Rush Reboot – Digital Man (1982)

My selection for this week’s Reboot is the sequel to one I posted just a couple weeks ago for the song Analog Kid.

From Wikipedia:

Writer and journalist Greg Quill noticed a “cyclical framework” in Signals, specifically the album opening in suburbia followed by contemplating escape in “The Analog Kid”. Then, “universal human imponderables” are explored through humanity, sex, religion, and ageing, which ends in an actual escape in “Countdown”. Quill spoke to Peart about this theory, to which the drummer replied: “You noticed that. We were hoping no one would. It’s so unfashionable these days to construct grand concepts. We’re being closed mouthed about it”.[10]

“The Analog Kid” and “Digital Man” served as the inspiration for comic book writer Troy Hickman to create heroes of the same names in his 2004 comic Common Grounds.[14]

There is a definitely ska and The Police influence evident in this one, as Rush were big fans of what was happening in England in the 70’s and early 80’s.

This song talks a lot about where we head as adults. Whereas Analog Kid referred to getting away, This one, for me, tells the story of forgetting who we are once we get into the race. The last stanza, in particular, speaks to the burning of the candle at both ends as we race to our deaths.

Here, from the album Signals, is the song Digital Man.

Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson
Lyrics: Neil Peart

His world is under observation —
We monitor his station
Under faces and the places
Where he traces points of view

He picks up scraps of conversation —
Radio and radiation
From the dancers and romancers
With the answers — but no clue

He’d love to spend the night in Zion
He’s been a long while in Babylon
He’d like a lover’s wings to fly on
To a tropic isle of Avalon

His world is under anaesthetic (sic) —
Subdivided and synthetic
His reliance on the giants
In the science of the day

He picks up scraps of information —
He’s adept at adaptation
‘Cause for strangers and arrangers
Constant change is here to stay

He’s got a force field and a flexible plan
He’s got a date with fate in a black sedan
He plays fast forward for as long as he can
But he won’t need a bed —
He’s a digital man


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