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Grace Under Pressure

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★★★★☆
(156 Reviews)

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  • If forced to pick a favorite Rush album (difficult for me because I’m a die hard fan), this is the one.True, it is darker-sounding than previous outings, and the lyrics are much more foreboding than those that drummer Neil Peart had written before, but Rush wear the mood well.The album is shrouded in synthesizers, electronic percussion, and washes of textural guitar, allowing the band to nod toward what was happening in popular music at the time without sacrificing the virtues thay had always practiced that made them uniqe.For me, it is “Kid Gloves” that is the stand-out track. Time signatures shift between 5/4 and 4/4 as the verse and chorus modulate from the key of G to the key of E. Through all of this, the beat is pumped like some anxious variant of the dance-pop so prevelant in those long gone days of 1984. As icing on the cake, add Alex Lifeson’s warped, cliche-free guitar solo. When other players were trying their hardest to sound like Eddie Van Halen, Alex looked the other way toward players like the Edge, Andy Summers and Adrian Belew, all the while retaining his unparalleled technical command of his instrument and his rather sick sense of humor.If you’ve ever wondered what the musical conventions of the mid-eighties might sound like in the hands of real musicians, then GUP is your kind of record.

    Posted on March 10, 2010