on 11 October 2010
Signals is so iconic to me because listening to it immediately transports me back to a great time in my life. I had just completed my A levels, took a year out and simply had a fantastic time working part time, messing about and enjoying myself. Signals was playing in my bedroom most mornings and evenings when I was home. It was on my walkman when I spent hot summer days fishing and my best mate always had it on when I was round his. It was the soundtrack to my year off.
Signals definitely seemed to be a line in the sand that Rush had drawn from their past. They had evolved over a succession of albums and now their heady days of 2112 and Farewell To Kings were behind them to the point that live performances of the older material was limited to excerpts from just 4 or 5 tracks merged into a 10 minute medley. Signals is quite simply a fantastic album and is probably only bettered by Power Windows as a complete piece of work. I struggle to pick a favourite track from Signals as they are all that good but Analog Kid and Countdown do spring immediately to mind. This album is worth every penny it will cost you. Signals is all about the writing and less about the technicalities of the guitar work. Alex Lifeson steps back and acts more like the thread that weaves this album together rather than his previous roles as the icing on a very elaborate cake. Its is an accomplished piece of work and proved to be the spring board to a series of great albums. The 1983 Signals tour was my first taste of Rush live and quite frankly no other band has even come remotely close to eclipsing these three gods on stage.
I have yet to meet anyone who thinks Signals is a poor album ... although most Rush fans tend to be a little bit biased and protective about the band. Trust me its an album you will play again and again.
on 4 January 2010
I rate this album as one of their very best ever. Right up there with Moving Pictures, Permanent Waves, A Farewell to Kings.
I had just got into Rush and had really liked Moving Pictures.
I then heard this and was blown away.
Whereas many Rush fans stayed stuck in the past and moaned at the "reggae" on the album, I embraced it.
This album was when Rush proved they would continue to be a continuing force in rock music beyond their hard rock roots.
I can't really understand much of the criticism of this album.
Most of it centres around the sound. The guitar is "drowned out".
However, for me this misses the point. People are comapring this with their later work where they hit new heights with synth technology.
This was their first foray into it so was never going to have the same crispness as the others.
Whilst I agree the sound quality is not their best, being obsessive about this is missing the truly superb songs that are on this album.
First, there is one of the greatest Rush songs of all time - Subdivisions. Being a typical 16 year old at the time, the lyrics struck an absolute raw nerve with me and still make the hairs on the back of my neck stick up. They are amongst Neil Peart's very best and could not fit better with the music.
Both Analog Kid and Chemistry are also great efforts.
But then the truly superb Digital Man. This is another outstanding rush song and I was delighted to see it got recognition by being included in their track list for their latest tour.
The Weapon is another clever and imaginative effort and swiftly followed by New World Man. This song epitomises everything that is good about Rush. Superb lyrics, catchy music - all fitting together perfectly.
Losing it is for me one of the most underrated Rush tracks. Some of their best lyrics and music that manages to combine sad and beautiful at the same time.
Countdown is for me not the strongest song on the album. The tune is ok but no more and the lyrics start to verge on the pretentious.
However, it is my only slight criticism.
A truly great album that should get more recognition than it has done.
on 22 March 2001
Although not quite as musically challenging or complex as some of their earlier albums, Signals remains one of my own personal favourites. The lyrics are incredibly descriptive and heartfelt. Who can fail to relate to the deeply personal feelings expressed in "losing it" and the pressure felt by all teenagers to conform and loose their individuality in "Subdivisions" and the "Analog Kid". Thankfully some of us never do entirely. So sit back, close your eyes and soar into the heavens hitching a ride on "Space Shuttle Columbia", if this doesn't send a chill down your spine I suggest you check the mirror to make sure you're not dead!
on 9 June 2010
I still **** my pants every time I listen to this album, I really think it's that good. I remember listening to Countdown when it was in the charts (yes it was people!), this being the first song I had ever heard by the band - I was mesmerised by the lyrics, and story telling of the song, and the way the song just builds and builds, carrying me with it. When I heard the album 5 years later, I had just found out Rush were a 3 piece and was amazed that 3 people could produce such a big sound.
Subdivisions still ranks as one of my favoutite Rush tracks, showcasing Neil Peart's drumming in particular (especially in the closing bars of the song).
As a bass player, I reveled in learing how ton play the bass part in Analog Kid - from the start, this is a tour de force for both bass and guitar. I cannot understand why people complain about the guitars on this album - the solo on Analog Kid is one of Lifeson's best ever, and even now I can hear the passion and rawness of that solo that would leave many guitarist's going back to the drawing board.
Chemistry has Lee, Lifeson and Peart on an equall footing, but, again, I have to say, listen to Lifeson's guitar in this - the playing is full of emotion.
Digital Man - listen to this, then listen to The Police's Walking On The Moon, and you can tell who and what Rush were listening too at the time (I love the police too, and Peart could have done much worse than study the playing of Stewart Copeland...but anyway, this isn't a Police review).
The Weapon starts with an evil disco drum and synth part, and has some of the darkest lyrics Neil Peart has ever written...which might have indicated his mood at the time, I don't know. There are many layers too this song, and you really feel (again) like you are being taken on a music journey...left hanging (until The Enemy Within finishes of the Fear trilogy on Grace Under Pressure, the next album - another must have).
New World Man is not my favourite on the album, but is still a well crafted song with Lee, Lifeson and Peart contributing in equal measure...the upside of this track are the lyrics, which are thought provoking.
Losing It...the one and only Rush track to feature a (wonderful) violin solo - joind by Lifeson at the end. This song still has the ability to make me feel sad and reflective, and when you read the lyrics you are transported into three different stories of 3 people 'losing it'...the end of this song will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
...and back to Countdown again...the Columbia maiden voyage set to a Rush soundtrack, and the first Rush song I heard, when I thought they were a 4 piece band.
Really...whether you like Rush, or are just looking out of curiosity, this album has the capacity to stay with you through your life, and still have the same powerful effect each time you listen to it.
There's your recommendation :)
The follow up to their best album (Moving pictures) and to be honest,this is almost as good,with only the throwaway final track 'Countdown' letting the side down.As with the previous disc the first 4 tracks(side 1 on vinyl) are absolutely superb,the instantly likeable insistent throbbing pulsating 'Subdivisions',the upbeat(for Rush)'Analog Kid' with Geddy's Bass bubbling away,the excellent 'Chemistry' and the dynamic 'Digital Man', a personal favourite,the 3 members combine on these tracks to absolute perfection.
The rest,well its hard to follow those 4 but 'The Weapon' succeeds and who hasnt had a shiver up the spine moment when the electric violin of Ben Mink soars out of the speakers during the sublime 'Losin It' whilst 'New World Man' bounces around trying to be a hit single.This was the last Rush album for years that i had a real connection too,sadly the machine would take over and Alex would be shut out quite a bit while Geddy's keyboards would take over.
on 10 August 2007
Once again Rush have produced a truly stunning collection of songs. My favourate. Always hear something new every time I listen. If you haven't heard Rush before then this is the album to introduce you to their endlessly innovative music.
on 28 September 2004
Although I was aware of Rush's excellent reputation as one of the finest rock bands as recording artists and playing live, I was a relative latecomer to their work.
This Album is simply one of the best rock/progressive rock albums ever made. And contains one of the best songs I've ever heard - Subdivisions. This is an album that I cannot stop listening to.
The album contains musicianship of the highest order and song lyrics that are both moving and thought provoking. On Analog Kid , lyrics such as "Too many hands on my time........" are just so poignant and moving.
The whole album is full of music to close you're eyes to and drift.
These are people who are masters of their craft, and people who know how to take it to the masses. Essential listening for any music fan.
Thanks be to Geddy Lee, Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson!
on 7 March 2016
I don't like this album, at all. I love everything Rush has done up to this point but Signals is just full of horribly brash 'Van Halen' synth and I can't get on with it. Such a disappointment for me compared to the stunningly wonderful Moving Pictures.
I understand the band's need for a change of direction, but it just feels like they lost touch with the Rush sound, much like Genesis did after Gabriel and Hackett left.
on 22 September 2002
What can I say about this album. It seems there are some who think this was a low point in the career of the great Canadian Rock Trio. My personal opinion is that you must look further forward for that but everyone has their favorites and Signals is most definitely one of mine. This was the album that introduced me to the innovative, unique drum heavy sound of Rush. A school visit to the Planetarium in London with Signals as the soundtrack to a laser show played out on the domed roof. Pure genius. I have over the years bought almost every album they ever released. At least up to power windows and hold your fire. Sadly they seem to have gone the way of the other famous Canadian Bryan Adams. A once fine exponent of AOR (well I like his early stuff even if others don't) now sold out to mushy commercial love songs. But signals is just class, along with Permanent Waves, Hemispheres. Well all the albums up to and including Grace under pressure. I guess it's an age thing and it depends what part of the career of Rush that you came in at. I also guess most rush fans will be my around my age or older (35), but for me this is just one of the greatest albums ever produced. And now I hear form the clips on Amazon that with Vapor Trails the bite is back, more of the god of the axe Alex Lifeson with Geddy Lee doing what he does best, Vocals and bass. Nothing drowned in soft synths anymore and of course Neil Peart, the percusionary master. I have never seen rush live but I do have one video of them on the grace under pressure tour. Watching Neil play is just unbelievable. How the three of them make such a big sound is amazing. Fantastic. All I can say is buy this and all their other albums and you will come to understand why we love this band so much. Screw fashion, buy the best
on 5 February 2011
Sprawling, dense and timeless, Signals remains as an absolute Rush classic. It is, for me, one of the most interesting and unusual albums that they ever recorded. Controversial upon release with its radical change in sound and direction, it is strong on synthesizer focus, yet nonetheless it features some of Alex Lifeson's very best guitar work; The Analog Kid, Chemistry and Digital Man shine with emotion and technical brilliance, especially during the solo sections, they also have me scratching my head every time I hear "the guitar really took a back seat on Signals..." Subdivisions, The Weapon and Losing It show Lifeson as an extraordinarily innovative, original and experimental guitarist.
The lyrics, in places, are almost abstract and I often wish Rush (or rather drummer Neil Peart) had pursued this avenue of writing further as it enables the listener to interpret the imagery of the words on a more personal, intellectual level. Chemistry (one of those rare and fascinating ocassions where all three band members shared lyrical input) and Digital Man are possibly the best examples of this 'abstract' writing style.
As one would expect, the music is truly progressive. Rush blended elements of reggae and electronics into heavily technical rock whilst still retaining their own identity. This simply illustrated just how singulary unique and individual a band they were at that time and arguably still are. The Weapon still remains as one of the most powerful, dark and complex compositions they ever recorded. Losing It displayed a softly melancholic side to Rush, a song which builds and builds with dazzling musical complexities that are almost jazz-like in terms of the fusion of instrumentation and time changes.
Subdivisions, with its almost scientific, musical precision, remains infused with a million memories of the isolation and loneliness of feeling like such an outsider during high-school years, of 'lighted streets on quiet nights' and being aware that you were in fact not alone, because there were bands like Rush with people who felt just the same as you and somehow, magically, knew how to paint those almost unbearable feelings into moving pictures of music and words.