New World Man
by Rush

Album: Signals (1982)
Charted: 42 21
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Geddy Lee (from Success Under Pressure): "It wouldn't have been on the record if we didn't have four minutes space available. We tend to have pretty strict ideas on how long an album should be and basically it's just a matter of value. Our shortest albums are about 18 minutes a side and that's a pretty good value. I couldn't see us going below that; it doesn't make sense to me. But, at the same time, we're now recording digitally and so we do have certain considerations as to how the whole thing's going to sound when you cut it. There, you're dealing with quality, which is again down to value for money. I think what it really boiled down to was that we'd worked so hard getting all these slick sounds that we were all in the mood to put something down that was real spontaneous. In the end, the whole song took one day to write and record. It's good to put something together like that."
  • Neil Peart (from Stories From Signals, Signals Tourbook): "Writing it in one day and recording it the next! We wanted to capture a spontaneous, relaxed feel for this one, not even spending much time getting the sounds together. Thus, it could stand in contrast to the rest of the album, being much more raw and "live" in its affect. Two days is very close to a record for us to write and record a song." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington, for all above
  • Rush is not a singles band, as fans tend to buy the albums. "New World Man" is by far their highest-charting single, and their only Canadian #1. In America, it was the the only Rush song to crack the Top 40.
  • The working title for this song was "Project 3:57" because they were writing it in order to fill the three minutes and 57 seconds of record space left after the album's first seven songs were done.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 28

  • Nick from SacramentoThis song is *clearly* about the USA. Consider the time it was written, 1983, when the Cold War was still raging.

    Terms like "Old World" and "Third World" definitely refer to other countries. "Third World" had an especially potent meaning in 1983. It was the developing and often unstable part of the world that the USA and the USSR were fighting over.

    America as the "New World Man", full of power "with weapons on patrol", admired and yet resented by other nations, trying to save the day (from Soviet aggression) for the Old World (Western European) Man, and trying to pave the way (a way other from Communism) for the Third World Man. Culturally it often was (and still is) seen as primitive by the Old World Man, and imperious by the Third World Man.

    Is the song pro-USA? In the sense that it is upbeat, yes. However, the lyrics also contain admonitions and warnings of how the USA, with all its power, could blunder terribly, and even possibly do evil. The New World Man, for all his nobility, still has problems with his power and poisons. Neil Peart, a Canadian, viewed the USA quite positively, while still acknowledging its flaws.
  • Nathan from Wichititty, KsBarack Obama is the New World Man.
  • Frank from Brenham, Texas, Txrush transcends all levels of music. they combined a 4/4 time, with astonishing rhthym guitar and added a spark by introducing lyrics that made the listener embark on a questioning of life and our pursuit for greatness. another example why rush is so damn good.
  • Daniel from Mill Hall, PaHey, Stunner,(get a real name) how is RUSH overrated? You obviously don't know what great musicianship or talent is! These guys have been around for 30 years now, and are creating still, great works of art!! Now please tell me, what is the basis of your remark. Daniel,PA, USA
  • Stunner from Australia, Australiathe most overrated band in history. these guys don't impress me or any one else.
  • John from Asheville, NcI love this song. It gets a lot of trash from some fans...but I think it's catchy as hell and wonderfully played. It's a nice compliment to the sentiment in Tom Sawyer.
  • Kenneth from Cary, NcThis is a very good example of what makes these guys such good musicians. The story was passed along to me as "Project 341". Then like now, album length was dictated by the medium - back then it was vinyl. Once they had all of the songs recorded the total running time provided a surplus of around four minutes - 3 minutes 41 seconds to be exact (look at the original vinyl). They split the work load by task - Neal did the math and worked out the time signature and structure then cranked out some (pretty amazing) lyrics while the other two worked out the melody and accompanyment.

    As far as meaning goes, this is the coming age for the complex post modern (North) American Male and it's all there. Balancing integrity with temptation, responibility with self interest, evironmentalism with ambition. There are no short cuts; you have to learn it as you go along. Romantic and flawed at heart but optimistic and perservering.
    I love this so because as I grow older and change, when I listen to it, I can still relate; it feels like it is about me and my generation.
  • Kenneth from Cary, NcThis is a very good example of what makes these guys such good musicians. The story was passed along to me as "Project 341". Then like now, album length was dictated by the medium - back then it was vinyl. Once they had all of the songs recorded the total running time provided a surplus of around four minutes - 3 minutes 41 seconds to be exact (look at the original vinyl). They split the work load by task - Neal did the math and worked out the time signature to fit it all in then cranked out some lyrics while the other two worked out the melody and accompanyment.
  • Matt from New Castle, NhShould have sold this song to The Police.
  • Frank from Brampton, Ontario, CanadaAnother one of their awesome tunes!
  • Reed from Cincinnati, OhI honestly think this song talks about the anti-christ... "He's got a problem with his poisons, but you know we'll find a cure" ever seen "left Behind"?
  • Kent Lyle from Cincinnati, OhNot only does this song lack a guitar solo, but the bass guitar appears to be the lead instrument, with the guitar playing rhythm arpeggios.
  • Ian from Greensboro, Nci think that this song is kinda about the next generation of adolesence getting disiplined...this sounds kinda weird i know but as i have 2 younger bros my dad is always trying to snap me into shape and keep it that way...when the song is saying that some people have problems with their power, for me it is when my bros are aggrivating me and i have to walk a fine line to keep my self control and satisfy my dad, and we are the new world people that are the next generation of workers and have to learn how to run the big machine...get what i'm saying...
  • Richard from Livonia, MiThe song is obviously about North America (as a previous post state. "Learning to save the day for the Old World Man" (Europe), "Learning to catch the heat of the Third World Man" (South America, Africa, Middle East, etc.)
  • Joe from Philadelphia, PaOn the bonus cd from Rush Replay X3, you get a version of New World Man that has the extended/alternate ending which may be Geddy Lee's coolest bass riff on any album. I don't believe they have played New World Man in concert since the power windows tour so getting the extended version of this song on Rush Replay X3 was a huge bonus.
  • Ben from Golden, CoThe theme of this song is similar to the Beatle's "Nowhere Man".
  • Tom from East Lyme, CtThe ONLY Rush song that I can think of that stays in 4/4 time throughout the whole song
  • Joe Public from Anytown, AlMy interpretation of the song is that it is about the New World countries (mainly North America), with the analogy being the personification - even anthropomorphism - of them as the New World Man. "He's old enough to know what's right / But young enough not to choose it / He's noble enough to win the world / But weak enough to lose it."
  • Sebastian from Miami, FlNeil Peart was listening to a lot of The Police during this time,and Stewart Copelands influence is obvious in some of the reggae grooves in this song
  • Luke from Fountain Inn, ScI think this song talks about how present day man is destroying the envirnment.
  • Josh from Phoenix, AzWe all know that Neil Peart read Ayn Rand, and Lee talking about how the person being described can win the world and lose it reminded me of Jim Taggart from Atlas Shrugged, not sure if Peart wrote this song but it does offer some parallels between it and Rands villans.
  • Greg from Oakville, CanadaActually, this isn't his best bass song i don't think because La Villa Strangiato is probably better!
  • Greg from Oakville, CanadaBeing a bass player for 5 years, i haf 2 go along with the guys comment below. This is probably one of Geddy's best bass songs!
  • Jesse from L.a., CaThe bass sequencer is cool, man.
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InNot a bad Rush tune, but far from being their best by a long shot. You need to go back further to get really good Rush. Not to say newer Rush is bad, but the older stuff is where it's at.
  • Joblahblah from Sanjoaustin, United StatesThis song reminds me of Harry Potter!
  • Judson from Birmingham, AlNo one really addresses what this song is about. This song is about a young and upcoming youth in the world who could have it all, but also has the ability too lose it all because the very situation that allows him to win the world, is also the very samething that can cost him the world.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesThis was Rush' highest-charting single in the US, where it reached No.21, but in the UK, it became the band's fourth UK hit where it only reached No.36 in 1982. Three of Rush' five UK hits peaked at No.36!
see more comments

George ClintonSongwriter Interviews

When you free your mind, your ass may follow, but you have to make sure someone else doesn't program it while it's wide open.

George HarrisonFact or Fiction

Did Eric Clapton really steal George's wife? What's the George Harrison-Monty Python connection? Set the record straight with our Fact or Fiction quiz.

Gary NumanSongwriter Interviews

An Electronic music pioneer with Asperger's Syndrome. This could be interesting.

Jon Foreman of SwitchfootSongwriter Interviews

Switchfoot's frontman and main songwriter on what inspires the songs and how he got the freedom to say exactly what he means.

Angelo Moore of FishboneSongwriter Interviews

Fishbone has always enjoyed much more acclaim than popularity - Angelo might know why.

Todd RundgrenSongwriter Interviews

Todd Rundgren explains why he avoids "Hello It's Me," and what it was like producing Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell album.