson guitar rhythm work accompanying Geddy's vocal.

It's another excellent addition of any prog music collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#75865)
Posted Saturday, April 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
4 stars Probably Rush’s most 80s sounding album, Power Windows has a lot of synth on it. While Hold Your Fire had plenty of synth, it came off to me as more mature and refined in sound. Lyrically, this album deals with different forms of power whether it be money or nuclear bombs. So technically this is a concept album. I am a fan of concept albums as long as the songs are strong enough to support the overall concept. While the songwriting here is good, the resulting sound of most of the songs bugs me.

"The Big Money" is exceptional. The slap bass line rocks in the verses, it’s probably one of the better bass lines he’s written. The guitar solo in the song it great, although it doesn’t sound quite as strong as it should be. This is probably due to either the production or the type of guitar he used at the time, plus I’m comparing it to the Rush in Rio version where the guitar sounds much fuller.

The next track is "Grand Designs". This is where the synth and chime sounds are overdone. The beginning alone is enough to make you cringe. It sounds very . . . joyful. Not that sounding happy is a bad thing, however it feels like something that would fit on a kid’s TV show. Other than that, the verse of the songs works well. The guitar has a reggae-like quality to them.

I don’t have a problem with Rush using synthesizers to complement the music, it appears that here they decided to use it way to much. Listen "Middletown Dreams", "Mystic Rhythms" and "Emotion Detector" for the ‘dated’ 80’s sound I am referring to. I’m sure back then it might have sounded fine, but twenty something years later, it doesn’t come off as ‘cool’ sounding.

Besides the negative points, this is a Rush album so you can expect worthy performances by each member of the band. I wish the guitar’s sounded a bit thicker to make the music for driving, but the solos here are worthy to be called Lifeson’s own. The bass lines, as mentioned previously, as quality. Neal Peart sounds like he began experimenting with electronic drums, as the album has some drumbeats that vary from the typical drum kit possibilities (see Mystic Rhythms).

All in all, "Power Windows" is another great Rush album worthy for any prog collection. I prefer the predecessor Grace Under Pressure, since it has the more appealing songs for my taste, though I must gratulate Rush for a worthy successor. This one has grown on me the more I listen to it. Try to put the synth in context and enjoy the album.

album rating: 8/10 points = 80 % on MPV scale = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Report this review (#76574)
Posted Friday, April 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars After the cold war reflexion of Grace Under Pressure, this was a shock.

Boy, what happened between records? Rush got much more lighter, with powder blue suits , super sweet synths and ponytails. Not cool. Just watch the Big Money video and tell me about it after. The song itself is kinda lame, but only in subject. Musically, Power Windows is du jour, with keys, drums and guitars of the era. It sports nice melodies, but the whole thing is a bit too melancholic for my tastes. This is actually the first time that I put a Rush album in the shelf.

Some songs are great values like Mystic Rythms, Territories and Manhattan Project. But for the rest, this is light pink filler. the sound is good for the times, but they did much better with Hold Your Fire.

After the grave lyrics and anxious atmosphere that was Grace Under Pressure, this is a trip to a pastel world.

Report this review (#78619)
Posted Thursday, May 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I really sacrificed myself while listening to this album. Much boring to me, I almost fell asleep. After my wish to explore and listen all Rush's work, I really enjoyed their early albums, but their work in eighties and nineties is catastrophe. Every song in this album has the same structure, and I got feeling I hear the same guitar solo in every song. This is not even close to be progressive music album, and these keyboards here are the weakest of all I have ever heard. Geddy Lee sings quite bad, totally uninspired. This is not album that progressive rock fans would like to hear more than once.
Report this review (#87512)
Posted Thursday, August 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Power Windows, the 11th studio album by Canadian prog-rock trio Rush, was released in 1985. It surpassed the high standards set by 1984's excellent Grace Under Pressure, both in songcraft and production values. The phasing in of keyboards and synthesized drums and guitar reached a zenith on this album and it's follow-up, Hold Your Fire (1987). Far from sounding cheesy, this album has a majestic and sweeping sound that contrasts brilliantly with the claustrophobic and moody atmosphere of its predecessor.

Geddy Lee proves himself to be an accomplished keyboardist-bassist-vocalist, Alex Lifeson's solos are better than ever before and Neil Peart, as ever, defies the norm with his thought-provoking lyrics, god-like drumming and short hair. Producer Peter Collins should not be overlooked. His contribution was easily as significant as the band members' were. Here is my overview of the eight glorious "soundscapes" on offer:

1) The Big Money: (10/10) The perfect opening track. Soaring synth and rapid-fire drumming accompany this lyrical critique of money and its destructive powers (POWER is this album's recurring lyrical theme). The instrumental section starting off with Alex's atmospheric guitar sound and some impressive percussion really make this a Rush classic.

2) Grand Designs: (10/10) A brooding look at triviality and the lack of substance in style. Alex's guitar reminds of Chic's Nile Rodgers (of all things!). Some might say the heavily synthesized chorus was ill-advised. I wouldn't, though.

3) Manhattan Project (10/10): An ironically positive-sounding observation on the state of nuclear science. Turn it up loud to hear that driving bass chord at the beginning! A very melodic verse leads into a memorable chorus underpinned by a glorious guitar motif. Then comes an orchestrated section that really succeeds in capturing the feeling of the Enola Gay as it flew "OUT OF THE SHOCKWAVE!" (don't you just love that part?). Alex's short solo is PHENOMONAL! What did you expect? Richie Sambora?

4) Marathon (10/10). The first really bass-driven song. A jittery bass-line in the verse and bridge leads into a supremely catchy chorus featuring a choir (probably a Mellotron eight-voice choir, though.)! Once again, Alex's solo, with it's out-of-this-world bends, is the highlight!

5) Territories (10/10): The least traditional Rush-sounding track, but by no means the weakest (a relative term where this album is concerned). Neil's lyrics even add some humour. Heavy on synth but all the better for it. Neil is the real star on this on, in both musical and lyrical "territories".

6) Middletown Dreams (9/10) It sure says a lot about this album when a track like this is considered the weakest! The tricky stop-start intro impresses, as does the (once again) catchy pre-chorus and chorus. I can just imagine fans of 70's Rush cringing when the synth-piano bit starts. I can also imagine them rotting away in their mother's basement listening to worn-out vinyl copies of 2112, too.

7) Emotion Detector (9/10). As with the previous track, this is weak compared to the rest, but still amazing. It features a great keyboard hook and impassioned chorus. Simply a great Rush track, period! Shame they've never performed it live...

8) Mystic Rhythms (10/10) A slow-paced epic with an apt title. Even the synth, which is commonly thought to be clinical and cold sounds emotional here. If you don't get chills when you hear that deep synth chord when Ged sings "or the African sun", you're practically bionic! As someone who lives in Africa, I can honestly say that these 3 Canucks have fully captured the rhythm and atmosphere of dark Mother Africa. And on a synth-driven 80's arena-prog album! Whaddayaknow?

So, to sum it up: this album is alarmingly melodic, intellectual, professional, emotional, (do forgive me) mystically rhythmic and vibrant. While I do believe that every Rush album has its place, from the kimono-sporting, bollock-clutching high vocals and ambitious concept of 2112 to the organic, synth-free metallic thunder of Vapor Trails, this is the album I will always consider their best. I don't think the band themselves realize just how good this album is.

In my opinion, this is a great starting point for potential new fans, as well as compulsory addition to existing collections.

Report this review (#88613)
Posted Thursday, August 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I love the sound of the ´80 in rock music, but not only in the rock music but in the music generally. Maybe that´s one of the reason why I like Rush albums from this perfect period of time. I love this atmospheric, cristalic, airy sound of the albums like "Power Windows", "Hold Your Fire" or "Presto". The music is full of energy, very dynamic with the perfect balanced sound between every instrument. I must say that Rush music from the ´70 or from the beg of the ´80 is also great, very specific with such a jewels like "Moving Pictures" or "2112" full of progressive elements, full of spontainous creativity, but labums like "Power Windows" shows a big progress in their sound and in the conceptions of their songs. Finally I must say that every single Rush album is very specific and for me this band is of course one of the basic and most important band in prog music history, I love their deep- felt connection between classic hard rock, heavy metal and prog music my favourite three sort of music.
Report this review (#105333)
Posted Wednesday, January 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. Once again there are some baseball references in the liner notes as the band thanks a lot of people including those"On the mound" as well as those "At home plate". This is such a polished record with 8 songs all 5 to 6 plus minutes in length.

"The Big Money" has been a favourite of mine for a long time. Geddy's vocals are outstanding in this one that opens with lots of synths and drums followed by bass, guitar and vocals.There are some really good bass lines on this one although each member of the band gets to show their chops. "Grand Designs" features some higher pitched synths that really annoy me and the vocal melody before the 4 minute mark is disappointing. So this song is a letdown for me.

Things get a lot better with "Manhattan Project", I like the way it speeds up with Alex's guitar melodies as Neil is pounding away on the skins. "Marathon" has a good chorus and a nice guitar solo as well. "Territories" features uptempo synths and guitar that come and go. The song ends with a bass solo. "Middletown Dreams" features short guitar outbreaks with lots of keys and steady drums until the chorus where synths and vocals are the focus. Another good guitar solo 3 minutes in. "Emotional Detector" features this long, emotional guitar solo from Alex that is by far the highlight of this song. "Mystic Rhythms" opens with...surprise, rhythmic drums as well as some good vocals in this contemplative song.

There is a lot here to like and it's well worth checking out.

Report this review (#107313)
Posted Friday, January 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars ... Or how RUSH went down. One of their most cheesy albums.

The Canadian trio changed their musical direction roughly every 4 albums, managing to adapt, to evolve and to create their own style. "Power Windows" started a new musical direction period after "Grace Under Pressure". However, the magic and the progressive craft are now gone... No catchy heavy riffs, no epic moments, no futuristic synthesizer or no jazz-rock passages either. All tracks here sounds similar, poppy and commercial. The second half of the 80's has not been quite a favorable period for RUSH, as for most 70's progressive rock bands.

The Canadians will a little rectify their musical style four years later, with "Presto" and "Roll the Bones"...

Report this review (#107867)
Posted Thursday, January 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars Rush follows up "Grace..." with just as much synth, but with a needed boost of adrenaline as well. "Power Windows" is a slight return to form, with the group sounding like they've figured out how to merge their big rock sound with the improving technology to create a more solid, interesting album than its predecessor.

Geddy splits up his duties a bit more evenly between keyboards and bass, turning out some monstrous licks (particularly on "Big Money") as well as dynamic synthesizer work. Peart, while still using lots of digital drumming is much more precise and interesting here than on their last album; his lyrics begin to show his growing love for homonyms as well. Alex is, well, Alex-- his guitar work wants for nothing. Stand out tracks include the aforementioned "Big Money", "Grand Designs", the very smart and political "Territories" and the symphonic "Mystic Rhythms".

A big '80's sound that holds up well today (although you'd never know they were written then if you get a chance to hear them performed now) and features a lot of songs to sing along to and think about.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#116639)
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Power Pop

Rush continue to disappoint here, with some of the most uninspiring stuff since watching paint dry. I think most classic prog fans will find these derivative synth lines and melodies completely boring and unbearable. Some of Peart's drumming is still quite good, but the rest of the makeup is just so laughable as to make an almost impossible serious listening.

I suppose that might be the only thing to take solace in. I'm really not sure what Rush was trying to achieve musically during this period, but it certainly put off a great many of their classic fans. Those who would like to experience some really good Rush, check out material from Moving Pictures and earlier.

Report this review (#117849)
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Superb songwriting throughout make Power Windows one of Rush's best records. Standout tracks include almost every tune of the ablum. This is not an album; however, for Rush/prog purists. Prog masterpieces are nowhere to found on this recording. Tight little hard rock/prog twist songs make up the matter of this album and it is only with repeated listening that the true brilliance of what they are going is finally achieved in the intricacies of the intenste musicianship and sound that goes into making this one of the most underrated recordings in the Rush pantheon. PW is an excellent album release by a band that continues to shatter general expectations from a bunch of "fans" who want them to record Farewell to Kings and 2112 over and over until they croak.
Report this review (#121789)
Posted Saturday, May 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars For me, Rush's Power Windows is their best album period. But I can understand why so many people seem to hate it. For a child of the 80s like me, a combination of synth pop and hard rock is not a problem. It is, however, a problem for many which is why I think they hate this CD. Listening to Power Windows now, I can find more flaws: the echo chamber drumming, the thin guitars and the over produced synth pop, pseudo metal sound. But this shouldn't detract from just how good this CD is which is only revealed after repeated listening.

I think _The Big Money_ is familiar to many. While it has a slick beginning, the place where the song really comes to life is after the 2:45 mark. Alex plays a beautiful shimmering solo with a backdrop of synth fills and skittery drumming which all comes together around 3:50.

I'll pass over _The Grand Designs_ except to note the extended drumming at the end of the song.

_The Manhattan Project_ is probably the most melodic song on the album. If you're not familiar with this song, listen to it after the 3 minute mark. The orchestra sets up the main melody followed by beautiful basswork from Geddy culminating in a tasty Alex solo.

The middle section of _Marathon_ is the most stunning part of this CD. From 2:55 to 4:05, you're treated to a tremendous Alex solo set to a 7/4 beat. The song closes with a truly great chorus, very much in line with the uplifting theme of the song.

_Territories_ has the best lyrics of any song on this album. While it's easy to get put off by the disco beat, if you get used to it, you'll start noticing small things: the far east opening, Alex's powerful playing, Geddy's funk like closing, the synth fills which actually help this song etc.

_Middletown Dreams_ gets going around the 2:00 mark. Listen to the interplay between the synth and the double scratched guitar leading to Alex's solo around 3:00. Watch for the reintroduction of the bass line around the 4:00 mark.

_Emotion Detector_ starts off like a ballad with a synth-guitar interplay that lasts around a minute. This song, however, has a blistering solo between 3:30 and 4:30. Even if the song itself isn't my favorite, the solo is worth multiple listens.

_Mystic Rhythms_ is also probably familiar. Again, while it's easy to dismiss because it sounds like bland synth pop, it reveals much more upon repeated listening. Again, watch for Geddy's bass to re-enter the picture halfway through the song. Notice how Alex and the synth set up a very trippy atmosphere.

While it's easy to derisively dismiss Power Windows as a pompous synth-hard rock hybrid, it is much more difficult to sustain a dismissive attitude upon multiple listening. Rush attempted to marry keyboards with Alex's guitar and Geddy + Neil's rock solid rhythm section. I think they succeeded. The integrity and the musicianship on display overwhelm an initial negative reaction.

Report this review (#127452)
Posted Tuesday, July 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is Rush trying to survive the musical abyss of the 80s. As expected, the sound of Rush is much more digital, polished, tight, and drowned with technological [dated] sounds and guitar pedals. The keyboards take a bigger role than in their 70s period and include digital synthesizer, electric piano, and typical keyboards. The guitar is reverb-heavy and Alex Lifeson tends to use the pedals quite a lot. Geddy Lee avoids the falsetto, plays the keyboards surprisingly decent, and keeps using a big bass sound. Neal Peart luckily has good taste and doesn't leave it all to dull electronic drum sequences. His drum sounds are a bit synthesized but they fit and Neal plays the heck out of them! The first half of the disc is especially inspired and you might enjoy those first four tracks if you accept the fact that they sound very different to classical Rush.

Rush starts the album with a bang: the energetic rocker "The Big Money." It has all the elements I described above and the rhythm section especially shines. "Grand Designs" is a poppy tune dominated by Geddy Lee's vocals and keyboards. Pay attention to the short piano solo halfway, it sounds complicated and caught me off guard. Rush's composition skills are shows in "Manhattan Project", which features good melodies, instrumental breaks, and dynamics. in "Marathon", Geddy Lee shines again in all areas, especially his bass performance.

Unfortunately, it doesn't sound very original after the first half. "Territories" has good parts but it sounds too much like a hybrid of "Grand Designs" and "Marathon". despite the interesting bass lines and guitar solo, "Middletown Dreams" is quite boring during the singing parts. "Emotion Detector" is easily the bottom of the barrel here, a dated-sounding mediocre pop song. Fortunately, "Mystic Rhythms" is a quite solid track with good guitar-synth interplay and another moment where Geddy Lee shines. great vocals in the choruses and great use of a synthesizer that manages to be emotional.

If you're interested in Rush and don't mind a mellower and more keyboard-oriented album, give it a try.

1. The big money (B) 2. Grand designs (C+) 3. Manhattan Project (B) 4. Marathon (B) 5. Territories (C) 6. Middletown dreams (C-) 7. Emotion detector (D) 8. Mystic rhythms (B-)

Report this review (#135075)
Posted Monday, August 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Uh oh, the 80s finally caught up with the Rush boys...

...but is it a bad thing? Not necessarily! This is a surprisingly strong release from Rush, albeit a bit different from their classic era. It seems that after whipping out the guitar in Grace under Pressure the boys decided to put it away behind the synths again, if this time less than on Signals. Musically, Rush starts to dance on the borders of Rock, Prog and New Wave, creating a fairly interesting mix. None of the songs dip under 5 minutes as well, making for some fairly solid compositions. It's clear here, though, that the times have changed, but Rush was always good at adapting.

The album starts off on an off note. THE BIG MONEY is a song that will surely make the prog fan's ears bleed if they're not prepared for what's coming. One guitar chord, then synth notes scream in an 80s fashion as Geddy shouts big money goes around the world!. Not exactly the swords and Shields stuff that made Rush so famous. However, as is the case with most Rush music, the music itself is enough to save this song. Geddy's bass line on this one alone is enough to make any critical audience stop and think, 'Oh, okay, they still know what they're doing... you guys scared me, though.' The next track, GRAND DESIGNS, is along the same sythed path. Starting out with a synth riff that's a bit more pleasing to the ear than the last, this song starts off a bit more.. calmly. It's a great track as well, likely one of the standouts on the album, and also one of the more progressive points. Better playing by Lifeson on this one, if still low-key. Geddy is one again the focal point, however, as his bass and voice are really the two things that drive the song.

The rest of the album is also littered with gems. The dark and eerie MANHATTAN PROJECT is the next song up. Lyrics based on the Hiroshima bombing leave one with a sense of unease as Neil tells the story of the race to build the bigger bomb. MIDDLETOWN DREAMS is a song with the same amount of darkness, if with a little bit lighter subject manner. TERRITORIES is another track worth the listen, a tale of patriotism and '...greener on the other side' school of thought.

There are a couple classic Rush tracks to be had yet. MARATHON is easily the best song on the offering. Once again driven by Geddy's bass and voice this is a track that's midpacedly blissful to listen to. EMOTION DETECTOR is another great, if lesser known, with some great lyrics accompanying a very well arranged musical section. However, aside from Marathon, the next best thing on this album would have to be the coda MYSTIC RHYTHMS. Another very dark track with interesting lyrics tat's bound to catch the ear of the prog-head.

Concluding now.

3 stars is what this album gets! Good, not amazing, but good. Fans of 80s Rush will delight in this one, fans of only their 70s stuff will likely be thrown off. For everybody else the album is hit and miss. You might love it and you might hate it. Recommended for those who want something good in the 80s.

Report this review (#161651)
Posted Tuesday, February 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Power Windows represents a true return to form from Rush. While Signals and Grace Under Pressure are by no means weak albums not since 1981's Moving Pictures had the band produced anything of this quality. Shrouded in complex arrangements of synth and triggered samples songs like Middletown Dreams and Manhattan Project completely reinvent Rush once again. Marathon and Emotion Detector may rely on more orthodox structures than much of Rush's '70s material yet there is no lapse in the high standards always deliveredy by the band. While clearly not Prog on the same level as 2112 or Xanadu World Music- tinged closer Mystic Rhythms deserves much praise as an Art Rock classic. Guitarists may not be impressed to see Lifeson taking a back seat through much of Power Windows but when he does pop up his solos on The Big Money, Marathon and Grand Designs are certainly not the work of an disintersted player. Power Windows like follow up Hold Your Fire is well known as a grower and given a few spins there is much to admire here.
Report this review (#170319)
Posted Friday, May 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Power Windows represents so much in the Rush catalog. First, I consider it underrated b/c I place among the best of their releases. Second, it is their last truly great release, with all following albums suffering from a lack of great songs. Third, it represents the musical highpoint of the synth stage of the band's career. Finally, unfortunately, it shows the stagnation of the band. While all the songs are great, there's nothing new here, nothing they haven't done before. For that reason I give it 4 stars instead of 5.

I just can't get over how good the songs as this album are. It's mostly due to the band's great chops and comfort with the technology they've embraced. Here you'll find digital sequencers, drum machines, looped enthusiastic embrace of all that was the rage in 80s synth sounds. But it is the songs that make it all good. Big Money is a classic 80's pop rock song. Grand Designs and Middletown Dreams feature the razoer sharp staccato guitar work Lifeson had perfected at this point. Territtories combines the more subdued 80's Rush with Peart's world-vision lyrics perfectly. Mystic Rhythms is synth heavy but creates a brooding atmosphere.

All in all the final culmination of perhaps the greatest 12-year run of music consistency in the annals of rock music. From 1974 to 1986 Rush released no less than nine 4 and 5 star albums and toured for a year and a half behind each one. That is a record I'm not sure any other band, of any type, can match. Power Windows represents the end of that run, but it is a fitting conclusion.,

Report this review (#174717)
Posted Saturday, June 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I group the bands third set of releases into what is known as Rush's "Synthesizer Period". All of these albums came out during the 1980's and represent the band's post-Moving Pictures era. The albums are Signals (1982), Grace Under Pressure (1984), Power Windows (1985), Hold Your Fire (1987) and A Show of Hands (1988).

As much as the band may fondly admire Power Windows as a solid piece of work, the fans were not as admirable. Fan reaction was particularly "guarded". This was the most "high-tech" polished album the band had ever produced. Power Windows is indeed spiced liberally with electronics from both Geddy Lee (bass/keybords) and Neil Peart (drums) who began to use "percussion samples". This has become one of the biggest complaints of this particular album. Too many triggered sampling effects and not enough good old fashioned playing.

For one reason or another, I personally just never got into Power Windows (or Hold Your Fire). I feel they just did not connect with the long-time fans. People who were introduced to the band during this period have a different out look on the whole thing.

I give the album just 3 stars. It does have a few good songs on it, but over-all it's weak. It's still a must have for all Rush fans. Not to mention that all of Rush's catalog has been remastered and is currently selling at bargain prices!

Best tracks: The Big Money and Mystic Rhythms

Report this review (#182559)
Posted Tuesday, September 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wonderful album created by this tremendous trio from Canada! This is, IMO, the most important RUSH album from the synth-rock period of the band. After two albums (Signals and GUP), the band reached the pinnacle. Excellent music structures, various themes used in lyrics, such as the power of money (The Big Money), the long course in achieving personal dreams (Marathon), the problem of war between nations(Territories) among others bring the album to the top in the progressive music of the 80's. It's very difficult for me to distinguish a song I like the most: however, Marathon is my favourite. A very important album!!! 5 stars!
Report this review (#186286)
Posted Saturday, October 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Power Windows is the eleventh studio album from Canadian progressive rock act Rush. Released between Grace Under Pressure ( 1984) and Hold Your Fire ( 1987) the album has a little of the sound from both Grace Under Pressure and Hold Your Fire. The perfect link between those two albums. Grace Under Pressure contains some of my favorite Rush songs but that album also has a couple of very average songs that will never make it unto my list of favorites from the band. Power Windows is a notch sharper and more exciting IMO and all songs are excellent ( well almost all).

The sound on Power Windows is synth dominated but still with great bass, drums and guitar playing. There are actually some very good guitar solos from Alex Lifeson on the album. Very inspiring IMO. You have to have a strong stomach for eighties synth to enjoy this album, but it´s not a problem for me. I think it sounds great.

The album starts with The Big Money which I think is a great and powerful song. Other songs worth mentioning is Manhattan Project and Marathon but as I mentioned above all songs are excellent except for Emotion Detector which is a bit average. The beautiful Mystic rythms ends the album in grand style.

The musicianship is excellent. Neil Peart´s drumming is as inspired as always and Geddy Lee´s vocal performance is sharp and delivered with attitude. The band had at this point in their career reach a level of perfection that most bands will never reach.

The production is wonderful IMO. The bass is quite high in the mix and it suits me fine that you can hear the powerful basslines this clear. The synths are high in the mix as well and that´s an aquired taste if that will please you. I think it fits some songs better than others just as I stated in my review of Grace Under Pressure.

Rush eighties albums alienate many. Even some fans of seventies Rush dislike their eighties output. Mostly because of the excessive use of synth. My introduction to Rush was through their eighties albums so for me those albums have a special place in my collection ( except Signals which is not a favorite of mine). Power Windows is an excellent album and deserves a 4 star rating from me. Rush have corrected almost everything I wasn´t fully satisfied with on Grace Under Pressure and for that they receive the fourth star.

Report this review (#188880)
Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
1 stars "Style without substance" and "run of the mill" are very fitting expressions featured among the lyrics of this album

I think it is more than fair to say that Rush were stuck in a rut in the mid 80's. With Signals, Rush tried something new, and even if the band's classic era ended with Moving Pictures - their last great album - Signals was still somewhat fresh and interesting to these ears. Even so, Signals was the start of a downward spiral for Rush that continued with Grace Under Pressure and culminated with Power Windows. If Grace Under Pressure was Signals part 2 then Power Windows is Grace Under Pressure part 2. It seems that they stopped developing at this point and instead were content with doing more of the same.

More of the same can sometimes be a good thing though if the template is strong enough and it is done with passion and energy. But it is here that Rush failed so terminally. The songwriting is really weak here and every single track sounds like a bleak and uninspired copy of some song from the two previous albums. Signals and Grace Under Pressure - even if they were no longer Prog Rock album - still featured some classic Rush tunes. Power Windows, on the other hand, does not feature a single song that can be said to belong to Rush's best, not even the best of 80's Rush. This is simply run of the mill or Rush by the numbers. It all sounds like something we have all heard before a million times and the result is one of Rush's most uninspired recordings ever. Even the cover art is awful!

Thankfully - as it was pretty much impossible to make a record worse than the present one - Rush would again start to improve with the next couple of albums. Power Windows was the first time they hit rock bottom.

Report this review (#199703)
Posted Sunday, January 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Power Windows" is by far, the album that produces most encountered opinions between Rush fans. Long gone were the sci-fi epics and the band was fully embracing 80's sound motives and production. This fact alone does not mean that "Power Windows" is a mainstream oriented album or an uninspired one since the band was still exprimentating and changing their sound as usual. This release was the peak of their so called "synth period"

In my opinion this is the last Rush album I can enjoy from start to finish. Among this 5 minute songs Peart delivers some of his most inspired drumming. Moreover, there are some interesting lyrics here. As an example you could read the ones from "Manhattan Project" or "Marathon" which also happen to be two of my favourite 80's Rush numbers. Lifeson manages to put some memorable solos among the synth fest on songs like "The Big Money" or "Emotion detector".

The only flaw I seem to find on this record is that it's a little bit monotonous on its sounding. The band could have put some acoustic piece in the middle to break the pattern this record holds. But overall, "Power Windows" is proof that even in the dark ages the 80's were, there was still place for some good material out there.

3.5 stars. Exellent addition to any Rush lover collection

Report this review (#201052)
Posted Thursday, January 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album should be called 'Peter Collins and Rush in Power Windows'. Alex Lifeson once said he had to rearrange most of his parts cos Peter decided to fill lot of space with keyboard sound. Peter Collins was pop produducer at the time and he just finished working with Nik Kershaw. This is the first Rush album done completely in digital and the change in sound is gross. I remember first time I heard this record I was mesmerized. Not because the sound is so spacy. Just because it's so energetic and optimistic yet still rock music. The Big Money is smashing hit and I really dig mid 80's image of Rush music. Not image of them cos they looked pretty bizarre dressed like 80's pop stars. Grand Designs is even more vital than previous one. It's so damn energetic and your blood starts to run faster. Lifeson still plays good solos even though his rhtythm parts are reduced to single chords appearing here and there bewtween massive keyboard parts. Manhattan Project is a bit slower and moody. Maybe the best song on this release. The sections of music are done in typically progressive way just the sound is newer. Marathon is majestical and pretty bombastic. Another great solo. It reminds me a bit Adrian Smith solos on Somewhere In Time and this album was released year after Power Windows. Interesting. Territories is the weakest song on this album in my opinion. Lack of good melody, I don't know, I'm not getting it. But I simply love Middletown Dreams. It's great touching song with great emotional vocals and amazing chords. Awesome solo? Of course and I can listen to that over and over again. Emotion Detector still good song just a bit lighter. I like the chorus because same as in previous one it's very emotional (so here goes the title). Mystic Rhythms ..I'm not sure. This song became popular due to expensive video that promoted the single but it's very too much pop. I know it was 1985 but rest of the album is still rock music. I think that direction was taken on next album, fortunatelly songs on Hold Your Fire are still rock somehow. I really like this release. I don't call it masterpiece but in my personal rating I'd give 5 stars. Objectively giving 4.
Report this review (#212083)
Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Power windows from 1985 , an album dominated by soaring keyboard , but don't expect to be something symphonic prog a la Zaragon (danish band) for ex. They incorporated very well that key passages with heavy prog that use to listen on their previous albums. The mid '80's caught Rush in a synth period like Signals or Grace this album is a good one all the way , with some finest moments they ever done, just listen to the powerfull pieces Manhattan Project , Marathon, Territories or Mystic rhythms , some of the best Rush tracks ever. A big album to me, better than Grace in many places, quite intristing and damn well played. And another thing the lyrics are awesome on Manhattan Project, and aswell on the rest. So, a big Rush album for sure that pleases me every second, 4 stars for sure, among their best ever. Rush knows how to survive in that period and compose a great album.
Report this review (#218543)
Posted Wednesday, May 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars With almost consistent similarities between Rush's previous albums, Grace Under Pressure and Signals, Rush took another somewhat significant departure in their sound. The song lengths were still short making them meet the qualifications of 1980s mainstream radio, but Geddy Lee took his synthesizers to new heights, so much so that they dominated (some might say overwhelmed) Rush's overall sound. To my ears, this is a neo-progressive album. It may not keep to the Genesis-inspired stuff other neo-prog bands were partially doing at the time, but nevertheless it has its feet firmly planted in accessible, synth-dominated prog.

Taking a back seat is Lifeson's guitar. Like many guitarists in the 1980s, Lifeson experimented with echoey chord bursts and thin leads. The heavy use of keyboards doesn't bother me much (in fact, I like good keyboard melodies and backdrops), but Lifeson's experiments I found disappointing. You could see hints of this same type of guitar work on their previous album.

The songs are still elaborately arranged, Peart's drumming (even with electronic drums thrown in for good measure) is it's usual quality of excellence, Peart's lyrics are still well written and thoughtful and often covering subject matter much lacking from the fodder being played on 1980s radio stations.

For an album called Power Windows, where the themes tended to be about power, one wonders why the music lacked this power, often leaving the feeling of coldness. If it wasn't for that one quality lacking, I would rate this a masterpiece. Still it was exceedingly better than other neo-prog releases from 1985. Four stars for an exceptional, but somewhat flawed album.

Report this review (#221574)
Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Another album that is hard to judge objectively for me. Looking at the artwork alone already conjures up nostalgic emotions from back when I was 14 and big brother arrived home with his newest Rush trophy. At that particular time we only had heard Signals and 2112 so this wall of synths was another shock. But what a pleasant one! The song writing and execution on this album is impeccable. Yes it's bombastic, and appreciating Moving Pictures is no guarantee you will be able to sit through this album, but if you can stand the 80-ties invasion in Rush's sound, you'll sure confirm that it is one has some of their best song writing ever.
Report this review (#236650)
Posted Thursday, September 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This probably isnt the best Rush album ever, but it is pretty good. Most of the 1985-1988 era of Rush was mostly pop-rock stuff, with progressive music, but too much pop. Geddy Lee is a much better singer in these 1980's albums though, he has grown into a less falsetto range and I think he dropped down to a normal voice. Its still interesting listening to him sing. The album contains some interesting songs, some catchy, some are definatly forgettable. Lets get it on!

Well, "The Big Money" is a great album opener for sure. The basslines in this song are definatly stunning in a manner that I can't beileve, the Wal holds its own tone definatly. I like the Wal bass much more than the Steinberger because of the mid-ranged sound that you get form the Steinberger. Geddy's vocals are really nice on this, and the keyboards are pretty interesting, especially the opening keyboard riff. Mr. Peart is near perfection of course, and in the music video for this song, you can see him singing along with the song! It's kind of funny, me and my friends always point it out whenever we are watching it somewhere. "Grand Designs" is a very boring piece for me, one of the only ones. It's too "cold" sounding for me, and it is very heartless from a singing standpoint. It just dosen't have that same amount of energy for me, but the lyrics are really nice. "Marathon Project" is kind of like a ballad, but gets louder when the chorus comes around. It reminds me alot of "Distant Early Warning" from the previous album the year before. Its a very cool song, interesting keyboards that add really nice texture and atmosphere to the song. "Marathon" is a really cool song to me. I always listen to it when I go for a walk or a run or something along those lines. Its got a really cool bassline and the vocals are sweet. The keyboards at the chorus are perfect, same with the guitar, thanks Alex Lifeson! "Territories" is where I start to get a little bored with the overall album. The song is good, it just dosent give me any motivation to listen to it after about two minutes, thats why I always skip to the next track. Heartless to me, if you asked. "Middletown Dreams" is okay too, its a bit better than "Territories" but its still a bit heartless, same with "Emotion Detector," which was the only track not played live on any tour so far. So, the best track for me is the last track, of course. "Mystic Rhythms" is near perfection. Its pop-prog and its so pretty, that, in fact, when I listen to it, sometimes (the first time I listened to it) I started to cry at the end. I don't know why, its just so stunning.

Though not Rush's best in their catalog, its amazing. You should get it if you like Rush's other 1980's stuff.

Report this review (#242036)
Posted Tuesday, September 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Being relatively a newcomer to Rush, meaning that yours truly wasn't around during the '70s and '80s, I began exploring their material by going through the discography one album at a time starting with their '70s albums. After exploring all of their albums up to Moving Pictures and hearing a few samples from their later albums I hesitated making any more purchases. This fact made a few of my friends a bit unhappy and after having a long discussion about it I was lent a copy of Power Windows which was suppose to represent everything that was so great about the band's '80s output.

After listening through this album on a few occasions my opinion on the matter remains the same as it was before. I'm simply not convinced by the music offered here. Let me be clear on one thing though, there is nothing particularly wrong with these compositions from a general point of view and all of my objections are only based on difference of personal taste that restrains me from seeing Power Windows as anything more than a fans only release.

This album is literally drained in layers upon layers of generic synthesizer sound which I found charming when it was used sparsely on the early '80s albums. For me, the essence of Rush lies in their ability to perform highly technical rock music where each member is exceptionally great at their particularly instrument. Unfortunately the emphasis has now been shifted by placing the skill in the background while basic keyboard patterns occupy the foreground. There are a few good songs that still manage to get past these limitations but overall my objection stands for most of this album. Just listen to the intro of The Big Money where Neil Peart begins the album with a magnificent drumbeat which then becomes completely overshadowed by the simplistic keyboard sounds.

The direction that Rush was heading for during the '80s might have been considered hip at the time but hopefully most fans can agree that this material hasn't aged as well as some of their earlier material where the band was relying more on their skill which sometimes instead resulted in some questionable choices in the sound department.

**** star songs: The Big Money (5:34) Manhattan Project (5:04) Territories (6:18)

*** star songs: Grand Designs (5:05) Marathon (6:09) Middletown Dreams (5:15) Emotion Detector (5:10) Mystic Rhythms (5:53)

Report this review (#280078)
Posted Saturday, May 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars My first Rush album and one of my first ventures into Prog territory. I remember that 27 months ago, when I was first listening it, I didn't like it that much. This is one of the very first albums with which I started. I was looking on wikipedia's page about Anti-War songs and Manhattan Project was the track.

I eventually started to like it quite a lot.

Lyrically, this album is very high. Targeting serious topics (nothing like Yes lyrics here and not Zepelinesque as debut album's words), it's not bad musically too. The point is that Rush were never so bad (they don't have "depth" from which they would leap to the (if not) top, or simply higher. It's half caused by the fact that they simply started later than other groups (in early 70s rather than in late 60s) and lasted longer, but it's also caused by their relatively consistent quality.

Flow of songs here is interesting, there's probably no weak track as well (maybe the worst would be Middletown Dreams - I'm glad that we don't have this kind of suburbs in Czech Republic, one house looking exactly like another, in perfectly designed row), even it's not as good as their top albums (Moving Pictures to name one) and I'm aware of that difference.

4(+), that's it.

Report this review (#293626)
Posted Friday, August 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Sometimes, I really wish I was in my diehard Rush fan mode so that way I can enjoy albums like POWER WINDOWS much more, but I'm not and I can't. Hearing SIGNALS last, I was pretty worried about the direction Rush was heading with the more conventional song structure choices and impeding of too many '80s sounding synths. POWER WINDOWS embraces those ideas and leaves behind many of the prog aspects that got me to love them in the first place.

None of the three men shine quite like they used to in an instrumental sense; rarely do we hear a standout performance from anyone. They also seem to abandon the use of odd metres (I can't find any here) that gave earlier classics like ''YYZ'' some flair. Tracks 3 through 7 sound like totally anonymous '80s pop; ''Grand Design'' starts with one of the worst keyboard lines I've ever heard.

''The Big Money'' sounds like any other pop song, except with insanely tricky basslines, a respectable guitar solo and a memorable hook. ''Mystic Rhythms'' is the only track here that could compete with the Rush classics; it creates the best atmosphere on the album as it is very haunting and...well, rhythmic. Sadly, these two tracks don't cut the mustard comparing to classic Rush in it's glory. Leave POWER WINDOWS for the curious fans that can mine a hidden gem or three out of this; I haven't found much.

Report this review (#296765)
Posted Monday, August 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars 1. The Big Money (5:34) 2. Grand Designs (5:05) 3. Manhattan Project (5:04) 4. Marathon (6:09) 5. Territories (6:18) 6. Middletown Dreams (5:15) 7. Emotion Detector (5:10) 8. Mystic Rhythms (5:53)

How opinions differ from reviewer to reviewer. I'm no pop fan and see this and Hold Your Fire as the pinnacle of Rush's output, although there are other good efforts too (Hemispheres, Moving Pictures, Signals). For me 7 of these songs are 5-star quality. Only the rather boring and predictable Manhatton Project lets it down.

This album has great lyrics, fantastic playing, intricate arrangments and good tunes. OK, the songs are relatively short and maybe some have a fairly routine structure, but just listen to what is going on under the surface.

I could listen to this all day.

Solid 4 stars.

Report this review (#296868)
Posted Tuesday, August 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Perfect Album? For me, well it comes pretty close. People LOVE to hate on Rush's digital 80's period and I can respect that, but these people are missing out, because there are some damn good tracks on this album. So I guess I would consider this the Peak of Rush's Electronic period. On Signals, they were testing the waters and never really committed. Grace under pressure was very decent but a two of the tracks were skippers. Its here with Power Windows that they bring a balanced and consistent album which is a joy from beginning to end. No track skipping. Even If you HATE this musical direction, you can not deny the power and beauty of Mystic Rhythms. My god, what an incredible song, and one that gives my chills and goosebumps every time. Middletown Dreams is also one of those hidden and forgotten gems which nobody ever brings up. Fantastic and powerful song. People are always quick to get down on their knees for Moving Pictures, but quite honestly I'm bored with Moving Pictures. Its too overexposed, and I had gotten tired of the songs before I even knew who Rush was, so its nice to see them try a new direction. I always said that it doesn't bother me that a band goes in a new direction, just as long as quality remains and this album is all quality. Could you imagine if they just kept making the same album over and over again. It would get old. Unfortunately, it is after this album which Rush reached rock bottom with Hold Your Fire (which is a guilty pleasure of mine) and Presto (which I loathe). There's only one Rush Album that I hate and that is Presto, but we shall save that for another day.
Report this review (#312537)
Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars An album which marked a departure from the phase that had begun with Permanent Waves and ended with Grace Under Pressure, this was Rush in by now full-blown 1980's power pop/rock territory, and, inevitably, it was a phase which divides opinion amongst fans and critics alike.

I think the first thing to say about this album is that it is very good, well performed, with the trio sounded as tight as ever, and, perhaps more importantly, trying out new ways of recording and playing without ever wishing to "sell out", as some of its protractors would tell us.

It features three of the finest tracks the band have ever recorded. The opener, Big Money, as good an example of power rock as you were likely to get in this period of time, Marathon, featuring perhaps Geddy Lee's finest musical contribution to the band (which is saying something), and, the absolute highlight, the album's closer, the intense, sublime, and exotic Mystic Rhythms.

Elsewhere, amongst tracks which strike one as being a little bit too close to mediocrity for comfort, only the brooding, and intensely played, Manhattan Project comes even close to hitting the three aforementioned tracks heights.

In hindsight, this album can, perhaps, be viewed as one of the band's works which marks a transition, and, hence, them seeking to find comfort in that new direction. Certainly, its successor, Hold Your Fire, would find the band sounding and looking far more comfortable and consistent.

As I have said before, this is a good album, but nowhere near consistent enough to mark it out as an excellent piece of work. The highlights, though, do make it a purchase worth having in your collection.

Three stars for this, from a band who have never made a poor album in their entire career, which is perhaps the finest tribute one could possibly pay.

Report this review (#408931)
Posted Sunday, February 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars As has been said before, it is here that RUSH decided to really look into their pop rock elements and see how they could be incorporated even further. If GRACE UNDER PRESSURE represents the pinnacle of poppy progressive rock pieces by the group, then this represents the pinnacle of proggy pop rock pieces, if they makes any sense. I see it similar to GENESIS' DUKE, an album that has a very clear prog vein in it but starts to seriously approach pop songcraft on its own terms.

In this regard, this album fails in the best possible way. The textures are clearly meant to invoke pop rock of the time, given the very electronic and bright atmosphere, the way the guitars and bass clanged and bounced as opposed to really rocking, and the fact that, well, this album opens up with a VERY Reagan/Thatcher-esque song, "Big Money". However, aside from the opener, these songs are long, with none shorter than 5 minutes, and feature very subdued and mature songcraft more akin to what had been done on side 2 of MOVING PICTURES. I think that any fan who say this as a departure wasn't really paying attention or had been applying a filter to their albums, selectively avoiding paying attention to songs like "Witch Hunt" or especially "The Camera Eye" which prefigure this sound years prior.

Over time, this has become a favorite of mine. It doesn't quite reach the pinnacle of PERMANENT WAVES / GRACE UNDER PRESSURE / COUNTERPARTS for me, but it is definitely in a second tier, offering very satisfying songs. What I meant by it's failure as a pop album is that these songs are not very accessible; they take a long time to get into due to their subdued, subtle approach to songcraft, only opening up after four or five listens for me. It has pop sounds, but this feels like a prog album, like they were overly cautious in terms of approaching the pop sound and, in their caution, crafted something quite proggy instead. It's definitely proggy in the '80s sense of neo-prog and synthesized textures, but proggy nonetheless. Give this one time. It's better than you think.

Report this review (#409655)
Posted Monday, February 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars RUSH - POWER WINDOWS (1985) - 3,3/5

With POWER WINDOWS, Rush continued their new atmospheric era that begun with Signals in 1982. Even though the sound generally has changed for the worse (the drums are mixed in a more mainstream fashion for instance) the songcrafting still remains strong throughout the album, with MARATHON as the definite highlight. Its probably one of the best songs Rush managed to churn out during their 80s period. Lifesons guitar still sounds as great as ever and Lees new funky bassplaying is a nice addition. Overall the album is weaker than the two preceding ones, but it still garner a spin or two without skipping any of the tracks.

Report this review (#431395)
Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars When I first heard this album it was my least favorite Rush album. There was something about it originally I didn't care for at all but after a few listens it has been able to grow on me and become a good album. It does contain my least favorite Rush song ever made (Emotion Detector) but does include on of my absolute favorites (Mystic Rhythms). When I first heard The Big Money I thought this album would be 80s cheese like this song was but still good. I was wrong because of the classic tracks Manhattan Project and Marathon they really showed that they could still do very emotional songs that leave an impression on you. Overall, this album isn't their best but i suggest checking out a few songs from it. 3 and a half stars. Highlights: The Big Money, Manhattan Project, Marathon, Territories, and Mystic Rhythms.
Report this review (#463564)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is one of the most frustrating albums I've ever heard in my life; it is extremely rare for me to simultaneously like and dislike so many things about a single album. On the one hand, while I was iffy about it at first, I've come to really like the general sound of the album. The way the powerful and simultaneously precise mix of solid production, interesting guitar lines (Alex is really at the top of his game here, both in ambience and in riffage), GREAT basslines (even by Geddy's standards), aggressive drumming (Peart's drums are heavily electronically enhanced, but they produce a lot of cool rhythms) and dated-as-hell mid-80's synths (that took me aback the first few times but which don't seem overdone at all now) makes this album almost sound like it was done by a machine, and I mean that as a compliment. If ever there was a Rush album that deserved to have "Power" in the title, this was it.

On the other hand, the songwriting starts falling off a cliff on this album. The more up- tempo/rhythmic songs (and parts of songs) sound great with this new approach, but the style of a few of the songs has creeped into the land of generic adult pop, and no amount of busy arrangements can really save them. The one I like the least is the fan favorite "Manhattan Project;" I no longer consider it the worst song they'd done to this point, and I've actually grown to like the up- tempo parts with the "big bang came and shook the world ..." vocal melody, but oh man I hate the main portion of that song. I'm sorry, but I just cannot see the appeal of a generic adult contemporary melody singing hackish lyrics about WWII and the atomic bomb. I just can't buy the idea that singing about a "serious" topic makes a song with such a weak musical skeleton better; to me, it can only make it worse. The ending orchestration definitely only makes things worse.

Switching gears, I have to say that, after many, many listens, I still have trouble finding much to praise in "Grand Designs," "Middletown Dreams" or "Emotion Detector." Ok, "Grand Designs" has a really intricate arrangement of interlocking synths and guitars, and one mildly ok hook, but I can barely keep my attention focused on it when I'm listening to the song, so retaining much more from it once it's done is a nearly impossible task. "Emotion Detector" has a decent up-tempo chorus, and "Middletown Dreams" has some passion in its more "heavenly" moments, but that's largely all I retain from these two tracks. The sound is still cool, but the hooks are largely absent, and that strongly matters to me.

The other four tracks, though, are freaking amazing, and because they've impressed me more and more over the years, I've boosted the album's rating a good deal above where it was. The opener, "The Big Money," demonstrates all of the album's strengths in ample form (with amusing lyrics to boot). I mean, you have the amazing opening barrage of riff-interplay from the guitars, drums and synths; you have a fun vocal melody; you have a great mid-song jam, with all of Lifeson's skills on display. I know some who consider it one of Rush's cheeziest singles, and they may be right, but it's still extremely entertaining. As is the first-half closer, "Marathon," a rousing anthemic pop song with a nice vocal melody and a chorus that may be based in cheezy 80's pop but is still extremely well-written (and so much fun to sing along with). The synths are way too quintessentially mid-80's, and the lyrics are a bit silly, but I find the song great despite these two small flaws.

The second half starts off with "Territories," a track that sounded impressive the first couple of times I heard it, then became less so (once I realized how similar the main guitar line was to guitar lines in the title track of King Crimson's Discipline album), then became more interesting as I realized it had other cool aspects as well. The lyrics are a decent jab at the concept of nationalism, and the way the music alternates between the "hypnotic" main guitar line and more aggressive parts is quite impressive. It's a little overlong at 6+ minutes, but it's a nice song. It pales in comparison, though, to the concluding track, "Mystic Rhythms," which I simply adore and so should you. It's extremely different from anything the band would ever try again in their career, but there are just so many great things about this song - that simple yet catchy "African" beat throughout, the "mystical" lyrics, the FANTASTIC chorus (with terrific guitar and synth interplay) ... I mean, I don't even mind the lengthy fadeout! As far as mid-80's Rush goes, music does not get much better than this.

After all is said and done, if you're really desperate for mid-80's-style Rush, you'd be much better off getting Signals. But if you've consumed that album as much as possible, then this should be the next stop. At the very least, I can say this - for what's largely a generic mid-80's album, this sure has a unique sound, and that's enough for me.

Report this review (#481162)
Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Venetian blinds...

With the band's eleventh studio album we have entered their nondescript phase proper. I don't mean that in a particularly negative sense, its just that from here on every album can be broken down into good songs, quite good songs (a few rubbish songs) and with not much else to say. With total running times of ~50 minutes and track times of ~5 minutes Rush might even seem a bit generic if it wasn't for the variations in style between albums and the legacy they had already established. I am a huge fan of the band and enjoy (most of) these album very much, but it does seem a bit strange that even after so many listens there is so little I am able to highlight as being particularly good or bad.

The Good: The Big Money, Manhattan Project and Territories

The Bad: Nothing much.

The Verdict: B+

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Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The eleventh album from Rush.

I am not that keen on the middle era Rush. The era starting with the excellent Permanent Waves, but then tailing off after that with some albums. Power Windows is probably their least great album from this period.

Opening with one of their heaviest songs ever; Big Money, the album developes into a 1980s pastisj where not much survives the test of time to be honest. This album sounds a bit dated although the songs are good. The synths are also pretty overpowering on this album too and I can understand why Alex complained about being pretty unemployed throughout.

This is an album the casual listener safely can bypass. I have been listening to this album on a regular basis for the last two decades and I value it though. I am also fond of the songs here. But a great album ? Nope. It is good though.

3 stars

Report this review (#567824)
Posted Monday, November 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Rush's Power Windows was a first for the band in one fatal respect - it was the first album since their debut in which their sound had not appreciably evolved or moved on compared to their previous album. Although I find their first few albums hit-and-miss and Hemispheres a bit of a stumble compared to the otherwise excellent run of albums from 2112 to Grace Under Pressure, I have to give Rush credit for growing and evolving their sound constantly over the course of their first ten albums. Power Windows, by contrast, sees them doing something they'd never done before in their career - playing it safe.

Essentially, if you've heard Signals and Grace Under Pressure, you've heard all the tricks the band have to offer here - it's yet another synth-heavy version of Rush's music with a focus on shorter songs, except this time the songs all tend to blend in together and become interchangeable and there's a sense of self-plagiarism about the affair. (Heck, Middletown Dreams is even - lyrically speaking - a rehash of Signals' Subdivisions). Not Rush's best, not by a long way; this album marks the point where the band's golden era was well and truly over.

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Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Power Windows finds Rush at the top of their writing and playing ability, with an album of all very well-written songs performed impeccably, and produced tightly with a distinctive electric rock sound with very specific and uniform yet decorated arrangements. The melodies are all strong, all of the lryics are thought provoking, and Rush have a way of throwing in unique unexpected twists that keep things interesting. The songs all have a very high level of energy and a strong, personal spirit to them. Power Windows is not only a showcase of some of the best production of its time, its also one of the best albums from 1985. There are still many prog influences in the writing, evident in "The Big Money", "Manhattan Project", and the sprinting and sparkling "Marathon", and they even go into some neo-prog on "Territories" and the energetically spacey and lyrically moving "Emotion Detector." "Mystic Rhythms" is a one of a kind composition for them, with a drum pattern that is just as catchy as the melodic guitar part.
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Posted Saturday, February 4, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Overpowering 80s synths create an underwhelming experience.

After 10 glorious studio albums, 5 of which were revered as masterpieces, Rush produce this and the 80s swallow them whole and they spit out an album that really is not great. I love Rush but have to take stock when they produce this type of non-prog radio friendly matter. There is too much mediocrity and forgettable material on this album that mars an otherwise great experience.

Well, I guess I better focus on the highlights. It certainly begins well with the great rocking 'The Big Money' which has a fantastic melody and there is Lee slappin' de bass. Lifeson is terrific on lead guitar and Peart keeps a consistent tempo that drives it along. The presence of synths is overpowering but it works well enough. The production on the album is treble turned to the max and sounds a bit gutless in the bass department. It is 80s to the max and as a result thins out the heaviness replacing it with crystalline clean textures which is not a good thing for Rush. A bit of dirty guitar would not have harmed the sound but all is restrained and Lee hardly troubles his distortion pedal.

'Marathon' is a wonderful song with an exceptional melody and I love this most of all I think on this album. the lead break is killer and if only they would stick to this formula. I mean we all love hearing Lifeson blaze away on his guitar, don't we? The synths are dominant but here it works beautifully. The chorus is one of the all time great Rush melodies. It has a majestic sound and I can never tire of that uplifting tune. Thank heavens for songs like these which save this album from a very low rating.

'Territories' is another one I have rarely heard but it has a cool drum beat and ethereal synths. It sounds unique on the album, as the music is played differently using subtle variations of instrumental style. Lee sounds very good on vocals. Lifeson's guitars are pitchier and he plays more aggressively especially on the riff leading to the second section. The melody is well executed and overall I really like the song, though is not well known.

Now for the songs that are not so good, and there are too many of them for my comfort. 'Grand Designs' is downright filler material, dull and drenched in synthesizers. There are loud chimes of guitar and it all seems so happy and upbeat and as a result annoying. The Partridge Family were never this happy. 'Manhattan Project' is a forgettable song but at least it rocks, the treble is so thin it hurts my ears though. Man, where is the bass sound, guys? Lee's vocals are overdone and really I would rarely return to this mediocrity.

Rush's overuse of synthesizers on songs like 'Middletown Dreams' and 'Emotion Detector' have not dated well though I am sure in the 80s it blew everyone's socks off. No? Oh well. 'Middletown Dreams' is so crystal clean, sudsy and streamlined you can clean the bathtub with it. The sound screams 80s and the synths are just overpowering throughout. It is little wonder why they don't bother to play this song live anymore, they would clear the building. In all fairness Rush are a product of their time back in the 80s and it is easy to criticise but I only wish they had taken it easy on the radio friendly synth pop. Heck, even Ultravox were darker and heavier than this.

'Emotion Detector' continues in the same vein, synths to the wall and crystal clean pitchiness to blow your ear muffs off. The jangly guitar is relentless but at least the synths are not so demanding. The sound is crisp and happy but at this point I could have done with a distorted blast or a blistering riff, and none are forthcoming; the band are not interested, as they are now sons of the 80s and damn the critics and die hard fans.

'Mystic Rhythms' saves the day with a great closer, not to the standard of the opening tracks but still very good. The electronic percussion makes me take notice of Peart who has been in the background. The melody is better here, the synths are in the background, except for those interminable trumpet blasts. This still has a great feel overall especially the chorus.

"Power Windows" is not the worst Rush album but like "Hold Your Fire", "Roll The Bones" and "Presto" it is among them. Thankfully the 80s would soon be over and Rush would come out the other side with a heavier sound that made them so great in the 70s. 4 decent tracks so it deserves at least 3 stars but of course you would be better off getting hold of any of the previous 10 albums if you want to hear Rush at their absolute best.

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Posted Tuesday, June 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars Power Windows is the album where the sonic influence of the 80's finally catches up with the band. So far their 80's albums have been doing an admirable job of dodging the cheesiness of the decade, while still incorporating the keyboard to success.

Unfortunately the band is no longer prog (and it's questionable if they're even rock) on this album. Instead, they have taken up more of a pop sound, filled with the synth they started to fool with heavily since Signals. Some of the melodies are great, but realistically the album is so saturated in the dreadful 80's sound that it drains much of the enjoyment I should have received from the album.

Track-wise, there is nothing that really stands out, except maybe 'Big Money.' There are some Rush moments throughout, but they are often brief and do little to save the song. Unfortunately, this is where my heavy interest in Rush mainly ceases, with perhaps the exception of Counterparts and to a lesser extent Presto and Snakes and Arrows. I won't give this album a one star as I think they have other albums that deserve that score more than this does, but it pains me to see the decline of the band in a progressive sense.


Report this review (#771350)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars There's something about this album that I just can't get enough of. Let it be known first that I do not disapprove of the large keyboard focus of this and other albums from the 80s Rush did, some of their best written songs came from this period. And besides, I thought prog was about trying new things?

The feel and the sound of this album are superb, one of the best mixed albums from this period in Rush's history. Sure, it has that digital coldness to it but I believe that is part of the intent of this album. Songs like Marathon with its cold bridge or Mystic Rhythms with those astounding melodies would sound out of place mixed into a warmer sounding album like Signals.

No, this is Rush at one of their many creative peaks, it is after this album that I consider their songwriting to have changed into a slightly different direction and doesn't always sit well with me. But here on Power Windows everything just works, the sound of it all, the drums, the bass, the guitar, the keys and the bass pedals (put to good use on this album!). The quality of songs are pretty much consistent across the board, though to this day I still have minor issues with Territories and Emotion Detector, I just still can't enjoy them on the same level as the rest of the album, they are far from terrible, I just think they are a little more dense than the other tracks and are harder to get into. Or maybe it's just me.

Favourite song: Mystic Rhythms or Marathon Least Favourite Song: Emotion Detector

Overall: 4/5

Should be part of everyone's Rush collection without a doubt!

Report this review (#835705)
Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars My beloved wife is a wonderful woman but she does have a few tendencies and peccadilloes that sometimes prove to be bothersome and/or unproductive. One is that when she and I discover some previously un-sampled entrée or snack to be absolutely delicious we, quite naturally, develop a hankering for more of said delicacy. In my case I'm happy to simply make a mental note that the next time I have a chance to eat it I will take full advantage of the opportunity. In her case she feels compelled to buy up the entire stock at Walmart and consume it daily until we can't stand it anymore. I think that's what happened to Rush when it came utilizing synthesizers on "Power Windows." They overindulged.

In their defense I should point out that the field of electronic keyboard technology and innovations in the mid-80s was erupting like a musical Mount Vesuvius, putting an almost infinitesimal variety of fantastic sounds at the fingertips of anyone who wanted to (and could afford to) explore that colorful realm. Evidently Rush's bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee was their Ponce De Leon in that area and the other two members gave him enough rope to hang himself. Whereas Geddy's tasteful and inventive foray into the world of synthesizers made 84's "Grace Under Pressure" a well-crafted album that tactfully melded their traditional sound with a more modern, "New Wave" approach to prog rock sensibilities, his unrestrained obsession with them turned "Power Windows" into a classic case of excessive audio enhancement. The band's decision to turn the producing reins over to the eager-but-still-green-behind-the-gills Peter Collins didn't help to curb Lee's addiction to synthetics, either. I'm not saying it's a bad record, just a slight misstep on their long, successful road that continues to this day.

Rush does the right thing by opening the disc with their strongest offering, "The Big Money," wherein they charge right from the gate with Alex Lifeson's huge power chords exploding through the speakers. The immediate presence of Geddy's heavy synth embellishments indicates that the trio was completely committed (for better or worse) to his vision of integrating a multitude of keyboards into their progressive art. This song in particular makes me think of where The Police would have ventured if they'd "gone prog" at some juncture. Due in no small part to Neil Peart's drumming there's certainly no lack of intensity, especially during Alex's guitar lead in the middle section. Next is "Grand Designs." On this cut the production is extremely bright and clean but not at the expense of the lower frequencies, displaying that the group had wisely learned the experiential lessons of how to make the recording studio work to their benefit. The tune's glossy synths and deep reverberations are cool but the songwriting involved is somewhat average. Speaking of depth, "Manhattan Project" has it in fathoms. Lifeson's precision is remarkable in erecting an un-ignorable wall of guitars to back up Lee's impassioned vocal while Neil, as usual, provides the necessary high-octane fuel.

The following track "Marathon," is where I began to suspect that the synths were intent on taking over. While they stop short of making the number's overall ambience appear timidly saccharine or trite (mostly because of their reliable and edgy bass, drum and guitar foundation that bolsters the vital dynamics that sets them apart from the herd) their unnecessary dominance is unnerving at times. I admire that Rush stays true to their prog roots, though, by continuing to utilize odd time signatures and unorthodox riffs and also by tacking on a grandiose soundscape at the end that satisfies the insatiable symphonic prog monster dwelling in so many of us. "Territories" doesn't fare as well. The tune comes off as a strange mixture of late model Genesis and ever-so-briefly-hip Duran Duran pop. I find the way the synths rudely intrude into the number's personality a bit garish and startling at times, setting the track on an uneven keel from start to finish. "Middletown Dreams" begins with another blast from Alex's 6-string arsenal, leading to more Police-inspired rhythmic patterns. (Being a fan of that influential band, I don't mind much at all.) Further kudos to Lifeson for employing an array of different guitar effects to keep the tunes from sounding identical yet the deficiencies in the composing keep surfacing the farther one travels through the album. In essence, melodies manufactured to fit into jam-induced arrangements don't always translate to "memorable."

"Emotion Detector" is next and it's at this point I finally have to agree with so many of their critics (and die-hard fans, for that matter) in announcing that Geddy's synthesizers had become obstructive, overemphasized to the degree that they cloud the view. This is where an experienced producer would've insisted on injecting some modicum of restraint into the proceedings but perhaps Peter Collins was exhorting Lee to take it to the limit, thus compounding the problem exponentially. Despite its shortcomings, however, this cut features the best of Alex's guitar rides found on the record. On "Mystic Rhythms" Peart's booming toms grabbed my aural attention from the get-go and I hoped that the band would take me out on a high note. Alas, though I kept yearning for something spectacular and thrilling to occur, nothing does and I was left with a feeling of still being slightly hungry.

One major flaw in "Power Windows" is that Neil's always entertaining drums are consistently positioned down in the mix and that in itself is inexcusable. Bringing them up to their rightful volume could've cured a lot of ills. But, having said that, I don't want to give the impression that I find this collection of prog tunes to be un-listenable. On the contrary, in light of what else was being released in the autumn of 1985, this record was downright exemplary in comparison. The prog waters were running pretty shallow in that era and Rush at least had the guts to follow their envelope-pushing muse wherever she led. The album reached #10 on the LP charts and kept them afloat so there's a lot to be said for that alone. It is what it is. 2.8 stars.

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Posted Thursday, March 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars I don't dislike this album at all, in fact I find it to be very pleasant listening. Gone is the biting edge of the music though and this is much more standard fare than I'm used to from this band. Nothing really stands up and grabs me however nothing makes me want to use the cd as a coffee cup rest either. The symptoms of the dreaded 80's disease were showing through here though. With music I like to be bitten by something and the dang thing don't bite. Standout tracks here to me are "The Big Money", "Mystic Rythms" and "The Manhattan Project". A peaceful album that I don't mind playing as background music around the house if I don't want my attention filled with something other than what I'm busy with. A three star rating from my side as it is a good album that neither offends or overly excites my eardrums.
Report this review (#940344)
Posted Saturday, April 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Where do I start...

I figured this is as good as any to do my first review on, being my personal favorite album of one of my most highly coveted bands of all time. Power Windows is in my opinion the most melodic and lyrically complex Rush album out there. The music is rich and very layered which might seem to make it a bit tough to get every texture/riff/effect/etc. processed at the same time, but it most certainly makes you want to listen to it again to find what you missed. Part of my undying love for this album might be the really intense personal connection I have with it, but nevertheless, it is a monster of an album, and not "pop" by any means. Rush, to me, was one of the very few (and I mean VERY few) bands that carried on into the '80s that kept creating music as good (or in my opinion better) as the output they had in the '70s.

I view Power Windows as a concept album, albeit a more undefined one, with all of the songs revolving around the central idea of power, hence the title. Geddy does not sacrifice his bass playing for the keyboards one bit on this album, and songs like "The Big Money" have some of the craziest bass lines I've ever heard in any Rush song. The prominence of the keyboards, which can get on people's nerves is one of the greatest things about the album, with all of the thick textures and sounds that really stick out and get in your face. The guitar work on this album is also stunning, and although it might be in lesser amounts than in previous albums, it adds a huge melodic and lovely effect to the music (Mystic Rhythms especially) that is absolutely stunning. This album is certainly a shift from previous Rush efforts, but to me it's the highlight of the other '80s albums that Rush had. (Every other album they released in the '80s is stunning IMO, but this one stands out.

Lets (finally) move to the tracks. The album starts with "The Big Money", which is full of new synth effects and crazy bass lines never before heard in Rush's catalogue of music. While not my favorite track on the album, it holds its ground beautifully and is a great opener for things to come.

Grand Designs starts off with a huge synth opening that quickly evolves into the main bulk of the song. Another wonderful track. One of my favorites on the album.

Manhattan Project easily competes for my favorite song on the album. It is dark, airy, and has an eerie feeling, but lets room for the lyrics, which to me is probably the most important part of the song, to shine. The foreboding sound of the bomber plane flying over head is quite a wonderful way to start the song, and it's wonderful live with the string section (Clockwork Angels tour 2012!)

Marathon is a monster track with another busy baseline. (I'm a bassist so I tend to care about these things quite a bit :D) This is another really powerful track, especially during the huge climax/crescendo at the end where we here Geddy go into the VERY high vocal range for the last time on a studio recording. This is another huge track that is easily one of my favorites. (But almost all of them are!)

Territories was my first big introduction to Power Windows, and made me realize I didn't hate the album like I thought I did. This one pretty much opened the door for '80s Rush (past Moving Pictures) for me and opened my eyes to how great it was! Some more great lyrics in this song, and (I have to say it) SICK bass line. This was my favorite track on the album for a very long time, and still is up there.

Middletown Dreams was the last song I bought off of Power Windows, after I just assumed it was an attempt to "remake perfection" (Subdivisions). Shocked as I was, I was completely and horribly wrong, as this is one of those melodically melancholically beautiful tracks that gives you the chills, especially when the keyboard line comes in before the lines "A middle-aged madonna..." It adds a depressingly beautiful energy to the song that makes it really powerful and unforgettable. Easily one of my all-time favorite Rush songs.

Emotion Detector might just be my least favorite song on Power Windows. Don't get me wrong, it's a hell of a track, it just doesn't really give the "power" that I think the other tracks give. Maybe I'm just being to harsh on it, but it's just not one of the songs that makes the album so near perfection. Although the guitar solo is arguably one of my favorites from Lifeson out of all of Rush's extensive catalogue of music.

Last but most certainly not least, Mystic Rhythms. Easily the most powerful and melodic track on the album, there is really no better way to end such an amazing album with a song like this. You have to appreciate the song for the beauty it has, and it's really just one of those songs that you just need to put the headphones on, sit back, close your eyes, and absorb. From the first hit of the drum to the final fading glory of the song, it is easily my favorite (I say that reluctantly, with 7 other songs all worthy of this title) track on the album.

And I guess that concludes this monstrous review. I can understand how you may not appreciate this album because of the "lack of guitars" or "emphasis on keyboards" or it's "retroness", but give it a shot, then listen to it again, because this album is better with age. Oh and before I forget, I was more than excited when I saw all of the PW songs in the Clockwork Angels tour! With the orchestra=perfection.

From an F to an A++ rating, this album scores in at near perfection with an A++.

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Posted Tuesday, June 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars The beginning of the great decline. I'm pretty much a fan of everything RUSH from the non-progressive hard rockin' debut album to the wonderful synth rock incarnations of SIGNALS and GRACE UNDER PRESSURE. However, this album percolates into my attention span simply because it is RUSH. If this was any lesser musical entity I wouldn't have the time of day to even entertain this mediocrity. Not saying this this is a horrible album as evidenced by my 3 star rating but geez, once you've gone to the musical heights that RUSH achived with many albums in the previoius ten years, how in the world do they possibly think this is an acceptable album even if they want to go the synth route? It simply boils down to the songwriting being extremely substandard and the classic conundrum of making money by appealing to the masses to making music that will appeal to the elite extreme musical literate. Apparantly RUSH felt they paid their dues to the latter and started the attempt to appeal to the former. It's an OK album. I find some of the tracks like "Big Money" and "Manhattan Project" to be acceptable but this album just reeks of mediocrity. A very sad moment indeed considering the artists here.
Report this review (#1091606)
Posted Tuesday, December 17, 2013 | Review Permalink
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.

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Posted Friday, April 4, 2014 | Review Permalink
2 stars If there really was a definition of the "very typical sound from the eighties" I could say that there are some "very typical albums from that age". I could define that typical sound with the next "ingredients": the use of heavy reverberation; the heavy use of digital keyboards; the heavy use of electronic drums; the very "digital bright and clear" production of the sound; a tendency for the music to sound somewhat "plastic"; the tendency of the music from some Prog Rock bands to sound influenced by Pop Rock Music...

This is one of those very typical eighties albums which also has all the "ingredients" that I mentioned above. Other albums that have the "eighties formula" from more or less the same period are: ELO`s "Balance of Power"; ASIA`s "Astra"; GTR`s album; YES`s "Big Generator"; GENESIS`s "Invisible Touch"; A-HA`s "Hunting High and Low"; PETER CETERA`S "Solitude / Solitaire"... The list is very big, in fact. It was like there was not really a diving line between musical genres. Many producers used the same "production formula" during those years, even in the Pop and Rock music from the Spanish language countries (I can mention one Pop album in that language which sounds very similar in the use of that "production formula": the debut album from a female singing trio called FLANS, very far from my musical tastes, but I recognize that the album, which was recorded in Europe, has an excellent very typical eighties production).

Another thing in those years was that many bands and soloists still recorded an album each year. So, they worked harder than many bands and soloists do in the present days to record an album per year and also dedicated a lot of time to touring. So, sometimes it was inevitable that they repeated some musical ideas which they used in previous songs in new songs for new albums. This happens in this album from RUSH. I can listen to some ideas being repeated like a tired formula from previous albums like "Grace Under Pressure" and "Signals", like the heavy isolated guitar chords and some keyboard sounds and arrangements and the use of some electronic drum parts. But the main difference between those albums and this "Power Windows" album is the even more heavy use of keyboards and reverberation, even in a saturated way, and the songs tend to sound more influenced by Pop Rock music than by Prog Rock music. So, the heavy reverberation, in my opinion, is the main feature of this album. Also, the album as a whole sounds very processed by many technological means, sounding musically "cold" like many albums from that period. In my opinion, RUSH sounds a bit tired in this album, trying to join the eighties fashion in musical style and sound. There is only one song that I really liked from this album, and it is called "Emotion Detector". So... sorry, but this is not an album which I would like to listen to again.

Report this review (#1205178)
Posted Friday, July 4, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Don't get me wrong this album is incredible but not from a progressive standpoint

On my way back from seeing a friend in Dallas I had a 3 hour lay over in Houston. While waiting for my flight I thought about what I would consider to be my favorite Rush album (and yes I do think about stuff like that sometimes). Eventually I came to the conclusion that it was Power Windows. From a progressive viewpoint this album is nothing special, it doesn't have any 20- minute long epics like previous albums from the band, it's not very exploratory, the lyrics aren't very complex, the themes are fairly simple. If I look at this album in terms of what it did for Prog and how it deepened the genre, I would have to give it a 2 out of 5 stars. But this album for me really is a 5 out of 5 stars. There is not a song I do not like on this album, from The Big Money to Mystic Rhythms. This album is great not because it was a definitive prog album, it's great because every song on it is solid. The best part about this album is its lyrical simplicity.  It doesn't take you on a complex adventure, rather it gives you short and simple ideas. However these simple ideas are powerful. Neil Peart's goal was to give the listener a general idea of his opinion and then allow listeners to make their own opinions about the topic. Musically the album is fantastic (how could it not be? It's Rush). Unless you absolutely hate the synth, which if you do I'm not sure if prog is for you anyways,  you can respect this album. I went with the 3 star rating because I decided to average my ratings I made earlier. I went closer to 2 starts because I see this website as a hub for finding iconic progressive music, and since this is a poor progressive effort, it needs to be a little lower.

If you're looking for a great prog album,  with complex themes, and lyrics this album is not for you.

If you're looking for an album with simple, understandable, yet powerful lyrics, as well as great musicianship, I highly recommend this album.

Report this review (#1224495)
Posted Saturday, July 26, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars By the time Grace Under Pressure came out, it was clear to fans and critics that Rush were skilled in displaying their own takes on trending musical styles. Their first two albums saw them successfully (in hindsight, at least) deliver heavy, driving guitar riffs in the vein of Led Zeppelin and Cream, the 1976-1981 progressive heyday displayed that the band could join such genre giants as Genesis and King Crimson, and both Signals and Grace Under Pressure showed us that the band could throw that style away for something more synthesizer-oriented and lyrically personal. Basically, Rush can adapt to the times exceptionally well. With that said, you could definitely say that 1985's Power Windows is likely Rush's most 80s-influenced album, as it explores many of the synthrock and pop sounds of the era... specifically, the huge emphasis on Geddy Lee's synthesizer work. After all, why deny the opportunity for reinvention yet again?

As soon as "The Big Money" makes its grand statement with a blast of synthesizer chords and Alex Lifeson's mix between chords and rapid-fire lines on the guitar front, you can already tell you're in for something both bold and oddly distant. Power Windows is a pretty bizarre album because, while many of its lyrical themes are personal and social, and the guitar work has a tone that cuts through the production to reach the listener on a more personal level, the synthesizers end up pulling you away at the same time. Songs like the electronic drum-oriented ballad "Mystic Rhythms" and the dreamlike tune "Manhattan Project" have a bizarrely expansive and cold quality that, strangely enough, inspires more intrigue and warrants repeated listens just to catch every little nuance of this experimentation. However, Rush do make plenty of room for both more progressive and poppy arrangements to offset these darker moments. "The Big Money" is incredibly fun (despite its message of greed) because of how bubbly and fast-paced the instrumental work proves to be once the grand opener. The same can also be said of my personal favorite tune on here, "Marathon," which combines fantastic instrumental work in the verses (primarily that wonderful bass line from Lee) with a wonderfully inspiring chorus that features Geddy Lee at his best vocally. And of course, there's that great message about getting through the marathon known as life, and how tough the run can be.

Unfortunately, just like with Grace Under Pressure, many Rush fans will likely be turned off by this incarnation of the group. Even for these ears, the synthesizer experimentation gets pretty old after a while. Once at the 6th or 7th song, one might just wish for a break from the ridiculously frequent keyboard use and instead go for some more guitar-oriented Rush music. Granted, there are a few songs that break the pace a bit in this regard, like the more hard rock-oriented tune "Territories" or even a good chunk of "Marathon," but some may wish for more of Lifeson's guitar playing. However, the bright side is that he does have a larger presence here than he did on Signals, which almost cut him out entirely. Regardless, if you're in the mood to check out some of Rush's oddest material and you feel adventurous, Power Windows is a nice bet. It takes Grace Under Pressure's dark, cold sound and expands upon it with more synthesizers and overall experimentation. It's multifaceted, sparse, dark, and high in replay value. It's worth playing multiple times just to, once again, hear something you didn't catch the first time around. Just don't expect it to immediately be one of your favorite Rush albums... go in with the right mindset and you'll be all good.

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Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | Review Permalink

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