Rush's 11th studio album, released October 26, 1985. Certified platinum and reached #10 on the Billboard 200. Produced by Peter Collins and Rush (this was Collins' first Rush production work; he co-produced every album until 1996's Test for Echo.)
Power Windows continues the synthesizer-heavy style of the band's 80s work, but is considerably less dark than their previous album, 1984's Grace Under Pressure, as noted by Grzcyrgba, and more guitar-oriented than Rush's other 80s albums, especially Hold Your Fire.
Gone are the songs about such cheerful topics as nuclear war, concentration camps, and Cold War paranoia (Well, there is a song about the Manhattan Project, but far from being all that dark, it's actually rather catchy). Power Windows is not without its standard-for-Rush commentaries -- "Territories" is an attack on narrow-minded nationalism; "The Big Money" is about big corporations run rampant -- but the prevailing themes on the album are more personal and introspective: pursuing one's dreams ("Marathon" and "Middletown Dreams") and human emotions ("Emotion Detector"); "Mystic Rhythms" is otherworldly and almost indescribable (and the video is plain weird).
The cover art features a shirtless boy with an awful haircut in a room with three vintage televisions, pointing a remote control at the window -- a "power window", get it? If you don't want puns, you shouldn't be looking at Rush albums. Not to mention that most of the songs either deal with power, or "windows on the soul", in a sense... see previous sentence.
Now, the subjective part of this writeup... Power Windows, from the comments I've seen, tends to be a love it or hate it album, even more than usual for Rush fans1, and like all Rush albums it is a product of its time, so if you abhor keyboards, or can't get over the fact that Rush stopped doing progressive epics, avoid it; otherwise get it, even if you have to have the CD pattern tattooed on your stomach and run a laser over yourself (yeah, there are easier ways to avoid paying, but my way's more fun).
- The Big Money (5:34)
- Grand Designs (5:05)
- Manhattan Project (5:05)
- Marathon (6:09)
- Territories (6:19)
- Middletown Dreams (5:15)
- Emotion Detector (5:10)
- Mystic Rhythms (5:52)
I would, of course, be remiss were I not to mention that Power Windows is brought to you by the letter M.
1. For any Rush album -- any! -- you'll find someone who considers it their best work, someone who reviles it as their worst, someone who thinks everything before it is crap, someone who thinks everything after it is crap, and some idiot who wandered in and won't quit bitching about Geddy's voice. The old fill-in-the-blank axiom "ask n (insert group) a question and you'll get n+1 answers" is quite applicable here.
Sources: my copy of the album; liner info from The Spirit of Radio (at least there's something that's good for); the Rush FAQ at http://www.nimitz.net/rush/
This w/u is brought to you by my lack of desire to study for midterms.