Rush - Signals (40th anniversary/Picture disc) LP
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On April 28th, UMe/Mercury and Anthem Records continue the comprehensive Rush 40th anniversary album series with new and expanded editions of the band's decade-defining 1982 release, Signals, an album that signified how the band was in no way detached and subdivided from the ever-shifting 1980s musical landscape.
Signals, Rush's ninth studio album, was originally released in September 1982, and its technology-embracing riffs and rhythms, continued the forward-thinking trajectory of the acclaimed Canadian trio as it continued to chart the demands of a new decade. The album's eight songs built upon Rush's penchant for adapting to the flow of the times without compromising its flair for melding long-established progressive roots with radio-friendly song arrangements. Signals, co-produced by Rush with longtime band confidant Terry Brown and engineered by Paul Northfield, was the third of numerous Rush recording sessions held at Le Studio in Morin-Heights, Quebec. The band's synergistic recording process at Le Studio had been well-established during sessions for the aforementioned Moving Pictures, as well as the sessions for that album's predecessor, January 1980's Permanent Waves.
"Subdivisions," the generation-defining lead-off track on Signals, succinctly captures the angst of the perennial restless dreams of youth, and this synth-driven song subsequently became one of Rush's most celebrated FM favorites as well as a cherished concert staple for many years to come. Next, the band shifts gears and leans back into the wide-eyed yearnings of "The Analog Kid," a propulsive track that also reached No. 19 on the Mainstream Rock chart. Meanwhile, the quest for emotional interactivity reaches a combustive head in the connective musical tissue of "Chemistry." Side A closes out with the fast-forward thinking of "Digital Man," presaging our eventual reliance on the 0s and 1s that now permeate our daily lives.
Side B commences with the angular thrust of "The Weapon" (subtitled as being "Part II of Fear"), a rumination on personal apprehension and doubt that also serves as a modernized offshoot of the mob-mentality prejudices of "Witch Hunt" (a.k.a. "Part III of Fear") from Moving Pictures. "The Weapon" also became another Rush concert favorite featuring a videoscreen-projected introduction courtesy of Count Floyd, one of Joe Flaherty's many notable characters from SCTV. The kinetic, reggae-tinged lilt of "New World Man" peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, Rush's singular Top 40 hit in the United States. The truly beautiful "Losing It," a starkly honest assessment of knowing when the optimal-performance curtain is coming down and how to gracefully deal with its consequences (or not), features poignant electric violin accompaniment from guest performer Ben Mink. "Losing It" was never played onstage until Rush's final R40 Live Tour in 2015, with Mink reprising his role at the tour's stop in Toronto and Jonathan Dinklage of the Clockwork Angels Ensemble playing on it when the song was performed in the States. The album wraps up with the optimistic skyward views of "Countdown," an unabashed celebratory chronicle of the launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1981. "Countdown" also features approved audio of the voice communications between the Columbia astronauts and ground control.
1LP – SIGNALS
DMM Half-Speed Mastering / Original Album – Produced by Rush and Terry Brown
2. The Analog Kid
4. Digital Man
1. The Weapon
2. New World Man
3. Losing It