POLL: Best Track on Rush's Grace Under Pressure

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Purchased my copy (vinyl of course) at Sound Odyssey in the Cherry Hill Mall! As for Rush's most underrated album I'd vote for Hold Your Fire.

zaxxon25, Wednesday, 6 February 2008 17:38 (fourteen years ago) link

I love "Red Sector A," but I must go with "Distant Early Warning," `cos I worry about you.

Alex in NYC, Wednesday, 6 February 2008 17:52 (fourteen years ago) link

between the wheels

ciderpress, Wednesday, 6 February 2008 18:25 (fourteen years ago) link

Between the Wheels is quite good, yes. I saw them recently on a tour and they played that, which was a pleasant surprise.

Joe, Wednesday, 6 February 2008 18:37 (fourteen years ago) link

Body Electric has a great drum beat

Joe, Wednesday, 6 February 2008 18:38 (fourteen years ago) link

Sort of Jaki Liebezeit-ish metronomic at the start, then by the end of the song is very much classic-era Peart.

Joe, Wednesday, 6 February 2008 18:40 (fourteen years ago) link

kid gloves is underrated but i had to go distant early warning

love this album! such a weird mix of prog, pop, new wave, and hard rock

M@tt He1ges0n, Wednesday, 6 February 2008 18:56 (fourteen years ago) link

Red Sector A is my fave of the bunch. Love this album!

A. Begrand, Wednesday, 6 February 2008 19:41 (fourteen years ago) link

kid gloves is underrated but i had to go distant early warning

I read this as "Kid A" and my heart lept madly.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 6 February 2008 20:52 (fourteen years ago) link

Alex in NYC OTM. Much as I'd like to show how cool I am by not picking the single, I'm picking the single.

rogermexico., Wednesday, 6 February 2008 21:30 (fourteen years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

ILX System, Sunday, 10 February 2008 00:01 (fourteen years ago) link

What Alex said. I really like "Body Electric" too though.

Sundar, Sunday, 10 February 2008 00:03 (fourteen years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

ILX System, Monday, 11 February 2008 00:01 (fourteen years ago) link

seven years pass...

I love this album and "Distant Early WArning" I was so glad to hear live. but idk, "Red Sector A" is just so chilling. Lee says part of the narrative was based on his mother's recollection of surviving and being liberated from a concentration camp. the "stand up straight" line kills me.

Hammer Smashed Bagels, Friday, 29 May 2015 14:26 (seven years ago) link

seven years pass...

While not wildly different from what was used on songs like "Chemistry" and "Prime Mover", there's something far-more present and vital about the tone, clarity, and mix-level of the guitars on "Kid Gloves" - I would love to hear a remaster of Signals and Hold Your Fire where Alex got to remix those guitar tracks so they sounded more like Grace Under Pressure's. How did producer Peter Henderson give the guitars that extra mmmph, all while making sure the keyboards and bass are still prominent in the mix, in a manner they didn't quite get on those other records? Power Windows gets that GUP balance fairly close, especially with the larger sonic palette they were employing - what happened to disrupt that balance on HYF? It's not like they changed producers, as Peter Collins was retained after PW, who also did Operation: Mindcrime (!) and Indigo Girls' Rites of Passage (!!).

Front-loaded albums are musical gerrymandering (Prefecture), Tuesday, 2 August 2022 16:48 (two months ago) link

I think that digital recording/sequencers/triggering/electric drums etc. helped amp up the clarity of Grace Under Pressure and peaked with Power Windows. I suspect Hold Your Fire was trying for more of a live band sound, whether or not it successfully was, which in the end left it a little compromised sonically, since you can hear that sneaking back in but you can also hear the '80s. Presto is probably their clearest, sparest recording (though not without its own sonic massaging), which I suspect was a reaction to that.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 2 August 2022 17:01 (two months ago) link

Once again, monster mask bass nerd nails it:


(OTM comment on a different one of his awesome covers: "You know this is an 80s Rush song when Troy has enough time to sip his coffee during the bridge.")

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 2 August 2022 17:06 (two months ago) link

Presto is probably their clearest, sparest recording (though not without its own sonic massaging), which I suspect was a reaction to that.

― Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, August 2, 2022 12:01 PM

The advances in recording tech make sense. I used to wonder if thinner, less bass/more high-end production choices of the '80s in comparison with the crunchy-boogie mid-'70s or the brick-walled mid-'90s was because there's always a rush (rim_shot.gif) to be the first to use some new gadgetry, whether or not they actually know how to use it. But then I read that it was an intentional act, sometimes informed by sounds-weird-now-but-made-sense-at-the-time factors like "will it sound good on a clock radio?", "will it sound too 'dated' on FM against all of the less-low-end modern music?", or "Producers now preferred cocaine to marijuana."

I remember an interview with Alex in one of the Guitar mags, where they referred to Alex's guitar parts on Hold Your Fire as "pastels", whereas Presto is where Rush were getting back to (cliche alert) "3 guys in the same room, rocking out". While the overall dynamic range sounds brittle compared to the hugeness of Counterparts a few years later, when I finally got to see Rush play live on the Counterparts tour, "Show, Don't Tell" sounded absolutely colossal, making me really disappointed that I missed the Presto tour, so maybe the songs were ahead of their production agenda?

Although, I actually quite like the so-called "pastels" - I may be stealing this line from Alfred Soto's blog, but they do sound like the "cha-CHING!" guitars all over Scritti Politti's Cupid and Psyche - I just wished the riffy parts in HYF were heavier, but they work in "High Water" and "Force Ten".

Front-loaded albums are musical gerrymandering (Prefecture), Tuesday, 2 August 2022 19:51 (two months ago) link

The songs on Presto could definitely do with being beefed-up in the studio but I admit I’m fond of the very 1989-into-1990 ambient sonics of the production, like the very start of “Show Don’t Tell” before they all kick in together; this is one aspect of the Hine production era I definitely like

The “pastels” as mentioned was definitely at some sort of apex with HYF, and while the bottom end of the guitar sound is missing, the arpeggiated material sounds great

Master of Treacle, Tuesday, 2 August 2022 23:28 (two months ago) link

Read an interview with Alex from around the time of "Grace Under Pressure," where he said he was kind of tired of guitar heroics and instead was more interested in atmospherics a la Andy Summers and the Edge. I think specifically he said he was more interested in exploring the whammy bar than offering flurries of notes, which sounds about right. It's maybe no wonder one of his most beloved solos is "Limelight," which is about as far from fast fret stuff as possible. The solo on "Chain Lightning" on "Presto" is sort of the extreme of this, for at least part of its duration; iirc the whole thing may be backwards.

Around 2:20 here:


Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 3 August 2022 02:17 (two months ago) link

What's wild about Grace Under Pressure is that prior to this, producer Peter Henderson was Supertramp's main producer.

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 5 August 2022 04:50 (two months ago) link

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