Rush: Clockwork Angels [2012]

Released June 8, 2012 (Australia)[1]
June 12, 2012 (US and Canada)
June 13, 2012 (Europe)
Recorded April 2010 at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Tennessee; October–December 2011 at Revolution Recording in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genre Progressive rock, hard rock[2]
Length 66:04
Label Anthem (Canada), Roadrunner[3]
Producer Rush, Nick Raskulinecz

Clockwork Angels is the nineteenth full-length studio album by Canadian rock band Rush released on June 12, 2012. The album was recorded in April 2010 at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Tennessee and from October – December 2011 at Revolution Recording in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[4]

Two songs that would eventually appear on the album, “Caravan” and “BU2B”, were released to radio stations and made available for online digital purchase on June 1, 2010.[5] Following the release of these two songs, the band embarked on the Time Machine Tour in 2010 and 2011 with the first live performances of “Caravan” and “BU2B” as part of the nightly set list. Clockwork Angels was completed following this tour. The album’s second single, titled “Headlong Flight“, was released on April 19, 2012 and a third single, “The Wreckers” released July 25, 2012.

The album debuted at #1 in Canada and at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart.

One of the earliest indications that the band would begin working on new studio material came from an interview with guitarist Alex Lifeson in February 2009. At this time he speculated that Nick Raskulinecz, who worked with the band on their previous album Snakes & Arrows, would be invited to return as co-producer. At the same time, he denied that the band would create a “concept album“.[6]

On March 19, 2010, the CBC posted a video interview with bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee and Lifeson, which contained the first definitive announcement by the members of Rush. At the time, Lee was quoted as saying “… Just about a month and a half ago we had no songs. And now we’ve been writing and now we’ve got about six songs that we just love…”.[7] On March 26, 2010, in an interview with The Globe and Mail, Lifeson reconfirmed that the band had already written a half-dozen songs and that there was the potential for two supporting tours, one planned for Summer 2010 and a more extensive tour planned for Summer 2011. While still uncertain of exactly how and when the new material would be released, at the time he projected a tentative Spring 2011 release date.[8] By late March 2010, drummer and lyricist Neil Peart confirmed that that American producer Nick Raskulinecz had returned as co-producer.[9]

In April 2010, Rush entered Blackbird Studios in Nashville with Raskulinecz to record the songs “Caravan” and “BU2B” with mixing done by record engineer Richard Chycki at the Sound Kitchen in Franklin, Tennessee.[5] The single “Caravan” was released June 1 to radio stations and made available for digital download at this time along with “BU2B”.[5] On April 8, both the official Rush website and PR Newswire announced that the band would embark on the Time Machine Tour, confirming Lifeson’s earlier predictions from March. The first leg of the tour began on June 29 in Albuquerque, New Mexico and finished October 17 in Santiago, Chile at the National stadium. Both “Caravan” and “BU2B” were featured on the tour.[10] It was suggested that Rush would return to the studio after the completion of the tour with plans to release Clockwork Angels in 2011.[11] However, in a January 2011 interview with Guitarist Magazine, Lifeson indicated that the band was extending the tour and that the release of the album would be delayed.[12] The second leg began on March 30, 2011 in Fort Lauderdale and came to an end on July 2, 2011 in George, Washington.[13] Confirmed by an announcement from Richard Chycki via Twitter on December 20, 2011, Rush finished recording Clockwork Angels in Toronto, ON.[14] The album’s second official single, “Headlong Flight“, was released to radio stations and for online streaming on April 19.

Clockwork Angels was released in Australia on June 8th,[1] and to the United States and Canada on June 12th. British magazine Classic Rock released a ‘fanpack’, which includes the full CD, as well as a 132-page magazine that forms the ‘ultimate sleevenotes’ to the album on June 11th.[30]

The album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 103,000 units the first week.[31][32] In Canada, the album debuted at #1 with sales of 20,000 units.[33] The UK Classic Rock fanpack was ineligible to chart, but had it been eligible, the album would have debuted at #1.[34] As more people bought the fanpack than the album alone, it debuted at #76 in the UK.[35]

Clockwork Angels has received acclaim from critics and fans alike. It currently holds a score of 79 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 11 reviews, which indicates “generally favourable reviews”; it has a user score of 8.2 based on 18 reviews, indicating “universal acclaim”.[20] Classic Rock scored the album a 9/10 and called it Rush’s best release in 30 years.[22] Jamie Thompson of The Guardian wrote in his review that “those who worship at the temple of Rush will be in raptures; for those who remain agnostic, there may well be enough here to justify a leap of faith.”[29]Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles editor-in-chief Martin Popoff gave the album a perfect 10/10 and said of it, “one can’t deny that there’s more purpose and focus here than on any Rush album ever”.

 Track listing

All lyrics written by Neil Peart, all music composed by Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson.

No. Title Length
1. Caravan”   5:40
2. “BU2B”   5:10
3. “Clockwork Angels”   7:31
4. “The Anarchist”   6:52
5. “Carnies”   4:52
6. “Halo Effect”   3:14
7. “Seven Cities of Gold”   6:32
8. “The Wreckers”   5:01
9. Headlong Flight”   7:20
10. “BU2B2”   1:28
11. “Wish Them Well”   5:25
12. “The Garden”   6:59
Total length:
1:06:04

Lyrics

1. Caravan

In a world lit only by fire
Long train of flares
Under piercing stars
I stand watching the steam-liners roll by

The caravan thunders onward
To the distant dream of the city
The caravan carries me onward
On my way at last, on my way at last

I can’t stop thinking big
I can’t stop thinking big
I can’t stop thinking big
I can’t stop thinking big

On a road lit only by fire
Going where I want
Instead of where I should
I peer out at the passing shadows

Carried through the night into the city
Where a young man has
A chance of making good
A chance to break from the past

The caravan thunders onward
Stars winking through the canvas hood
The caravan thunders onward
On my way at last, on my way at last

I can’t stop thinking big
I can’t stop thinking big
I can’t stop thinking big
I can’t stop thinking big

I can’t stop thinking big
I can’t stop thinking big
In a world where I feel so small
I can’t stop thinking big

I can’t stop thinking big
I can’t stop thinking big
I can’t stop thinking big
I can’t stop thinking big

I can’t stop thinking big
I can’t stop thinking big
In a world where I feel so small
I can’t stop thinking big

2. BU2B

I was brought up to believe
The universe has a plan
We are only human
It’s not ours to understand

The universe has a plan
All is for the best
Some will be rewarded
And the devil will take the rest

All is for the best
Believe in what we’re told
Blind men in the market
Buying what we’re sold

Believe in what we’re told
Until our final breath
While our loving Watchmaker
Loves us all to death

In a world of cut and thrust
I was always taught to trust
In a world where all must fail
Heaven’s justice will prevail

The joy and pain that we receive
Each comes with its own cost
The price of what we’re winning
Is the same as what we’ve lost

All is for the best
Believe in what we’re told
Blind men in the market
Buying what we’re sold

Believe in what we’re told
Until our final breath
While our loving Watchmaker
Loves us all to death

Until our final breath
The joy and pain that we receive
Must be what we deserve
I was brought up to believe

Until our final breath
The joy and pain that we receive
Must be what we deserve
I was brought up to believe

All is for the best
Believe in what we’re told
Blind men in the market
Buying what we’re sold

Believe in what we’re told
Until our final breath
While our loving Watchmaker
Loves us all to

Believe in what we’re told
Until our final breath
While our loving Watchmaker
Loves us all to
Loves us all to death

3. Clockwork Angels

High above the city square
Globes of light float in mid-air
Higher still, against the night
Clockwork angels bathed in light

You promise every treasure, to the foolish and the wise
Goddesses of mystery, spirits in disguise
Every pleasure, we bow and close our eyes
Clockwork angels, promise every prize

Clockwork angels, spread their arms and sing
Synchronized and graceful, they move like living things
Goddesses of Light, of Sea and Sky and Land
Clockwork angels, the people raise their hands
As if to fly
As if to fly

All around the city square
Power shimmers in the air
People gazing up with love
To those angels high above

Celestial machinery – move through your commands
Goddesses of mystery, so delicate and so grand
Moved to worship, we bow and close our eyes
Clockwork angels, promise every prize

Clockwork angels, spread their arms and sing
Synchronized and graceful, they move like living things
Goddesses of Light, of Sea and Sky and Land
Clockwork angels, the people raise their hands
As if to fly
As if to fly

“Lean not upon your own understanding
Ignorance is well and truly blessed
Trust in perfect love, and perfect planning
Everything will turn out for the best”

Stars aglow like scattered sparks
Span the sky in clockwork arcs
Hint at more than we can see
Spiritual machinery

Clockwork angels, spread their arms and sing
Synchronized and graceful, they move like living things
Goddesses of Light, of Sea and Sky and Land
Clockwork angels, the people raise their hands

Clockwork angels, spread their arms and sing
Synchronized and graceful, they move like living things
Goddesses of Light, of Sea and Sky and Land
Clockwork angels, the people raise their hands

As if to fly

“What do you lack?”

4. The Anarchist

Will there be world enough and time for me to sing that song?
A voice so silent for so long
For all those years I had to get along, they told me I was wrong
I never wanted to belong – I was so strong

(I lack their smiles and their diamonds; I lack their happiness and love
I envy them for all those things, I never got my fair share of)

The lenses inside of me that paint the world black
The pools of poison, the scarlet mist, that spill over into rage
The things I’ve always been denied
An early promise that somehow died
A missing part of me that grows around me like a cage
A missing part of me that grows around me like a cage

In all your science of the mind, seeking blind through flesh and bone
Find the blood inside this stone
What I know, I’ve never shown; what I feel, I’ve always known
I plan my vengeance on my own – and I was always alone

(I lack their smiles and their diamonds; I lack their happiness and love
I envy them for all those things, I never got my fair share of)

The lenses inside of me that paint the world black
The pools of poison, the scarlet mist, that spill over into rage
The things I’ve always been denied
An early promise that somehow died
A missing part of me that grows around me like a cage
A missing part of me that grows around me like a cage

Oh – They tried to get me
Oh – They’ll never forget me

The lenses inside of me that paint the world black
The pools of poison, the scarlet mist, that spill over into rage
The things I’ve always been denied
An early promise that somehow died
A missing part of me that grows around me like a cage
A missing part of me that grows around me like a cage

5. Carnies

Under the gaze of the angels
A spectacle like he’s never seen
Spinning lights and faces
Demon music and gypsy queens

The glint of iron wheels
Bodies spin in a clockwork dance
The smell of flint and steel
A wheel of fate, a game of chance

How I prayed just to get away
To carry me anywhere
Sometimes the angels punish us
By answering our prayers
By answering our prayers

A face of naked evil
Turns the young boy’s blood to ice
The deadly confrontation
Such a dangerous device

The glint of iron wheels
Bodies spin in a clockwork dance
The smell of flint and steel
A wheel of fate, a game of chance

Shout to warn the crowd
Accusations ringing loud
A ticking box, in the hand of the innocent
The angry crowd moves toward him with bad intent

How I prayed just to get away
To carry me anywhere
Sometimes the angels punish us
By answering our prayers
By answering our prayers

The glint of iron wheels
Bodies spin in a clockwork dance
The smell of flint and steel
A wheel of fate, a game of chance

6. Halo Effect

What did I see?
Fool that I was
A goddess, with wings on her heels
All my illusions
Projected on her
The ideal, that I wanted to see

What did I know?
Fool that I was
Little by little, I learned
My friends were dismayed
To see my betrayed
But they knew they could never tell me

What did I care?
Fool that I was
Little by little, I burned
Maybe sometimes
There might be a flaw
But how pretty the picture was back then

What did I do?
Fool that I was
To profit from youthful mistakes?
It’s shameful to tell
How often I fell
In love with illusions again

What did I do?
Fool that I was
To profit from youthful mistakes?
So shameful to tell
Just how often I fell
In love with illusions again

A goddess with wings on her heels

7. Seven Cities of Gold

A man can lose his past, in a country like this
Wandering aimless
Parched and nameless
A Man could lose his way, in a country like this
Canyons and cactus
Endless and trackless

Searching through grim eternity
Sculptured by prehistoric sea

Seven Cities of Gold
Stories that fired my imagination
Seven Cities of Gold
A splendid mirage in this desolation
Seven Cities of Gold
Glowing in my dreams, like hallucinations
Glitter in the sun like a revelation
Distant as a comet or a constellation

A man can lose himself, in a country like this
Rewrite the story
Recapture the glory
A man could lose his life, in a country like this
Sunblind and friendless
Frozen and endless

And the nights grow longer, the father I go
Wake to aching cold, and a deep Sahara of snow

Seven Cities of Gold
Stories that fired my imagination
Seven Cities of Gold
A splendid mirage in this desolation
Seven Cities of Gold
Glowing in my dreams, like hallucinations
Glitter in the sun like a revelation
Distant as a comet or a constellation

That gleam in the distance could be heaven’s gate
A long-awaited treasure at the end of my cruel fate

Seven Cities of Gold
Stories that fired my imagination
Seven Cities of Gold
A splendid mirage in this desolation
Seven Cities of Gold
Glowing in my dreams, like hallucinations
Glitter in the sun like a revelation
Distant as a comet or a constellation

8. The Wreckers

The breaker’s war on an unseen shore,
In the teeth of a hurricane,
Oh, we struggle in vain
A hellish night, a ghostly light,
Appears through the driving rain,
Salvation in the human chain

All I know that sometimes you have to be wary of a miracle too good to be true,
All I know is that sometimes the truth is contrary of everything in life you thought you knew
All I know is that sometimes you have to be wary, because sometimes the target is you

Driven to the ground,
With that awful sound
Drowned by the cheer from the shore,
Oh, we wonder what for

The people swarm,
through the darkening storm,
Gather everything they can score,
Turn their backs when there’s no more

All I know that sometimes you have to be wary of a miracle too good to be true,
All I know is that sometimes the truth is contrary of everything in life you thought you knew,
All I know that sometimes you have to be wary of a miracle too good to be true,
All I know that sometimes the truth is contrary, because sometimes the target is you.

The brink of war on an unseen shore,
In the teeth of an icy grave,
In the teeth of an icy grave

Whoah, the human chain leaves a bloody stain,
Washed away in the pounding waves,
Washed away in the pounding waves

All I know is sometimes you have to be wary of a miracle too good to be true,
All I know is that sometimes the truth is contrary of all the things in life you thought you knew,
All I know is that sometimes you have to be wary, because sometimes the target is you.

All I know is that memory can be too much to carry,
striking out like a bull from a balloon,
All I know is that sometimes the truth is contrary of everything in life you thought you knew

9. Headlong Flight

All the journeys of this great adventure
It didn’t always feel that way
I wouldn’t trade them because I made them
The best I could, and that’s enough to say

Some days were dark
I wish that I could live it all again
Some nights were bright
I wish that I could live it all again

All the highlights of that headlong flight
Holding on with all my might
To what I felt back then
I wish that I could live it all again

I stoke the fire on the big steel wheels
Steer the airship right across the stars
I learned to fight, I learned to love, I learned to feel
Oh I wish that I could live it all again

All the treasures, the gold & glory
It didn’t always feel that way
I don’t regret it – I’ll never forget it
I wouldn’t trade tomorrow for today

Some days were dark
I wish that I could live it all again
Some nights were bright
I wish that I could live it all again

I stoke the fire on the big steel wheels
Steer the airship right across the stars
I learned to fight, I learned to love, I learned to feel
How I wish that I could live it all again

The days were dark
And the nights were bright
I would never trade tomorrow for today

All the highlights of that headlong flight
Holding on with all my might
Some days were dark
I wish that I could live it all again
Some nights were bright
I wish that I could live it all again

I stoke the fire on the big steel wheels
Steer the airship right across the stars
I learned to fight, I learned to love, I learned to feel
I wish that I could live it all again

I stoke the fire on the big steel wheels
Steer the airship right across the stars
I learned to fight, I learned to love, I learned to steal
I wish that I could

Oh I wish that I could live it all again

10. BU2B2

I was brought up to believe
Belief has failed me now
The bright glow of optimism
Abandoned me somehow

Belief has failed me now
Life goes from bad to worse
No philosophy consoles me
In a clockwork universe

Life goes from bad to worse
I still choose to live
Find a measure of love and laughter
And another measure to give

I still choose to live
And give, even while I grieve
Though the balance tilts against me
I was brought up to believe

11. Wish Them Well

All that you can do is wish them well
All that you can do is wish them well [x2]

Spirits turned bitter by the poison of envy
Always angry and dissatisfied
Even the lost ones, the frightened and mean ones
Even the ones with a devil inside

Thank your stars you’re not that way
Turn your back and walk away
Don’t even pause and ask them why
Turn around and say goodbye

All that you can do is wish them well
All that you can do is wish them well

People who judge without a measure of mercy
All the victims who will never learn
Even the lost ones, you can only give up on
Even the ones who make you burn

Thank your stars you’re not that way
Turn your back and walk away

Don’t even pause and ask them why
Turn around and say goodbye [x2]

The ones who’ve done you wrong
The ones who pretended to be so strong
The grudges you’ve held for so long
It’s not worth singing that same sad song [x2]

Thank your stars you’re not that way
Turn your back and walk away
Don’t even pause and ask them why
Turn around and say goodbye [x2]

All that you can do is wish them well
All that you can do is wish them well
All that you can do is wish them well

Even though you’re going through hell
Just keep on going
Let the demons dwell

Just wish them well

12. The Garden

In this world of many possible worlds,
All for the best,
Or some bizzare test,
It is what it is,
And whatever,
Time is still the infinite jest

The arrow flies when you dream,
The hours tick away,
The cells tick away

The Watchmaker keeps to his schemes,
The hours tick away, they tick away

The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect,
So hard to earn so easily burned
The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect,
So hard to earn so easily burned

In the fullness of time,
A garden to nurture and protect

In the rise and the set of the sun,
‘Til the stars go spinning,
Spinning ’round the night
It is what it is, and forever
Each moment of memory in flight

The arrow flies while you breathe,
The hours tick away,
The cells take away,
The Watchmaker has time up his sleeve,
The hours tick away, they tick away

The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect,
So hard to earn so easily burned

In the fullness of time,
A garden to nurture and protect
(It’s a measure of a life)
The treasure of a life is a measure of love and respect,
The way you live,
The gifts that you give
In the fullness of time,
Is the only return that you expect

The future disappears into memory,
With only a moment between,
Forever dwells in that moment,
Hope is what remains to be seen
Forever dwells in that moment,
Hope is what remains to be seen

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