Signals (album)

From Academic Kids

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LP & CD by Rush
Released September 25 1982
Recorded 1982
Genre Progressive rock
Length 42 min 18 s
Record label Mercury Records
Producers Terry Brown and Rush
Professional reviews
RollingStone review 2/5 link (
ARTISTdirect review 4½/5 link (,,157490,00.html)
Rush Chronology
Exit...Stage Left
Grace Under Pressure

Signals is the ninth studio album by the Canadian rock band Rush, released in 1982 (see 1982 in music). The album marked Rush's foray into the techno-oriented 1980s, via the increased use of electronic instrumentation (keyboards, sequencers, electric violin). Drifting farther away from their hallmark extended instrumentals, the band turned out a rather "industry standard" eight songs, the longest of which is 6:24. Because of this, many people felt a lot of Rush's 'soul' was missing on Signals, but nevertheless the album is considered a strong one with an all-around up-tempo feel. The album is also widely regarded to contain some of drummer Neil Peart's best lyrics.

One factor many people tend to overlook in their evaluation of this album is the incorporation of some then "new" Caribbean influences such as reggae, ska, & calypso, a la another prevalent 1980s trio: The Police. Songs "Digital Man" and "New World Man" are the prime examples of the band's use of these styles.

Close scrutiny of the album's inner artwork (e.g., the "Blueprint") reveals not only their intent to maintain continuity within certain musical and lyrical themes, but also their self-deprecating sense of humour.

The stronger tracks include "Subdivisions", which explores the adolescent misfit subculture which so many of the band's followers have endured. One of the band's staple tunes, it is also a classic and challenging play-along for some first-year drummers.

Opening with one of Peart's signature drum fills, "Digital Man" is a fast-paced rocker that showcases bassist Geddy Lee's incredible mastery of both his instrument and its rightful place in the rock genre.

"New World Man", an FM radio staple, is an accessible song with lyrics written in a somewhat similar vein to Moving Pictures' "Tom Sawyer". Interestingly, this song was written and recorded almost on a whim at the end of the recording sessions in order to preserve the continuity of the then-popular cassette tape format.

"Losing It" includes a guest appearance by FM alumnus Ben Mink, showcasing his talent through the use of multi-tracked electric violins. (Mink later collaborated on Geddy Lee's 2000 solo album, My Favorite Headache.) This masterpiece also included lyrics by Peart which reference, among other things, the latter years of writer Ernest Hemingway: "for you the blind who once could see, the bell tolls for thee..."

"Countdown" is example of lyricist Neil Peart's descriptions, derived from literary influences: "venting vapours like the breath of a sleeping white dragon...", as he recounts the launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1981.

Signals also represents the band's last collaboration with producer Terry Brown, who had co-produced every Rush album since 1975's Fly by Night.

Signals is notable for being one of the earliest albums to be recorded and mixed digitally.

Track listing

  1. "Subdivisions" - 5:33
  2. "The Analog Kid" - 4:46
  3. "Chemistry" - 4:56
  4. "Digital Man" - 6:20
  5. "The Weapon" - 6:22
  6. "New World Man" - 3:41
  7. "Losing It" - 4:51
  8. "Countdown" - 5:49

(The Track Listing is from the CD Release. This album was originally released on LP and cassette.)


Geddy Lee | Alex Lifeson | Neil Peart | John Rutsey
Original studio albums
Rush | Fly by Night | Caress of Steel | 2112 | A Farewell to Kings | Hemispheres | Permanent Waves | Moving Pictures | Signals | Grace Under Pressure | Power Windows | Hold Your Fire | Presto | Roll the Bones | Counterparts | Test for Echo | Vapor Trails
Other studio records
Not Fade Away | Feedback
Live albums
All The World's a Stage | Exit...Stage Left | A Show of Hands | Different Stages | Rush in Rio
Archives | Chronicles | Retrospective I | Retrospective II | The Spirit of Radio: Greatest Hits 1974-1987
Side projects
Burning For Buddy | Burning For Buddy, Vol. 2 | Victor | My Favorite Headache


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