Wish Them Well
by Rush

Album: Clockwork Angels (2012)
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Songfacts®:

  • Producer Nick Raskulinecz told MusicRadar.com about the difficulties drummer Neil Peart had on this hard-edged party rocker. "This was the hardest drum track of any of the songs to get," he said. "Neil doesn't really play double-time, so this was taking him out of what he usually does. That wasn't always the idea; in fact, that was me trying to keep the energy up. The tune wanted to move, and the riff wanted to be big – it didn't want to be mellow or straight.

    Neil's the consummate pro, man," he continued. "He fu--ing dug in – sat down on his throne, picked up his sticks and made it happen. He's the dream for a producer to work with. I was throwing stuff at him that an octopus couldn't play, but he could.

    I know I keep going back to riffs, but the throb of this riff is so huge, and now the crack of the snare and the smack of the bass drum match it beautifully. We had to find that. It took all day, but it was worth it."
  • Speaking with Canada's Maclean's magazine, Neil Peart explained how the band came up with the concept for Clockwork Angels. "This started as a simple [idea]—the steampunk image and aesthetic I liked, I suggested to the guys as the basis for some kind of extended work," he said. "It built up to [the album] piece by piece by organic expansion. All the music was created by [bassist] Geddy [Lee] and [guitarist] Alex [Lifeson] jamming in the studio, and many of the lyrics were just extemporized over email."

    There's so much life experience in this story—it's not just a far-blown fantasy," continued Peart. "'Wish Them Well' [offers] a very mature response to the world that it took me a long time to learn. In a lot of our early stuff, my lyrical inspiration was anger, for sure. [laughs] There's still a lot I'm angry about, a lot of human behaviour that's appalling and despicable, but you choose what you can fight against. I always thought if I could just put something in words perfectly enough, people would get the idea and it would change things. That's a harmless conceit. With people too, you constantly think, 'If I'm nice to people and treat them well, they'll appreciate it and behave better.' They won't, but it's still not a bad way to live."
  • Speaking on the CBC Radio 2 program, The Strombo Show, Neil Peart discussed Rush's songwiting process: "Here is a good example of the Rush way of doing things," he said. "We've never given up on a song. We do not have a single unreleased song in the world. Because if we went far enough, we believed in it. We kept working on it. A lot of stuff got thrown away before it got that far, or siphoned into other songs."

    "I call my lyrical file the 'scrap file.' And I go when I'm looking for bits and pieces. And musically we're the same," Peart continued. "If the thing's not happening, we throw it away."

    "There's one song on Clockwork Angels that was… 'Wish Them Well', three times we wrote that song, and threw it away, and it was the third version, finally, that pleased us all," he added. "So, all the way along, the will was only fed by the inspiration… we believe in this song. But, inevitably, when you get to the recording stage and the mixing stage, it might not be what you envisioned. So we all have those certain songs that, 'Oh, I believed in that song. I thought it would be more.'"

Comments: 2

  • Ray from Roseville, MiIt's about saving face. You let go of the ones who did you wrong, but instead of causing them hurt or holding a grudge, you simply "wish them well."
  • Ryan from El Cajon, Ca The line, "Even though you're going through hell, Just keep on going" was most likely inspired by what Winston Churchill once said. "If you're going through hell, keep going."
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