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Rush - Clockwork Angels

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Released: June 12th, 2012
RIAA Certification N/A
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Highest Billboard Chart Position: 2
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Liner Notes


GEDDY LEE bass guitar, keyboards, bass pedals, vocals
ALEX LIFESON guitars, keyboards
NEIL PEART drums, cymbals, tambourine

Recorded by Richard Chycki
Mixed by Nick Raskulinecz
"Caravan" and "BU2B" recorded at Blackbird Studios, Nashville TN, April 2010
Assisted by Lowell Reynolds
All other songs recorded at Revolution Recording, Toronto ON, October-December 2011
Assisted by Stephen Koszler and Jason Dufour
Mixed at Henson Studios, Los Angeles CA, January-March 2012
Assisted by Martin Cooke
Mastered by Brian "Big Bass" Gardner at Bernie Grundman Mastering, Hollywood CA

All songs composed by Lee and Lifeson, with lyrics by Peart
Arrangements by Rush and Nick Raskulinecz
Piano on "The Garden" by Jason Sniderman
Strings on "Halo Effect," "The Anarchist," "The Wreckers," "BU2B2," and "The Garden" arranged and conducted by David Campbell
Recorded at Ocean Way Studios, Los Angeles CA, January 18, 2012
Engineered by Paul Fig
Assisted by Rouble Kapoor
"BU2B" new intro recorded on Lerxst Mobile, West Hollywood CA

Management: Ray Danniels
Executive Production: Andy Curran
Associate Production: Pegi Cecconi, Liam Birt
Equipment supervision: Lorne "Gump" Wheaton, John "Skully" McIntosh

Art direction, design, and illustrations: Hugh Syme
Band portrait: Andrew MacNaughtan


Geddy would like to thank the good people of the following companies for their technical contributions and support: Fender Musical Instruments and the Fender Custom Shop, Tech 21, Orange Amplifiers, Moog Synthesizers, Tom Brantley, James Hogg, Rotosound Bass Strings, and Jim Burgess of Saved By Technology. I would also like to thank Nancy, Kyla, Julian, and Lauren, for their constant and complete support, love, and understanding - and it is my pleasure to introduce ... The Wassermans ^..^ ^..^

Alex would like to thank: Pat Foley and the crew at Gibson Custom Shop and Gibson Guitars, Hughes & Kettner Amplification, Dean Markley Strings, Paul Reed Smith Guitars, Joel Singer and Audio Technica, Universal Audio, Dave Welderman at the Guitar Center, Hollywood, and especially Adrian, Charlene, Dylan, Justin, and Taylor. Farewell, Barbara and Paul.

Neil would like to thank: Don Lombardi, John Good, Louie Garcia, Garrison, and everybody at Drum Workshop and Drum Channel; Mark Love, Chris Stankee, and everybody at Sabian; Promark drumsticks, Remo drumheads, Darren Schoepp at Roland, Jeffery at KellyShu Industries, Greg Russell at neilpeart.net, Brutus at Bubba's Bar 'n' Grill, Freddie Gruber RIP, Peter Erskine, Lorne "Gump" Wheaton, and on the home front, Keith, Jeanette, Jennifer, Adela, Katie, Winston, and - lastest and mostest - Carrie and Olivia.

Our collective appreciation goes to: John McBride and all at Blackbird; Joe Dunphy, Tanya Coghlan, and Amanda Pearl at Revolution (and Rene Lesko at Kindred Spirits Catering). At Henson, Martin and Faryal; Barry and Clint at BZ Brokers; and - Ω™

Extremely special thanks, as always, to our great support group at SRO/Anthem: Ray Danniels, Pegi Cecconi, Sheila Posner, Meghan Symsyk, Bob Farmer, Andy Curran, Cynthia Barry, Tyler Tasson, Emma Sunstrum, and Randy and Frances Rolfe.

Brought to you by the letter Œ

Dedicated to the memory of our dear friend Andrew MacNaughtan,
February 25, 1964 - January 25, 2012

© 2012 T.Y.S., Inc. for the World excluding Canada. © 2012 Anthem Entertainment for Canada. All Rights Reserved. Printed in the United States.
All songs published by Core Music Publishing (SOCAN) for the world excluding USA; (SESAC) USA.

  • It's Back to the Future for Rush - Classic Rock Magazine, January 2012
  • Rush: Still on a Journey of Discovery, 20 Albums On - Total Guitar Magazine, January 2012
  • Angels Are Go! - PROG Magazine, April 2012
  • Getting in Gear - Needle Magazine, June 2012
  • Alex Lifeson: The High Times Interview - High Times Magazine, June 2012
  • Rush: Revenge of the Nerds - Mojo Magazine, June 2012
  • Classic Rock Presents RUSH: Clockwork Angels Special Edition - Classic Rock Magazine, June 2012
  • Full Steam - M Music & Musicians Magazine, June 2012
  • Angelic Upstarts - PROG Magazine, July 2012
  • The Rise and Rise of the World's Biggest Cult Band - Classic Rock Magazine, July 2012
  • Times of Grace - Terrorizer Magazine, July 2012
  • Like Clockwork - Bass Guitar Magazine, July 2012
  • Conquering Mount Rush-More - Kerrang! Magazine, July 2012
  • Kingdom Come - Metal Hammer Magazine, July 2012
  • Rush: Alex Lifeson Talks to Mik Gaffney - Power Play Magazine, July 2012
  • Rush: Working Like Clockwork: An Interview with Geddy Lee - Fireworks Magazine, July 2012
  • Clockwork Angels (Review) - Total Guitar Magazine, July 2012
  • Clockwork Angels (Review) - PROG Magazine, July 2012
  • Inside Rush's New Sci-Fi Rock Opera - Rolling Stone Magazine, July 2012
  • Full Steam Ahead: Geddy Lee & Rush Transcend Time on Clockwork Angels - Bass Player Magazine, August 2012
  • Clockwork Angels (Review) - Guitarist Magazine, August 2012
  • Alex Lifeson and Producer Nick Raskulinecz talk us through the inner workings of Rush's latest triumph - Total Guitar Magazine, August 2012
  • Rock Around the Clock - Guitar World Magazine, September 2012
  • Working Man - Stereophile Magazine, September 2012
  • Just Like 'Clockwork' - Goldmine Magazine, September 2012
  • Clockwork Angels (Review) - Guitar Techniques Magazine, September 2012
  • Neil Peart: Master Class - Drum! Magazine, October 2012
  • Alex Lifeson: Like Clockwork - Guitar Player Magazine, November 2012
  • Glittering Prizes, No Compromises - Premiere Guitar Magazine, November 2012
  • Rush: Band of the Year? - Classic Rock Magazine, January 2013
  • Gearing Up For The Road - DW Drum's Edge Magazine, Issue #10, 2012-2013
  • PROG Hard Cover Special Limited Edition Magazine - PROG Magazine, April 2013

  • Track Listing (click on any track for the lyrics)

    1. Caravan (5:40)
    2. BU2B (5:10)
    3. Clockwork Angels (7:31)
       i - The Pedlar 1
    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)
       ii - The Pedlar 2
    10. BU2B2 (1:28)
    11. Wish Them Well (5:25)
    12. The Garden (6:59)

    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart

    IT SEEMS LIKE A LIFETIME AGO - which of course it was, all that and more. For a boy, life on the farm was idyllic, but for the young man I became, that very peace and predictability were stifling, unbearable. I had big dreams, and needed a big place to explore them: the whole wide world.

    Near our village of Barrel Arbor, the steamliners touched down and traveled on rails along the Winding Pinion River toward Crown City. Watching them pass in the night, how I prayed to get away . . .

    In a world lit only by fire
    Long train of flares under piercing stars
    I stand watching the steamliners 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

    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
    On my way at last

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

    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart

    WE WERE ALWAYS TAUGHT that we lived in "the best of all possible worlds." The Watchmaker ruled from Crown City through the Regulators; the alchemist-priests gave us coldfire for power and light, and everything was well ordered. We accepted our various individual fates as inevitable, for we had also been taught, "Whatever happens to us must be what we deserve, for it could not happen to us if we did not deserve it."

    None of it seemed right to me . . .

    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 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

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

    Clockwork Angels
    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart

    THE PLACE I HAD MOST WANTED TO SEE - Chronos Square, at the heart of Crown City. I had seen many images of the city before, and Chronos Square, but nothing could convey its immensity - the heaven-reaching towers of the Cathedral of the Timekeepers, or the radiant glory of the Angels - Land, Sea, Sky, and Light - bathed in the brilliant glow of the floating globes.

    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

    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

    "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

    *Proverbs 3:5 [and In-N-Out milkshake!]

    i - The Pedlar 1
    A foggy woodland road, a crowded village square, the busy streets of Crown City - a wandering pedlar travels the land, uttering the ageless call.

    "What do you lack?"

    The Anarchist
    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart

    WALKING AMONG THE PEOPLE - who are so content, so blind - the Anarchist hears the pedlar's call, and sneers derisively. "What do I lack? Ah ... vengeance?"

    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

    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

    Oh - They tried to get me
    Oh - They'll never forget me

    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart

    I FOUND WORK WITH A TRAVELING CARNIVAL, and for the Midsummer Festival in Crown City, our games and rides were set up right in the middle of the Square, beneath the Angels. One night, amid the noise and confusion of the crowded midway, I saw a man working with wires and wooden barrels. He stood and turned - the Anarchist! - holding a clockwork detonator in his hand. I called out to warn the crowd, then suddenly he threw the device at me, and I caught it automatically - just as the people turned to look my way. I escaped, but in disgrace, and fled down the Winding Pinion River to the sea.

    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

    A face of naked evil
    Turns the young boy's blood to ice
    Deadly confrontation
    Such a dangerous device

    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

    Halo Effect
    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart

    I HAD FALLEN HELPLESSLY IN LOVE with one of the performers. She was so different from "the girl I left behind," and I was beginning to understand I had only pretended she was right for me. I pursued my beautiful acrobat obsessively until she let me be with her - then I suffered her rejection and contempt. Once again, I had created an ideal of the perfect soulmate, and tried to graft it onto her. It didn't fit. Such illusions have colored my whole life.

    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 me 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

    So shameful to tell
    Just how often I fell
    In love with illusions again

    A goddess with wings on her heels . . .

    Seven Cities Of Gold
    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart

    THE LEGEND HAD PASSED DOWN FOR GENERATIONS. Far across the Western Sea, where the steamliners could not fly, lay a wilderness land hiding seven cities of gold. I dared the crossing on one of the stout ships that followed the trade route to Poseidon, a tough port city. I worked there for a while on the steamliners that served the alchemy mines, then eventually set out into the Redrock Desert. The stones were sculpted into unearthly monuments, and the country grew cold as I traveled north in search of the most famous City of Gold: Cíbola. Its name had sounded in my dreams since childhood.

    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 a grim eternity
    Sculptured by a 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

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

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

    The Wreckers
    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart

    NARROWLY ESCAPING A FROZEN DEATH IN THAT DESERT, I made my way back to Poseidon, and found a berth on a homeward ship. Caught in a terrible storm, we seemed to find salvation in an unexpected signal light. Steering toward it, we soon learned it was false - placed by the denizens to lure ships to their doom on the jagged reefs. They plundered the cargos and abandoned the crews and passengers to the icy waves.

    I was the only survivor.

    The breakers roar on an unseen shore
    In the teeth of a hurricane
    We struggle in vain
    A hellish night - a ghostly light
    Appears through the driving rain
    Salvation in a human chain

    All I know is 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
    Everything in life you thought you knew
    All I know is that sometimes you have to be wary
    'Cause sometimes the target is you

    Driven aground, with that awful sound
    Drowned by the cheer from ashore
    We wonder what for
    The people swarm through the darkling storm
    Gather everything they can score
    'Til their backs won't bear any more

    The breakers roar on an unseen shore
    In the teeth of an icy grave
    The human chain leaves a bloody stain
    Washed away in the pounding waves

    All I know is that memory can be too much to carry
    Striking down like a bolt from the blue

    Headlong Flight
    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart

    THINKING BACK OVER MY LIFE, AND TELLING STORIES ABOUT MY "GREAT ADVENTURES" - they didn't always feel that grand at the time. But on balance, I wouldn't change anything. In the words of one of our great alchemists, Friedrich Gruber, "I wish I could do it all again."

    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 have stoked the fire on the big steel wheels
    Steered the airships right across the stars
    I learned to fight, I learned to love and learned to feel
    Oh, I wish that I could live it all again

    All the treasures
    The gold and glory
    It didn't always feel that way
    I don't regret it
    I never forget it
    I wouldn't trade tomorrow for today

    I learned to fight and learned to love and learned to steal
    I wish that I could live it all again

    ii - The Pedlar 2
    The ever-wandering pedlar.

    "What do you lack?"

    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart

    THOSE FATEFUL WORDS, "What do you lack?" spark an inner monologue about all that I have lost. No more boundless optimism, no more faith in greater powers, too much pain, too much grief, and too much disillusion. Despite all that, I realize the great irony that although I now believe only in the exchange of love, even that little faith follows the childhood reflex that "I was brought up to believe."

    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

    Wish Them Well
    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart

    VICTIMIZED, BEREAVED, AND DISAPPOINTED, SEEMINGLY AT EVERY TURN, I still resist feeling defeated, or cynical. I have come to believe that anger and grudges are burning embers in the heart not worth carrying through life. The best response to those who wound me is to get away from them - and wish them well.

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

    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

    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

    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

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

    Just wish them well

    The Garden
    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart

    LONG AGO I READ A STORY FROM ANOTHER TIMELINE about a character named Candide. He also survived a harrowing series of misadventures and tragedies, then settled on a farm near Constantinople. Listening to a philosophical rant, Candide replied, "That is all very well, but now we must tend our garden."

    I have now arrived at that point in my own story. There is a metaphorical garden in the acts and attitudes of a person's life, and the treasures of that garden are love and respect. I have come to realize that the gathering of love and respect - from others and for myself - has been the real quest of my life.

    "Now we must tend our garden."

    In this one of many possible worlds, all for the best, or some bizarre 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
    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 a memory in flight

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

    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
    It's 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