Rush - Grace Under Pressure

Rush – Grace Under Pressure


For me, ‘Grace Under Pressure’ is a good but not great Rush album. Many of the songs don’t stick, apart from a couple of exceptions.

Written by: gdmonline

ALBUM: Grace Under Pressure
LABEL: Mercury
SERIAL: 818476-1
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Geddy Lee – vocals, bass, keyboards * Alex Lifeson – guitars * Neil Peart – drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Distant Early Warning * 02 After Image * 03 Red Sector A * 04 The Enemy Within * 05 The Body Electric * 06 Kid Gloves * 07 Red Lenses * 08 Between The Walls



Rolling back the years to 1984, and I will admit to having deserted Rush out of my regular playlist of LP’s in favour of Asia, White Sister and Bon Jovi. A pity really, because Rush didn’t actually put a foot wrong during this timeframe.

The Canadians had embraced technology and in particular the latest brand of synthesizers and outboard gear, and wasted no time in getting to know their new digital friends.

Rush seemed to survive the 80’s outcasting of older 70’s prog related bands with music fans being particularly ruthless. Some changed with the times for the better (Genesis and Yes being two notable examples) while others faded to the fringes.

The Songs

‘Grace Under Pressure’ is a lyrical album of pessimism – for my money. There are a handful of negative connotations here: threat of nuclear war, holocaust, death, fear, conflict. These are threaded through the songs.

Opener ‘Distant Early Warning’ precedes with musical stylings a la The Police, though the synth overlay provides a point of difference. ‘Afterimage’ is heavily synthesized, the song deals with the consequences of someone鈥檚’ passing and the feeling of loss.

The stark driving beat of ‘Red Sector A’ is a song about a potential Holocaust, it’s all pretty bleak to be honest, the music an ideal sound-scape for this lyrical nightmare. ‘The Enemy Within’ is the first part of the ‘Fear’ storybook, again it’s all very dark and shadowy with music to match.

‘The Body Electric’ could be ‘Digital Man’ part II, with its references to digital techno-babble. ‘Kid Gloves’ is all about dealing with conflict while ‘Red Lenses’ would have to be one of Rush’s weirder moments – best left unmentioned I think.. lol!

More bleak sounding synths open the way for ‘Between The Wheels’. Not quite as pompy or proggy as Saga, though the staggered delivery of this one would have you wondering whether Messrs Sadler, Crichton, Gilmour, Negus etc didn’t have a hand in the songwriting!

In Summary

For me, ‘Grace Under Pressure’ is a good but not great Rush album. Msny of the songs don’t stick, apart from a couple of exceptions, particularly ‘Distant Early Warning’ and ‘Red Sector A’. The subject matter was ‘hit and miss’, a lot of it didn’t stick unfortunately. 1985’s ‘Power Windows’ would be their next step. I wonder if this was somewhat prophetic, given the rise to fame and fortune of Microsoft in the next few years.


Distant Early Warning

Rush - Distant Early Warning

The Enemy Within
Rush - The Enemy Within

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Playlist: Rush - Grace Under Pressure (Full Album)
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