Rush: Grace Under Pressure (1984)

Rush: Grace Under Pressure (1984)

Mercury 818 476-1 M-1

Side One:

  1. Distant Early Warning
  2. Afterimage
  3. Red Sector A
  4. The Enemy Within

Side Two:

  1. The Body Electric
  2. Kid Gloves
  3. Red Lenses
  4. Between the Wheels


Grace Under Pressure is not my favorite Rush album, although I like it immensely.  It also is not the first time I heard the band.  This album stands out, in part, because this album cover was on my very first rock t-shirt.  A momentous occasion in a music nerd’s life.  I loved that shirt…


Grace Under Pressure was Rush’s tenth studio album.  It was their most polished album up until then.  It continued to build on the sounds developed on Signals (1982).  They were moving more and more away from the harder sounds of the first three albums and the prog rock themes of the following albums.  It was a different Rush than fans were used to, but the album did remarkably well.

The record opens with  Distant Early Warning.  It is a great opener with an introduction that draws you in.  It is a warning to everyone that the modern world has major pitfalls as well as conveniences.  Afterimage follows and deals with the loss of a friend or family member (in this case a friend and assistant engineer on some of the band’s earlier albums).  The next song Red Sector A, tells the story of someone living in a prison camp and was inspired by Geddy Lee’s mother’s recollections of the holocaust.  It is catchy despite its subject matter and is my favorite song on the record.  Side one closes with The Enemy Within.  it is part of a song cycle, including: Weapon (Signals), Witch Hunt (Moving Pictures) and Freeze (Vapor Trails).  It is one of the record’s weaker songs and doesn’t quite gel.


The Body Electric opens side two and the band continues with the catchy songs.  The chorus on this song is guaranteed to stick with you.  Kid Gloves follows and continues the theme of frustration with the modernization of the world.  The song doesn’t seem to get the credit it deserves.  It is a great song that rolls right along.  The next song, Red Lenses is by far the weakest song of the bunch.  It seems a hodgepodge of musical ideas that just don’t really work all that well together.  The record concludes with Between the Wheels.  It is musically the darkest song on the album.  It is also one of the most underappreciated songs on the album.  The introductory keyboards are haunting, but become quite uplifting partway through the song before circling back to the haunting abyss.

One thought on “Rush: Grace Under Pressure (1984)

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  1. I didn’t know anything about Rush (aside from hearing Tom Sawyer a couple times on the radio) until just before Presto came out, when my uncle gave me some tapes he didn’t listen to anymore. How it’s possible to *stop* listening to Rush I don’t know, but I’m glad he did. So even though I came in late, I got started early with 2112, Permanent Waves, and Moving Pictures.

    Grace Under Pressure was one of the first albums I ever bought for myself as I started filling in the gaps. Distant Early Warning and Between the Wheels are amazing bookends. There are too many awesome Rush albums to choose just one favorite, but if I were to attempt a list, this one would be near the top for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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