Grace Under Pressureby Rush
Grace Under Pressure was the first Rush album since 1975's Fly by Night to not be produced by Terry Brown, who was replaced by Peter Henderson (Supertramp, Paul McCartney). The change resulted in a slightly more accessible sound than its predecessor, Signals, and marked the beginning of a period where many Rush fans feel that synths and electronics were used too prominently -- in effect pushing guitarist Alex Lifeson into the background. The songwriting and lyrics were still strong however, as evidenced by the video/single "Distant Early Warning" (a tale about nuclear war) and the often-overlooked highlight "Kid Gloves," one of the album's few songs to feature Lifeson upfront. Other standouts include a tribute to a friend of the band who had recently passed away, "Afterimage," the disturbing "Red Sector A" (which details a concentration camp), and one of Rush's first funk-based songs, "The Enemy Within." Whereas most other rock bands formed in the 1970s put out unfocused and uninspired work in the 1980s (which sounds very dated), Rush's Grace Under Pressure remains an exception.
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Performance CreditsRush Primary Artist
Jim Burgess Synthesizer
Geddy Lee Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar,Bass Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Alex Lifeson Synthesizer,Guitar
Paul Northfield Synthesizer
Neil Peart Percussion,Drums,electronic percussion
Technical CreditsRush Producer
Jim Burgess Programming
Peter Henderson Producer,Engineer
Geddy Lee Producer
Alex Lifeson Producer
Paul Northfield Programming
Neil Peart Producer
Hugh Syme Art Direction,Paintings
Jon Erickson Contributor,Pre-production Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This album changed my life when I was a teenager. Being a lifelong Led Zep fan I was looking for something new to listen and my friend took me to a Rush concert in Madison Square Garden a few years later. I had never seen anything like that show. Then I bought Grace Under Pressure and Power Windows and never looked back again. This album has some hard rocking titles, like 'The Enemy Within' and 'Red Sector A' - plus it also has one of the most beautiful rock songs ever, 'Afterimage' which touches me a lot everytime I hear it. These guys are the ultimate rock performers in the world and this album represents their 80's era very well.
This is essentially the darker counterpart to Signals. It's in the same vein - progressive synth-rock with the Rush touch. It always puzzles me that this one is often badly reviewed or overlooked altogether, since it hasn't a bad song on it. There are a lot of synthesizers, but in spite of this, 'Distant Early Warning', 'The Enemy Within' and 'Kid Gloves' rock as hard as anything the band ever did. Recommended for anyone who enjoyed Signals.
Rush really seemed to know what they were doing on Grace Under Pressure.I'm only 12,but Rush is my favorite band.The album shows Geddy Lee can really work well with a synthesizer.Also,Alex Lifeson's guitar solos are more complex than they used to be.There was also a first for Rush on this album.Neil Peart's usage of electronic percussion.I noticed while listening to this album there are electronic drums on every track.Grace Under Pressure just shows that Rush has moved on.I also wrote a review onPresto if anyone wants to read it.
I appreciate GUP more in 2016, as a sort of "former" Rush fan, than I did in 1984 when I was still a rabid Rush fan. However, it has a dated and sort of homogenized (Alex!) sound that limits my enjoyment of it. The songs are, for the most part, interesting here. Most Rush albums made after the early 80s are plain boring to me, but in 1984 some good musical ideas remained on the heels of their masterpiece albums. But the the timbre and tone of this album seems more experimental than inspired to me. By 1984, Geddy Lee's voice had lost its high range, and became sort of non-descript to my ears. Not his fault, it's just too bad. GUP doesn't necessarily call for his Hemispheres-level high shrieks, but still, I just don't enjoy the sound of his voice on GUP that much. Geddy also seemed to put the cheesiest possible sounds together with his synths for this album. For example, the oh-so 1980s synth accents in the verses of Afterimage (a great song, lyrically) annoy me. Geddy's "third strike" was that he started using Steinberger bass guitars on this album, which look and sound no better than a toothpick. Guitarist Alex Lifeson dialed in one tone, and one tone only, from his guitars. In some places, it works beautifully, but certainly not everywhere (oy!). His solos are a little too hurried and frantic at times, like he tried too hard to exert the guitar sound on the synth-focused album. He did inject some nice chord phrases into a couple of the solos, though. He also seemed to forget about something called an acoustic guitar, unfortunately. I do like Neil Peart's stylistic expansion into African-inspired drum beats. He does a lot of nifty things here, but even he has some sound issues...namely with those horrible (to me) electronic drums. Thankfully, he used them kind of sparingly. I also wish he hadn't decided to chuck his acoustic percussion out the window. I'd love to hear more of the "real" stuff that he used so well, like the crotale that starts Kid Gloves. My favorite songs of GUP are the two that have no guitar solo, but try to get some kind of groove going; namely, The Enemy Within and the very un-Rush-like Red Lenses. My lesser favorites are Afterimage, the distinct-sounding The Body Electric, and Kid Gloves. Red Sector A kind of fails to work musically for me against the heavy subject matter of its lyrics, but I really enjoy the atmospheric instrumental interlude in the middle of it. The main single - Distant Early Warning - does nothing for me, and I guess neither does Between the Wheels.