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Music / Presto

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Presto is the thirteenth studio album by Rush, released in 1989 on Atlantic Records. The album marks the return of a more guitar based sound although the synths were still there, just more tucked in the background for texture. It was the first of two albums to be produced by 80's pop producer Rupert Hine, well known for producing albums by Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, and another fellow Canadian rock band, Saga. It was also the band's first album release following their departure from Mercury Records, the label that first signed them.

Fan and critical reception was generally positive, although many criticized the production for its thin sound. Even Neil Peart said in an interview, if there was one album he would want to go back and record, it would have been this one.



  1. "Show Don't Tell"
  2. "Chain Lightning"
  3. "The Pass"
  4. "War Paint"
  5. "Scars"
  6. "Presto"
  7. "Superconductor"
  8. "Anagram (for Mongo)"
  9. "Red Tide"
  10. "Hand Over Fist"
  11. "Available Light"

Principal Members:

  • Geddy Lee - lead vocals, bass, synthesizer, sequencer
  • Alex Lifeson - guitar, keyboard
  • Neil Peart - drums, percussion

Show Don't Tell the tropes

  • Broken Record: The backing vocals on the chorus for "Superconductor" just repeat the name of the song over and over.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The ending of "The Pass" has the line "Turn around and walk the razor's edge", as if Geddy himself was talking to the protagonist of the song to not give up.
  • Grief Song: Not by definition, but "The Pass" talks about youth suicide.
  • Lighter and Softer: From a production standpoint.
  • Mood Whiplash: Alternates between upbeat rockers and softer tearjerkers.
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  • New Sound Album: Marked a return to a more guitar-based sound after the band had the synths in the front seat for most of the 80's. The band also shows off some funk rock influences on this album, especially on "Show Don't Tell"
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Chain Lightning", "The Pass", "War Paint", "Presto", and "Anagram".
  • One-Word Title: "Scars" and "Presto".
  • Scare Chord: Better hope your stereo's volume isn't set too high when "Show Don't Tell" kicks in.
  • Significant Anagram: "Anagram"'s lyrics consist of nothing but... you guessed it.
  • Shout-Out: The "(For Mongo)" added on the song's name for "Anagram" is a shoutout to Blazing Saddles, referring to the "Candygram for Mongo" scene.
  • Suicide Is Shameful: The message behind "The Pass".
  • Title Track: "Presto"
  • What the Hell, Hero?: "The Pass" has the song's character contemplating suicide, and near the end, Geddy Lee exclaims "Christ, what have you done?", as if the protagonist actually did it.


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