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30
4.7 out of 5 stars
Grace Under Pressure
Format: Audio CDChange
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2004
After the success of "Permanent Waves", Rush were on a roll. "Moving Pictures" consolidated their hold. And then came "Signals". Although - like every Rush album - there are some whose favourite it was, for me it represented a loss of form, a loss of momentum, a loss of... Rushness. Too much synthesiser, too much lyrical vagueness, not enough bite. They went away and thought about things for a while. Rumour has it that Lifeson almost left because he felt his guitar contribution was becoming marginal - just like The Edge almost left U2 circa "Pop". Then, just as U2 came back with "All That You Can't Leave Behind", Rush returned to guitar-driven rock music with this album - and what a blinder they played!
This record is awash with great rock songs - Distant Early Warning, Kid Gloves, The Body Electric - but its core is two songs in a row on side 1. One, Red Sector A, is a futuristic song about a death camp, the closest Rush have ever come to discussing what happened to some of Lee and Lifeson's family in Nazi Germany. The other, The Enemy Within, is a defiant call-to-arms: each individual must make their own destiny, not "give in to security under pressure". Consecutively, these songs tell each and every one of us to live for now and make the future - not to forget the past, but not to let it cripple us either. This is where Rush achieve their clearest statement of a philosophy which has been their core message all along.
On one perfectly valid level, this is "just" a great rock album. On another, this is a rich and valid statement of how to live your life, whatever happens.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2007
When this album first came out, the doomy, portentous tracks "Distant Early Warning" and "Between the Wheels" chimed with my adolescent angst about nuclear war, the decline of western civilisation, my inability to get laid, etc. etc., but as Bart Simpson once said, "making teens depressed is like shooting fish in a barrel." On re-listening 20+ years later, the stand-out tracks for me now are the playful, ironic "Red lenses" (satirizing cold war paranoia) and "The body electric" (using an hilarious story about an escaped robot to explore the dehumanizing effects of technology.) There's an attractive sense of self-perspective at work here - very, very clever stuff. This is definitely not just another heavy rock holocaust record. It's not even heavy rock, not by modern standards. The remastered sound is crystal clear - I don't remember my vinyl copy sounding this good, it really showcases Rush at their peak as individual musicians. Although I'm personally a fan of the dense, layered, grungey sound of their more recent output, if you're new to Rush there's no better place to start than here.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2010
When I first listened to this album, I was appalled. I was (and of course still am) a massive Rush fan and after being blown away by their prog 70s work and the superb imagination shown in their early 80s work thus far, this felt like a huge let down.

It all sounded so samey - no variety, imagination. Just not Rush.

But over the years it has grown on me and I now really love it.

Grace Under Pressure shows why (unlike so many other bands of their ilk) they have been able to thrive during this period.

They were prepared to adapt and innovate and be original. But unlike other bands which tried to copy a style without understanding it, Rush adapted it to suit their own. The result - they have rarely put a foot wrong in 35 years.

This was a true ground breaker. Distant Early Warning, Red Sector A, The Enemy Within, Kid Gloves, Between the Wheels.

All are superb efforts. Matching lyrics with tunes so well.

And as on their best albums, there is a sense of mood created to suit the music.

Here it is the grim, dooomladen and somewhat stark reality of life in the Cold War world of the early to mid 80s.

As so often, I found I had got it wrong. This was a superb album. I have now caught up and recognise it as such.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2005
After the synth-wash that was Signals, this is a breath of fresh air. Nicely guitar-driven, this album has many good songs and shows influences from U2, The Police and Tears for Fears. Great musicianship all round - check out the funky fills at the end of "I See Red". Great stuff.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2011
I'm so glad I've finally discovered this album - only 27 years after its release. I was familar with much of Rush's 70s prog output - liked it, but didn't love it. Same goes for Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures. But I've bought nothing since (other than the In Rio DVD, which I only watched once). Looks like I've been missing out big time if this album is anything to go by. GoP contains 8 tracks of a uniformly high standard and sounds incredibly fresh and not at all dated. For me there are 4 stand-out tracks. Distant Early Warning, Red Sector A and Afterimage are truly excellent....and then there's Between the Wheels, which is something rather special. The sense of release and joy when the chorus kicks in is totally overwhelming. What to buy next? Signals, Power Windows? Perhaps I should just just Roll the Bones. Looking forward to my Rush voyage of discovery over the coming months.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2008
The first Rush album I got was Moving Pictures, because it had been recommended to me by loads of people. And yeah, it was good, but it never really... hooked me.. I never got into it. I'd almost given up Rush (and indeed, all prog rock) as a lost cause. But then someone else recommended Grace Under Pressure to me, and, after looking at its incredible cover art, I decided to give Rush one last try.
I'm glad to say this album rocketed Rush up to being one of my favourite bands, and I now own every pre-1990s album by them.
This album is full of great moments, but my absolute favourite remains to be Red Sector A. "I hear the sound of gunfire at the prison gates! Are the liberators here? Do I hope or do I fear?" Incredible. Then the choruses of The Enemy Within and Distant Early Warning are both bloody incredible too. Well, every song on here is incredible! It's full of life and passion, something not every band has.

If you want a catchy album, full of great lyrics, vocal lines and guitar melodies, then get this (or Images and Words by Dream Theater). If you are new to Rush's sound, and want an album to get you into them, no better album to start than here. Or if you already have some of Rush's music and want more, well, get this next!

The only question you need to ask yourself before you buy this album is this:
Do you own it already?
If the answer is no, you are the perfect person to buy this album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2008
Life - work and family - got in the way of music during my late 20s and 30s and I lost touch with Rush, a band that I'd followed through my late teens and early 20s. I caught up with them again last year with the excellent "Snakes & Arrows" and decided to fill in the gap by listening to some albums that I've missed over the years.

"Grace Under Pressure" has them using a different soundscape than I was used to, with its heavy use of synthesizers and keyboards. However, I actually generally prefer bands who make good use of keyboards as I think it adds interest to the sound. Rush seem to have integrated them pretty well on this album, the songs are, if anything, slightly catchier in general than in their 70s work but the band remain recognisably Rush. So, to my ears, the addition of the keyboards is actually an improvement!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 September 2010
This was the first Rush album i threw in the cupboard,couldnt stand it at first,it has grown on me over the years,although it will never be rated as one of their best.For me this was the start of the cold perfection,certainly all three musicians remain at the top of their game with Alex sadly under used, which would be the norm for the next few years.

Bought the day it came out,maybe at 22 i couldnt relate to its themes,still wanted Rush of old,even now i still feel conflicted by it,unlike Moving Pictures or Signals which were an immediate enjoyment,this still takes time,although that does mean everytime i listen,i discover new things.

Highlight of the disc will always be the superb 'Between The Wheels',which stands out like a beacon amongst the rest.There are no bad tracks here , 'Afterimage' has poignant lyrics,if you've ever lost a loved one then they certainly hit home,i've come to appreciate that track more and more,other highlights would be 'Distant Early Warning' a more understated opening to a Rush album than normal but worthwhile none the less,while 'The Enemy Within' & 'Red Sector A' both underpinned by Geddy's bass,he's definitely the main man on this album,at times you expect his bass to become full on reggae,the 'Police' influence there for all to see. I've been dismissive of the disc in the past,it wont be displacing 'Moving Pictures' or Signals ' anytime soon, however its a rewarding listen. 3.5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2010
Upon going through my Rush collection, I noticed that I'd not replaced my original flat sounding copy of this album. The digital remaster then is a welcome upgrade to this and makes the album more listenable. Of the songs, Red Sector A, Distant Early Warning and Afterimage were always among my favourites and now Between The Wheels just sounds awesome. The album as a whole is an under-rated gem from the dark time for decent music that was the mid eighties.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I think Graceful is a good way to describe this album its got a sort of glossy sound to the album and I like it the emphasise seems to have been altered to focus on the guitar more again but with heavy effects and also weighty supplies of keyboard, The guitar sounds somewhat like the police in terms of tone, the whole album sounds quite spacious like The police's music but not quite as spacious, there is still complex and intricate bass guitar with in the songs but sometimes this drops out in place of bass pedals and such. Drum wise the album has not changed much there might possibly be some midi drums and things of this nature. but generally the drums have mostly stayed the same maybe I think the feel alittle a bit more simplistic to match the music.
I really like The song Red sector A, keyboard guitar interplay that comes after each section of the verses is very clever and has a slight (disparate feel to it ) it quite a dark song but its very good this would be my favourite song off the album.
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