.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/c9c0c005ac09f9dd8b6bc138f028b5e359aca201.jpg Grace Under Pressure

Rush

Grace Under Pressure

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
June 21, 1984

This album needs no critical assistance: If you like Rush, you'll love it; if not, then Grace Under Pressure is unlikely to alter your assessment of the band as a lumbering metal anachronism.

For the record, though, Rush has managed to incorporate a number of modern elements into its sound (note the almost danceable rhythms in "Afterimage" and "Red Sector A," and the swelling synthesizers and electropercussion throughout). Geddy Lee, the group's bassist and vocalist, has also gotten his dog-calling falsetto shriek under control.

But these signs of incipient hipness are not what sets young pulses racing throughout the North American heartland. Rush is a band with a message. Briefly put, it's "Be free, and don't let the grown-up world grind you down." Thus, on "The Enemy Within," Lee sings, "I'm not giving in/To security under pressure/I'm not missing out/On the promise of adventure." And the hero of drummer-lyricist Neil Peart's sci-fi allegory, "The Body Electric," is an "android on the run, seeking freedom."

The problem, though, is musical. On record, the lack of melody and any but the most rudimentary harmonic development soon becomes oppressive. In addition, Alex Lifeson is not a particularly interesting lead guitarist, and the strictures of the trio format still result in more splattery drum bashing than you'll ever care to hear. Rush delivers the goods, all right: strong social statements enveloped in a massive, pounding sound. But it's old news, and old music, too.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “American Girl”

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

    It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com