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Album: Power Windows

Power Windows is the eleventh studio album by the Canadian rock band Rush, released in 1985 [see 1985 in music]. The album was recorded at The Manor in England, Air Studios in Montserrat and at Sarm East in London. Power Windows introduced more keyboard synthesizers into the band's sound, and featured very precise drumming and guitar. Generally, short, echoey guitar "bursts" tend to outnumber solos as well as riffs. The result is a very open and dynamic yet somewhat spartan sound. Although some fans consider the album to be too sterile, others view this period as the pinnacle of the group's career. “The Big Money” and “Mystic Rhythms,” arguably the two most popular songs on the album, were each made into music videos featured in MTV's rotation at the time. Many fans will agree that repeated listening is key to the enjoyment of Power Windows. Power Windows' lyrics are focused primarily on various manifestations of power, be they overt (nuclear weapons) or personal (frustration at one's lack of power). For example, the song "Manhattan Project" explores the origins and consequences of the U.S. military's development of the atomic bomb. "Territories" comments on nationalism around the world. Like "Subdivisions," from the album Signals, "Middletown Dreams" explores suburban monotony and the average person's attempts to escape it temporarily. As a whole, Power Windows represents the peak of Rush’s “synthesizer period,” although the next release, Hold Your Fire, features a similar amount of synthesizers. Background February 1985, work started at Elora Sound for three weeks, in the barn with a 24 track studio. Bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson were working on songs that fitted to lyrics drummer Neil Peart wrote at a small desk there, and vice versa, Peart writing lyrics that fit songs. He was trying to write the Manhattan Project. Being based on real history, he had to research it. He also wrote rough outlines for The Big Money, Mystic Rhythms and Marathon. Lee and Lifeson sorted through jams and Lifeson’s riff tapes. Those three songs took up to a week. They then began on Middletown Dreams, again Marathon, and then Grand Designs. In March, Peart was going through tapes to the five new songs in a Miami hotel room, getting ready for the warm up tour gig in Lakeland, Florida. They met up with engineer James "Jimbo" Barton, recommended by producer Peter Collins. Later at Elora, the lyrics Peart was formerly struggling with, Territories and Manhattan Project, began to fall together. Peart was also working on lyrics to a ballad called Emotion Detector. The lyrics seemed to work perfectly with the music they were jamming on at the time. Territories was also arranged, and they had a tape of seven songs. They had trouble with Manhattan Project, but Collins contributed ideas to this and other songs. April, at The Manor Studio in England, basic tracks were recorded more quickly than usual, in the span of a few weeks, to capture more spontaneous performances ready for overdubs. Andy Richards was brought in to provide extra keyboard programming and performances. The drum tech was sent to London to pick up African and Indian drums for use on Mystic Rhythms, and bongos were also used on Territories. In May, Lifeson began guitar overdubs at Air Studios in Montserrat. Next in June, at Sarm East studios London, he began on guitar solos, and Lee did vocals. They moved to a townhouse in July for mixing, a decision on the track listing, and the artwork, credits, and photos. Strings were recorded for the album by a 30 piece orchestra in Studio 1 at Abbey Road Studios in August. A twenty five piece choir was also recorded at Angel Studios for the ending of Marathon. September, Lee oversaw the mastering in New York, and proofs were approved for the album cover. Track listing All music by Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee and lyrics by Neil Peart. Side one "The Big Money" – 5:35 "Grand Designs" – 5:06 "Manhattan Project" – 5:05 "Marathon" – 6:09 Side two "Territories" – 6:19 "Middletown Dreams" – 5:15 "Emotion Detector" – 5:10 "Mystic Rhythms" – 5:53 Personnel Geddy Lee - bass guitar, synthesizers, vocals Alex Lifeson - electric and acoustic guitars Neil Peart - drums, percussion Andy Richards - additional keyboards Anne Dudley - strings arrangement Andrew Jackman - conductor, arrangements Jim Barton - engineer Hugh Syme - artwork, cover design Album Trivia The intro to "Mystic Rhythms" was used as the theme music for a news magazine show, "1986", which aired on the NBC network (US) and was hosted by Connie Chung. The album art continues Rush's trend of playing on words. The cover shows television sets, which are a type of "power window". The subject is using a remote control to operate his sash window. Another illustration of the album shows the front cover's subject looking through another type of 'power window', a set of binoculars. The televisions shown on the cover are a 1949 General Electric Bakelite "Locomotive" and two 1958 Predictas [1] In December 2007 demo recordings of the entire Power Windows album were uploaded onto a Rush Internet forum and are currently being spread and shared by fans. The quality of the demos varies although many appear distorted or "warped." These demo versions of the songs are almost identical in all ways to the finished tracks. In addition to using a Wal bass, Geddy Lee uses a Roland Jupiter 8, PPG Wave 2.3, and a Yamaha DX-7 synthesizer on the album. Remaster Details Although the original recording had a SPARS Code of DDD and was considered to be of good quality[2], a remaster was issued in 1997. The remaster follows the trend of newer albums, as it is considerably louder. The tray has a picture of three fingerprints, light blue, pink, and lime green (left to right) with THE RUSH REMASTERS printed in all caps just to the left. All remasters from Moving Pictures through to A Show of Hands are like this. This is just like the cover art of Retrospective II. Includes original black border around back cover image plus lyrics, credits. Charts Album - Billboard (North America) Year Chart Position 1985 Pop Albums 10 Singles Information "The Big Money" Released: Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart Produced by: Peter Collins and Rush Chart positions: #45 US Hot 100; #1 US Mainstream Rock "Territories" Released: Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart Produced by: Peter Collins and Rush Chart positions: #30 US Mainstream Rock "Mystic Rhythms" Released: Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart Produced by: Peter Collins and Rush Chart positions: #21 US Mainstream Rock "Manhattan Project" Released: Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart Produced by: Peter Collins and Rush Chart positions: #10 US Mainstream Rock "Marathon" Released: Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart Produced by: Peter Collins and Rush User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

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