Power Windows by Rush

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Power Windows by Rush
Power Windows by Rush

Album Released: 1985

Power Windows ::: Artwork

album ratingalbum ratingalbum ratingalbum ratingalbum ratingalbum ratingalbum rating  Info about Weighting

1.The Big Money5:36
2.Grand Designs5:05
3.Manhattan Project5:05
6.Middletown Dreams5:17
7.Emotion Detector5:10
8.Mystic Rhythms5:46


Power Windows sees another change in Rush's sound. This time, the album is flooded with airy synthesizer and guitar, and the drums are filled with lots of reverb, more than on Permanent Waves. So in a way, this album has a very typical 80's sound.

So I was shocked by the opening chords of "The Big Money", but I can't say one way or the other whether the sound is better or worse, because sound alone isn't what defines the quality of a Rush album. What does is the song quality. So then - what about the song quality here?

Well, I won't pretend this is a great Rush album, but I sure enjoy it. Although it's not innovative or especially original, it is competently written and performed. So yeah, this is a pretty 'average' album by Rush standards, and arguably the first one where they didn't try anything new.

There are more fillerish songs here than on any of the band's other albums - "Grand Designs", "Middletown Dreams", and "Emotion Detector" aren't exactly essential Rush. They're good tracks though, with beautiful performances, and cleverly written, but I've nevertheless heard better from Rush.

So this album doesn't deserve a very high rating. But I do enjoy it nonetheless - even the oft-maligned "Manhattan Project", with all its pomp and whatnot - manages to entertain; unoriginal and uninventive yes, but nevertheless beautiful.

The album does include a couple of classics though. The opening "The Big Money" is one of the best tracks on the album, rocking steadily and firmly, and the synths no longer dominate, even though they are still present. And the 'novelty' track "Mystic Rhythms" is equivalent to "Red Lenses" on Grace Under Pressure, casting an eerie atmosphere via tribal percussion and some dark guitar work.

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by Reviewer: Fernando Canto (blogging at Sir Mustapha's Album Reviews [Defunct])

Whenever I listen to Power Windows, I don't think of any of the songs as actually *bad*, but at the same time none of them do anything exciting or memorable. But whilst the album might not be Rush's shining moment, it's probably their most consistent.

It's like the band grew complacent and weren't willing to experiment anymore, but they'd gotten so good at what they did they figured out exactly what they needed to do to not suck. They continue with the simplified turn taken with Grace Under Pressure, and this time turn out a product that's even more simplified, and also without the awesome highlights. So Power Windows is like a more sterile version of that album.

But as I said, everything is good. “The Big Money” starts things off well - its introduction is arguably the highlight of the whole album ... Rush packed in a number of sound effects that manage to grab my attention. But after the first 30 seconds or so, they find a comfortable niche and then stay in it - Lee starts singing a so-so melody while thumping away with his bass guitar, Peart chugs away with his drums, and Lifeson comes up with some thickly-mixed guitar crunches.

So whilst nothing here is especially memorable, it's all pleasant enough to sit through! "The Big Money" has a mid-tempo pace, and so does everything else - the band had grown so complacent they weren't even willing to try different tempos! One could even argue that all eight of these tracks are in fact the same song, it's like rock 'n' roll purgatory!

“Manhattan Project” strikes me as a minor highlight. It starts out with some quiet spacey sound effects, giving the impression that it's going to be an 'epic', except I get a funny feeling they're going to start singing “Forever Young” by Alphaville! Anyway, the textures are more varied in that song, and I love the string sequence in the middle, which helps it stand apart from the rest of the material. But overall it's still too complacent for it to be memorable, and the vocal melody does nothing for me at all.

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)

Power Windows isn't much better or worse than Grace Under Pressure, but with one main fault: the production is really harsh. There's very little warmth to the keyboards, bass, guitar, or anything.

It's noticeable too that on this album Peart's lyrical focus begins to shift to New Age self-help guru stuff, most obvious in "Marathon" (an otherwise good song) where he spouts you can do a lot in a lifetime if you don't burn out too fast. You can make the most of the distance. First you need endurance, first you've got to last. OK, now let's all join hands and find our 'peaceful' spots.

Such lyrics would be a problem if the music sucked, but for the most part it doesn't. First there's "The Big Money", the most upbeat Rush song since from around the time of "Limelight". Other highlights include the oft-overlooked "Middletown Dreams" and "Mystic Rhythms", which are a lot better than their New Age titles might imply. In fact, I'd say "Mystic Rhythms" is the album's best song.

There are however a few duffers. "Grand Designs" doesn't really accomplish much, aside from some weird synthesizer bits in the chorus. And I can't remember anything about "Territories" or "Emotion Detector" once they finish. And although the music on "Manhattan Project" is good, I find the lyrics rather trite.

All in all then, Power Windows is a mixed bag.

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by Reviewer: Cole Reviews (blogging at Cole Reviews)