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Distant Early Warning
by Rush
Despite Rush’s nearly 50 year career, 19 studio albums of original music, extensive touring schedules and spectacular live concerts, most people have a fairly narrow understanding of this massively influential band. “Tom Sawyer” is a universally lauded and utilized track. “Limelight” made Paul Rudd squeal in I Love You, Man. “Spirit of the Radio” has on opening riff recognizable by any rock ‘n’ roll fan. But there’s a vital piece of their history that most are missing out on.

Considering even the powers that be took their sweet time with inducting Rush into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it’s safe to assume the majority of the public has overlooked much of the band’s continuous output of material as well. Much of what came after Moving Pictures is generally left out of the conversation—and if not left out, sometimes reviled and ignored simply because Rush made it a point to mold their progressive sensibilities to reflect the evolution of popular music. While 1982’s Signals may have veered a bit too close to the synth-heavy cheese of the moment, Rush’s 1984 follow-up, Grace Under Pressure, found a masterful balance between prog rock and ‘80s pop that most people either hate or have never heard of. But, in giving the record another listen…one comes to realize that Grace Under Pressure is nothing less than Rush’s stellar rebuttal to the decade that spawned its core sound.

Every element that drew fans to Rush is present on Grace Under Pressure. Geddy Lee’s mind-blowing and intricate basslines; Alex Lifeson’s understated but complimentarily technical guitarwork; Neil Peart’s incredible time-rending drumming; it’s all there. The band plays with time signature and song structure like the cherubim play harps. They tell stories with their instruments better than most novelists use words. Their lyrics are as on-the-nose as ever, but hey, no one’s perfect. And yet, because of the heavier incorporation of synthesizers, people seem to think this was a major black eye on Rush’s canon. Those people are mistaken.

Taking a slightly darker stance than usual, Rush’s lyrics this time around focused on the dire circumstances that force people to act with, you guessed it, grace under pressure (I told you, on-the-nose indeed). As the opening track, “Distant Early Warning,” can attest, it’s not a dark sounding record as the band confounds the metronome and shows their progressive tendencies are still in full force. But considering the track’s lyrics were born from the global tensions that arose after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Grace Under Pressure proved that Rush wasn’t about to fall in line with their previous love for the concept album, that this was to be a serious reflection on humanity and how we cope with catastrophe and pain…

—Nick Gregorio, Spectrum Culture
https://spectrumculture.com/2016/02/15/revisit-rush-grace-under-pressure/

#GraceUnderPressure35
1984 - Anthem - Canada
Posted: 9th October 2019
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