Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: Permanent WavesReleased: 1980
Geddy Lee (Rockline, Dec 4 1989): "The song is about freedom of choice and free will, and you believing in what you decide you believe in."
Neil Peart: "Lotus-land as it appears in 'Free Will' is simply a metaphor for an idealized background, a 'land of milk and honey.' It is sometimes also used as a pejorative name for Los Angeles, though that was not in my mind when I wrote it."
From the Rush FAQ: Lotus-land is mentioned in The Odyssey
, where Odysseus goes to the land of the lotus-eaters. The people hang out and eat lotus petals, and are perfectly happy but basically brainless.
In 1993, no movie was made about this song. You're thinking of Free Willy, which is about a boy and his love for a killer whale.
This song uses somewhat strange time signature changes. The time signature alternates 6/4, 7/4, 6/4, 7/4, 6/4, 8/4 and repeats during the first verse.
The lyric, "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice" was originally written "If you choose not to decide, you cannot have made a choice," but was later changed to make more sense logically.
The Permanent Waves
album marked the band's transition from epic length tracks to more compact songs, generating increases in both radio airplay and album sales.
This song can be seen as an atheist screed, as it champions the idea that we are in control of our own destinies and not listening to "some celestial voice" for guidance. Neil Peart is not an avowed atheist, but does question the existence of God.