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Signals

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Average Rating
★★★★½
(207 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • For me, this album completes the trilogy “Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, Signals” and parallels my transition into those important high school years.

    I grew up with Rush and can remember my dad telling me to turn the @(*$& down as a 10 year old listening to 2112 on 11 in my bedroom (so you knew it was cool). I remember skipping school the day Permanent Waves was released, running out to the store and then going back to a friends wood paneled basement with some goodies from Tim Hortons and playing the album over and over again wearing out each groove.

    So, yea, you guessed it, by 1982 I was playing guitar in a rock band, trying my best to sound like Alex (I owned a gibson doubleneck (white circa 1972) for a few years as well and like an idiot sold it later in life – suck), had my hair way past my shoulders and really wanted to score with the hot blond chick who had developed earlier than all her friends. Monica, where are you?

    So, what the hell does this have to do with Signals?

    Well, Signals is a grown up, totally mature Rush, finding the sounds of the times as they were changing. Analog to Digital, “progressive” rock giving away to the wash of 80’s synth pop and technology…always the wonder of technology moving forward. The lyrical genius of Countdown for example, remember when NASA wasn’t incompetent? More than 20 years later still a complete pleasure to listen to.

    Disappointingly received when released this albums true brilliance is unquestionable today. Regardless of what “phase” of Rush you dig, Signals is one that should equally be enjoyed by all. One-click this into your collection today!

    As the saying goes… “It’s a jelly eh?”

    Posted on March 17, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • SIGNALS may not be as heavy or exciting as it’s studiopredecessor MOVING PICTURES, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. LIFESON’S guitar took a back seat to GEDDY LEE’S syn-thesizers, but this still sounded like RUSH; it was actuallytheir last album with that original RUSH sound and not coinci-dently, their last album with TERRY BROWN. While me and my bro-thers were initially disappointed with SIGNALS, it’s now one ofmy favorite albums of theirs. The songs themselves are terrific;there are many classic Rush songs here, such as the very scien-tific opening track, the synth heavy SUBDIVISIONS. I didn’t mindtheir chose of synthesizers around this time; I think they addedmore color and texture to their sound and the synths on this al-bum sound gorgeous. The band still rocks out on this, especiallyon SUBDIVISIONS, THE ANALOG KID and DIGITAL MAN. DIGITAL MANand the other man song, NEW WORLD MAN, saw RUSH flirting withPOLICE-like reggae and I found the results rather enjoyable.The real star of this album is NEIL PEART; his drumming has neverbeen, before or since, so playful and adventurous. Check out hislittle disco beat at the beginning of SUB, or his playing onDIGITAL MAN and especially on THE WEAPON; this guy knew his wayaround his drum kit! LOSING IT is a gorgeous little song withvery sad lyrics sung perfectly by GEDDY LEE and features BENMINK on electric violin. GEDDY LEE actually does some of hisfinest singing on this and comes up with many memorable vocallines. THIS IS a WONDERFUL ALBUM!

    Posted on March 17, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Signals is, for me, the definition of the timeless Rush album. This is the case because after all of these years I still listen to it in its entirety every single time I play it. I cannot make the same statement for any of the other Rush CD’s I own, nor any of the 200+ CD’s in my collection. It also holds the distinction of being the first CD I ever purchased, all the way back in 1986. I still have that CD, cracked case and all. It has such a sentimental value to me that I have always wanted to keep the original, and that means the original case as well. Of course, when the remastered version was released, I bought that as well, for the obvious reasons: the improved sound quality (REALLY noticeable here), and the original album photography and art design. If I were to be stranded alone on a deserted island with one CD, a portable player powered by solar energy or any other alternative power source, a fine pair of headphones, and all of the time in the world to kill, Signals would be my choice, hands down, for that one CD. Maybe another reason why Signals always stands the test of time is that when this came out in 1982 I was at an unforgettable point of my life, my senior year of high school, and the song “Subdivisions” connected with me more than any other song I had heard to that point, lyrically speaking. Even though that song was a statement about kids conforming to the masses and paying the price of their individuality for acceptance, I felt I could relate to the lyrics by being the antithesis to Neil Peart’s lyric statement. For I was extremely introverted and individual, yet I still felt a desire to conform, to be accepted. Though in order to do that, I would have had to not be myself and become a non-individual, to “sell my dreams for small desires”. So, in a way, the lyrics had their own unique meaning to me: The desire to escape the “subdivision”, the society of non-individualism, yet still feeling the need for acceptance by their society from the isolated world that lies on the outside. And now, 17 years later, through all of the changes in my life, and all of the Rush songs I have absorbed into my psyche, “Subdivisions” remains my undisputed favorite, with the other seven songs on Signals fighting for second place. Sonically, even though this is the album where the synths really began to announce their presence (where they would stay for the next 10 years), they are here in a soulful enough synergy with the guitars/bass/drums that they do not detract from the energy produced by that core, but enhances the energy instead. The overall sound remains “human”, not “artificial”. It would be the last time the keyboards and the guitars would mesh so perfectly in the wash of sound, for on Grace Under Pressure, they would begin to detach themselves from one other, not to return in such a perfect synergy until Roll The Bones.If you want to own the one definitive Rush studio album, one that speaks to the heart both musically and lyrically, Signals is that album. Because I guarantee you will still be playing this album when the others in your collection begin collecting dust.

    Posted on March 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’ve been a Rush fan since 1983. During my angst-ridden early teenage years, the music and lyrics of Rush meant more to me than anything else. Although my fanatacism for the band has toned down considerably in recent years, Signals remains one of those rare albums that I can listen to over and over again, and practically never grow tired of. There is not a weak moment on this album, and as far as I’m concerned it is this, rather than the oft-cited classic Moving Pictures, that represents the high water mark of the Rush oeuvre.Not unlike Yes’ 90125 or Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood, Signals fuses a majestic synthesis of Hard Rock, New Wave, and Progressive Rock. If only more bands had plied this particular stylistic nexus! From the opening chords of the soaring, synthesizer-dominated Subdivisions (one of two tracks, along with New World Man, which probably needs no introduction to anyone considering the purchase of Signals) to the closing moments of Countdown, this album virtually crackles with freshness and exuberance. In it lie some of Rush’s most underrated tracks: The Analog Kid, a joyous and rocking exultation to the overwhelming beauty of the world, as seen through eyes untainted by cynicism; Digital Man, a reggae-tinged, atmospheric masterpiece; Losing It, a gentle and touching paean (in 5/4 time, no less!) to those who once achieved greatness. The latter remains as one of this bands greatest ballads.Signals is an underappreciated masterpiece, and a fitting capstone to a trio of albums that captured Rush at their absolute zenith (the first two being Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures, respectively). It also marked a turning point for the band, as they were entering a period that favored sythesizers and lush, complex arrangements to overt instrumental virtuousity. That particular period culminated in 1985’s Power Windows, a breathtaking technical marvel, however on the basis of sheer songwriting quality, Signals can’t be beat.

    Posted on March 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • For a band that has encompassed a huge collection of albums, spawning 3 decades, and seen several musical trends and revolutions, Signals is still the album I find myself going back to again and again. I’d also like to say, that for purchasers of this disc the Re-master (In comparison of the disc that is not), makes Niel’s drums sound a little more crisp, and the album is a bit louder and has erased some of the softness of the recording. That being said on with the review….

    I won’t go around echoing the same comments that I have heard here from time to time. The departure from the radio friendly greatness of the last 2 albums, the flat keyboards and poor mixing of Alexs guitar, the absence of 7-10 minute opuses/concepts, the dropping of Terry Brown. All this has been talked about and leaves all those hard core Rush fans (many who seem to borderline be obsessed on the level of Star Trek geeks), too much to fight over.

    What I will say is that to me this is an album that distinctly captures a mood and an era that doesn’t exist anymore. The snythns have this demonic dark underpinning, and for the first time there were many songs on the album (for Rush) that had a distinct dark brooding theme to them. Subdivsions doesn’t just hint at the drudgery and disspair of teenage pressure, it’s litteraly hammered home in Geddy’s verse of “conform or be cast out”, as if he had to spell it out for the listeners.

    The Weapon, while being a great moody piece for Niel to shine hammers home the possible apocalypse, and Loosing It easily needs no introduction with it’s self-titled moniker, and Ben Minks violin solo. It isn’t so much that Ben’s violin sings as much as it literraly weeps and cries.

    Even the glorious Analog Kid which is upbeat in mood and lyric, still sounds as if there is a lingering pathos that just sounds unreal when the sudden abrupt chorus hits of “you move me, you move me.”

    For good measure there are other songs that aren’t dark at all, (New World Man, Chemistry, Digital Man), but there is an overhanging cloud that seems to exist over every song.

    This to me is the greatness of this album. THe tracks and all the music prowess of the members combined with the early 80’s new wave snyth mood going on, produced a dark complicated album that somehow touches me individualy like no other album. There had been dark themes such as say 2112 but it’s a story, Witch Hunt is a common concept and brooding too, but somehow the bleakness and grandeur of this album speaks to me “personally” for the first time for a Rush album.

    The band has still made great phenomenal albums (and even made a bleaker sounding album in Grace Under Pressure), but this is the one that speaks to me. It’s like a perfect conversation with your best friend you haven’t seen in a long time.

    There is no album ever that even sounds like this. Do enjoy.

    Posted on March 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now