Grace Under Pressure

A place to discuss the studio albums

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Slaine mac Roth
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Grace Under Pressure

Post by Slaine mac Roth » Mon Sep 27, 2004 5:56 pm

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?
'Do not despise the snake for having no horns, for who is to say it will not become a dragon?'

Sir Myghin
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Post by Sir Myghin » Mon Sep 27, 2004 10:16 pm

whats a dystopian?

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Slaine mac Roth
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Post by Slaine mac Roth » Tue Sep 28, 2004 9:35 am

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.)
'Do not despise the snake for having no horns, for who is to say it will not become a dragon?'

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Post by Sir Myghin » Tue Sep 28, 2004 10:10 pm

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

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Post by D'Anconia » Tue Sep 28, 2004 10:11 pm

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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Post by *Lifesonite » Wed Sep 29, 2004 7:20 am

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

:?

An ideally perfect society wouldn't have an oppressive government.
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Post by awip2062 » Wed Sep 29, 2004 1:48 pm

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
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Post by Slaine mac Roth » Wed Sep 29, 2004 3:09 pm

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.
'Do not despise the snake for having no horns, for who is to say it will not become a dragon?'

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Post by Sir Myghin » Wed Sep 29, 2004 9:59 pm

i have been owned lol

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Post by Xanadu » Mon Oct 04, 2004 6:44 am

I love this album, the lyrics can be appreciated on so many diff levels...and the music :-D
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Post by Fridge » Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:28 pm

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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Post by ElfDude » Thu Oct 07, 2004 9:18 pm

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
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Post by Mechanix » Tue Mar 01, 2005 2:26 am

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:

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3 travelers
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Post by 3 travelers » Tue Mar 01, 2005 9:33 am

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:
Fuck yeah, Mechanix!!! :cool:
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Post by Rocinante » Sat May 26, 2007 3:23 pm

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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