On April 28, UMe/Mercury and Anthem Records continue the comprehensive Rush 40th anniversary album series with new and expanded editions of the band’s decade-defining 1982 release, Signals, an album that signified how the band was in no way detached and subdivided from the ever-shifting 1980s musical landscape.
Signals-40th Anniversary will be available to fans in three distinct configurations, including the (1) Super Deluxe Edition, (2) one-LP Picture Disc Edition, and (3) Dolby Atmos Digital Edition. There will also be a limited edition Super Deluxe box featuring eight lithographs of Neil Peart’s original hand-drawn lyrics for each song on Signals only available through the official Rush online store.
Signals, Rush’s ninth studio album, was originally released in September 1982, and its technology-embracing riffs and rhythms, continued the forward-thinking trajectory of the acclaimed Canadian trio as it continued to chart the demands of a new decade. The album’s eight songs built upon Rush’s penchant for adapting to the flow of the times without compromising its flair for melding long-established progressive roots with radio-friendly song arrangements. Co-produced by Rush with longtime band confidant Terry Brown and engineered by Paul Northfield, Signals was the third of numerous Rush recording sessions held at Le Studio in Morin-Heights, Quebec. The band’s synergistic recording process at Le Studio had been well-established during sessions for the aforementioned Moving Pictures, as well as the sessions for that album’s predecessor, January 1980’s Permanent Waves.
“Subdivisions,” the generation-defining lead-off track on Signals, succinctly captures the angst of the perennial restless dreams of youth, and this synth-driven song subsequently became one of Rush’s most celebrated FM favorites as well as a cherished concert staple for many years to come. Next, the band shifts gears and leans back into the wide-eyed yearnings of “The Analog Kid,” a propulsive track that also reached No. 19 on the Mainstream Rock chart. Meanwhile, the quest for emotional interactivity reaches a combustive head in the connective musical tissue of “Chemistry.” Side A closes out with the fast-forward thinking of “Digital Man,” presaging our eventual reliance on the 0s and 1s that now permeate our daily lives.
Side B commences with the angular thrust of “The Weapon” (subtitled as being “Part II of Fear”), a rumination on personal apprehension and doubt that also serves as a modernized offshoot of the mob-mentality prejudices of “Witch Hunt” (a.k.a. “Part III of Fear”) from Moving Pictures. “The Weapon” also became another Rush concert favorite featuring a videoscreen-projected introduction courtesy of Count Floyd, one of Joe Flaherty’s many notable characters from SCTV. The kinetic, reggae-tinged lilt of “New World Man” peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, Rush’s singular Top 40 hit in the United States.
The truly beautiful “Losing It,” a starkly honest assessment of knowing when the optimal-performance curtain is coming down and how to gracefully deal with its consequences (or not), features poignant electric violin accompaniment from guest performer Ben Mink. “Losing It” was never played onstage until Rush’s final R40 Live Tour in 2015, with Mink reprising his role at the tour’s stop in Toronto and Jonathan Dinklage of the Clockwork Angels Ensemble playing on it when the song was performed in the States. The album wraps up with the optimistic skyward views of “Countdown,” an unabashed celebratory chronicle of the launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1981. “Countdown” also features approved audio of the voice communications between the Columbia astronauts and ground control.
The Super Deluxe Edition includes one CD, one Blu-ray Audio, one high-quality 180-gram black-vinyl LP with new artwork from original album designer Hugh Syme in a premium tip-on jacket, and four 7-inch singles (“Subdivisions,” “Countdown,” “New World Man,” and “The Weapon (Single Edit”), all of them with new artwork from Syme.
The set encompasses the Abbey Road Mastering Studios 2015 remastered edition of the album for the first time on CD. The Blu-ray Audio disc contains the core album newly mixed from the original multi-tracks in 48kHz 24-bit Dolby Atmos (the second Rush album to appear in Atmos, following Moving Pictures) and 96kHz 24-bit Dolby TrueHD 5.1 as done by esteemed producer/engineer Richard Chycki, alongside the previously available 48kHz 24-bit PCM Stereo mix. Also included on the Blu-ray are new animated visualizers for all eight songs, as well as two bonus remastered vintage promo videos: the high-school halls narrative of “Subdivisions” and “Countdown,” the latter of which features authorized Space Shuttle Columbia launch footage. Additionally, the LP in the Super Deluxe Edition has been cut via half-speed Direct Metal Mastering (the second Rush album to have been done as such, again following Moving Pictures) on a 180-gram audiophile black-vinyl LP, and it has been pressed at GZ Media in the Czech Republic.
The Super Deluxe Edition of Signals-40th Anniversary will also include several exclusive items, including a 40-page hardcover book with new song illustrations and new artwork by original album designer Hugh Syme and unreleased photos from the Signals Tour, along with three lenticular lithographs that transition from the original black-and-white band headshots into the original album’s “Digital Man” color headshots; four Signals Tour band lithographs; Syme’s original album cover sketch lithograph; and a double-sided 24×24-inch poster featuring Syme’s new Signals artwork on one side, and an outtake photo from the original album cover shoot on the other side. All contents are housed in a premium lift-top box, which features significantly reimagined cover artwork by Hugh Syme.
The second configuration Signals-40th Anniversary will be released in is a one-LP Picture Disc Edition. The picture disc is housed in a transparent plastic sleeve, and it showcases new Hugh Syme artwork on both album sides.
Finally, the third configuration, the Dolby Atmos Digital Edition, is the digital equivalent of Richard Chycki’s expert Atmos mix of all eight tracks from the original album.