Clockwork Angels
by Rush

Album: Clockwork Angels (2012)

Songfacts®:

  • This is the title track from Rush's nineteenth studio album, the Canadian trio's debut set for Anthem/Roadrunner Records. The conceptual record was recorded at Blackbird Studio in Nashville and Revolution Recording in Toronto. The storyline traces a young man's journey through a world of steampunk and alchemy and an unyielding Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life.
  • Speaking with Spin magazine, Rush bassist Geddy Lee explained how the band approached the project. "I didn't want the details of the story to start weighing down the individuality of any one song. I wanted the songs to be a collection that could stand on their own, outside of context of the whole story," he said. "When you look at a collection of songs like those on the Who's Tommy, you could pull 'I'm Free' out of that and it still stands on its own. But in connection to the story, it takes on another interpretation. So there was a lot of discussion about that. I think at one point, Neil (Peart, drummer-lyricist) was a little frustrated with my determination to keep the story-line minimal in a sense."
  • Producer Nick Raskulinecz told MusicRadar.com that every track on Clockwork Angels was born out of Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson jam. "Geddy and Alex would sit in a room and jam with a click track or a simple drum beat," he recalled. The songs were very different without Neil. So that was the first stage of the demos; the next demo stage was to get Neil on the songs."

    "Songs constantly changed," he continued. "Half of the album was written between 2008 and 2010. The second half was written in two weeks in the studio. While Neil and I were tracking drums on some of the finished songs, Geddy and Alex were down the hall working on the other ones."
  • Raskulinecz recalled to MusicRadar: "The first time Neil played to 'Clockwork Angels' was when he sat down in the studio with his headphones on and went for it. It was amazing to watch it all happen. A lot of the drum parts on this album, and especially this song, he only played one time. There weren't multiple, multiple, multiple takes."
  • The Alex Lifeson guitar solo you hear on the record is the original one he recorded for the demo. It's just him playing by himself without the other band members.
  • Clockwork Angels reached #2 on the Billboard 200. In doing so Rush equaled American band leader Ray Coniff's record of achieving 12 to ten albums without ever reaching #1.
  • Clockwork Angels was named Album Of The Year at the inaugural Progressive Music Awards, which were held in London on September 5, 2012. The event, created by Prog Magazine, honors the work of progressive music artists.
  • The album was influenced by Candide, a work by the French philosopher Voltaire that is a favorite of Neil Peart. There are parallels between the title character in Voltaire's work and Owen Hardy, who is the star of Clockwork Angels. Both lead a life of adventure and discovery, concluding that there is no grand plan to the universe and that we are in control of our destiny.

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