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Grace Under Pressure
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Slaine mac Roth



Joined: 31 Mar 2004
Posts: 1295
Location: Mansfield, (UK)

PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 5:56 pm    Post subject: Grace Under Pressure Reply with quote

A thought struck me in my insomnia disturbed night.

I was thinking about how dark and bleak and, basically, dystopian GUP is. Is it coincedental that the album came out in 1984 or did Neil have George Orwell's dystopian vision of the fututre in his mind while writing the lyrics?
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Sir Myghin



Joined: 13 Nov 2003
Posts: 9184
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

whats a dystopian?
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Slaine mac Roth



Joined: 31 Mar 2004
Posts: 1295
Location: Mansfield, (UK)

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A dystopia is opposite to a utopia. Generally, in Science-Fiction terms, a Utopian future is one under the heel of a rigidly repressive totalitarian state (rather like the ones in Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Running man, Brave New World and Anthem.)
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Sir Myghin



Joined: 13 Nov 2003
Posts: 9184
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmm but not all them are futuristic, only like 3 or 2... the album is quite great though
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D'Anconia



Joined: 20 Jun 2004
Posts: 411
Location: Beaverton, OR

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Slaine mac Roth wrote:
A dystopia is opposite to a utopia. Generally, in Science-Fiction terms, a Utopian future is one under the heel of a rigidly repressive totalitarian state (rather like the ones in Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Running man, Brave New World and Anthem.)


Wow. I thought dystopia was caused by drinking the water in Mexico.
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*Lifesonite



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 3442
Location: Flowing Through The Universe, In A Paisley Shirt... Man.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So is the only difference between a utopia and dystopia the fact that you don't starve in a utopia?

Confused

An ideally perfect society wouldn't have an oppressive government.
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awip2062



Joined: 13 Nov 2003
Posts: 25543

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might starve in a utopia, as there can be those on the outside of the society. There were terrible conditions on the indian reservations in North America in Brave New World with starvation and poverty, addiction, et cetera.
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Slaine mac Roth



Joined: 31 Mar 2004
Posts: 1295
Location: Mansfield, (UK)

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sir Myghin wrote:
hmm but not all them are futuristic, only like 3 or 2... the album is quite great though


Dystopias are not necessarily a product of the future, its just that they tend to be utilised by Science-Fiction writers more than anyone else.

The Oxford English Dictionary describes a Utopia as 'an imagined perfect place or state'. Although Dystopia is not mentioned, one of my lecturers at university defined it as an 'anti-utopia' - the opposite of what a Utopia is. Therefore, a Dystopia is a place where things are not perfect (one could even describe this world as being dystopian).

The specific lyrics that suggest Dystopian visions to me, from GUP, include:

'An ill wind comes arising
Across the cityies of the plain' (Distant Early Warning)

'Suddenly you were gone
From all the lives you left your mark upon' (Afterimage)

The whole of Red Sector A

'Suspicious looking stranger
Flashes you a dangerous grin' (The Enemy Within)

'A pulse of dying power
In a clenching plastic fist' (Body Electric)

'A world of indifference
Heads and hearts too full' (Kid Gloves)

'The truth is often bitter
Left unsaid' (Red Lenses)

'You can go from boom to bust
From dreams to a bowl of dust' (Between the Wheels)

There are many others that I could quote.
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Sir Myghin



Joined: 13 Nov 2003
Posts: 9184
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i have been owned lol
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Xanadu



Joined: 14 Nov 2003
Posts: 7879
Location: My vortex.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love this album, the lyrics can be appreciated on so many diff levels...and the music
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Fridge



Joined: 22 May 2004
Posts: 207
Location: Aberdeenshire, Scotland

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. A very dark, haunting album with an almost brutally minimalist production. The whole effect is harsh, jarring to the senses, and works very well indeed.

It has some of Lerxts finest guitar moments on it, and I only wish he had the same deftness of touch and depth of feel in his rhythmic playing today.....

As for the lyrics, as the album title suggests, each song is exploring a different take or angle on coping under severe pressure or difficulty. So yes, I would concur with Slaine here re his Dystopian comments. The overall feel is one of some kind of post apocalyptic future with bleak prospects indeed.

Definitely a classic
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ElfDude



Joined: 31 Dec 2003
Posts: 11084
Location: In the shadows of the everlasting hills

PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I remember the Neil's text in the concert program correctly, a lot of the darkness of the album reflected their mood at the time. After letteing Terry Brown go, after having produced all their albums up to that point, they ran into problem after problem trying to hire a producer to do the next album. Deadlines approached... they continued to write, but not to begin recording the album. The whole thing became very stressful. At one point someone suggested the Grace Under Pressure title for the album. They decided that would be perfect... it fit their mood as well as the songs.

Also, we were at the height of the cold war back then, and a lot of albums of the era took inspiration from the uneasiness of the period. Pink Floyd's The Final Cut springs to mind as another example. I remember the Genesis song Land of Confusion being about that too. The press was telling us every day that we had enough weapons to blow up the planet six times over and that the US had a mad man at "the button" who just might do it. You can hear some influnce of that sort of thing in Distant Early Warning and other tracks.
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Mechanix



Joined: 28 Feb 2005
Posts: 53
Location: New England

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everytime someone mentions how gloomy this album is, I think of the keyboards that start "Between the Wheels". That keyboard riff could frighten children.

It rules. Twisted Evil
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3 travelers



Joined: 01 Jul 2004
Posts: 2271
Location: brooklyn, ny

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mechanix wrote:
Everytime someone mentions how gloomy this album is, I think of the keyboards that start "Between the Wheels". That keyboard riff could frighten children.

It rules. Twisted Evil
Fuck yeah, Mechanix!!! Cool
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Rocinante



Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 402
Location: I am

PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bumpin this......album brought out of the cupboard after many years dormant. To think I called S&A melancholy, P/G is very very dark. I appreciate there are elements concerned with Yad Vashem etc. but the whole album ( apart from kid gloves ) is quite distressed to me. Not good pale
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