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3.18 | 42 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1985

Filed under Non-Metal


1. The Big Money (5:37)
2. Grand Designs (5:06)
3. Manhattan Project (5:07)
4. Marathon (6:09)
5. Territories (6:20)
6. Middletown Dreams (5:15)
7. Emotion Detector (5:11)
8. Mystic Rhythms (5:53)

Total Time: 44:41


- Geddy Lee / vocals, bass guitar, synthesizers, bass pedals
- Alex Lifeson / electric and acoustic guitars
- Neil Peart / drums, percussion, electronic percussion

- Andy Richards / additional keyboards
- The Choir / additional vocals

About this release

Studio album
October 29, 1985
Produced by Peter Collins and Rush

1985 - Mercury(US)(France) LP
1985 - Anthem(Canada) LP
1985 - Vertigo(UK) LP
1987 - Mercury(US)(Germany) CD
1987 - Anthem(Canada) CD
1997 - Mercury(US)(Europe) CD: remastered
1997 - Anthem(Canada) CD: remastered
2009 - Warner(Japan) SHM-CD: CD sized album replica, remastered, limited edition
2009 - Mercury(US) CD: remastered

Thanks to Raff, cannon, Pekka, 666sharon666 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Power Windows is the eleventh studio album from hard rock/progressive rock band Rush. Going further and further down the synth-rock route, Power Windows shows the band remove some of the stark ominous vibe of the previous two synth-led albums, instead opting for a more pop-oriented sound. Not that this is a pop album, but it certainly fits in with the popular music at the time.

Don't worry though, this album still has most of the essential elements of a Rush album. Geddy Lee's bass slaps are especially excellent, adding a nice bounce to some of the tracks like the single "The Big Money" and "Marathon". While Lifeson does take a bit of a back seat as far as riffs go, his solos sing with so much feeling. Speaking of feeling, Power Windows features what I think are two of the most beautiful songs the band has written. These two songs are "Manhattan Project" and "Mystic Rhythms", the melodies from both the vocals and instruments are some of the most emotive the band has done. Peart's lyrics are strong on this one as usual, "Manhattan Project" in particular.

The only real issues with the album are that the keyboards can sound very dated on a few tracks and that the album isn't as consistently good as the previous two albums. There's not really any bad songs, but only about half the album really stands out and stays in my mind after listening. As far as dated keyboards and synth goes, "Grand Designs" is a good example of that. It's a fine song, but the dated synth can get a bit grating after awhile.

If you're a fan of the previous two Rush albums and/or 80's synth-rock/new wave, this album is well worth a listen. Like Hemispheres had exhausted the band's complex progressive rock sound, this album had exhausted their synth sound. Unfortunately, the band didn't realize that and ended up producing their first dud two years later. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!
Rush's Power Windows was a first for the band in one fatal respect - it was the first album since their debut in which their sound had not appreciably evolved or moved on compared to their previous album. Although I find their first few albums hit-and-miss and Hemispheres a bit of a stumble compared to the otherwise excellent run of albums from 2112 to Grace Under Pressure, I have to give Rush credit for growing and evolving their sound constantly over the course of their first ten albums. Power Windows, by contrast, sees them doing something they'd never done before in their career - playing it safe.

Essentially, if you've heard Signals and Grace Under Pressure, you've heard all the tricks the band have to offer here - it's yet another synth-heavy version of Rush's music with a focus on shorter songs, except this time the songs all tend to blend in together and become interchangeable and there's a sense of self-plagiarism about the affair. (Heck, Middletown Dreams is even - lyrically speaking - a rehash of Signals' Subdivisions). Not Rush's best, not by a long way; this album marks the point where the band's golden era was well and truly over.
... Or how RUSH went down. One of their most cheesy albums.

The Canadian trio changed their musical direction roughly every 4 albums, managing to adapt, to evolve and to create their own style. "Power Windows" started a new musical direction period after "Grace Under Pressure". However, the magic and the progressive craft are now gone... No catchy heavy riffs, no epic moments, no futuristic synthesizer or no jazz-rock passages either. All tracks here sounds similar, poppy and commercial. The second half of the 80's has not been quite a favorable period for RUSH, as for most 70's progressive rock bands.

The Canadians will a little rectify their musical style four years later, with "Presto" and "Roll the Bones"...
siLLy puPPy
The beginning of the great decline. I'm pretty much a fan of everything RUSH from the non-progressive hard rockin' debut album to the wonderful synth rock incarnations of SIGNALS and GRACE UNDER PRESSURE. However, this album percolates into my attention span simply because it is RUSH. If this was any lesser musical entity I wouldn't have the time of day to even entertain this mediocrity. Not saying this this is a horrible album as evidenced by my 3 star rating but geez, once you've gone to the musical heights that RUSH achived with many albums in the previoius ten years, how in the world do they possibly think this is an acceptable album even if they want to go the synth route? It simply boils down to the songwriting being extremely substandard and the classic conundrum of making money by appealing to the masses to making music that will appeal to the elite extreme musical literate. Apparantly RUSH felt they paid their dues to the latter and started the attempt to appeal to the former. It's an OK album. I find some of the tracks like “Big Money” and “Manhattan Project” to be acceptable but this album just reeks of mediocrity. A very sad moment indeed considering the artists here.

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