About Freewill

"Freewill" is the second track on the 1980 album Permanent Waves by Canadian progressive rock band Rush. The song's music was composed by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, and its lyrics written by Neil Peart. In a 2016 review of Rush discography for Ultimate Classic Rock, Eduardo Rivadavia described "Freewill" as a "cerebral but remarkably radio-friendly" song. Lee has stated that the final verse of "Freewill" is at the highest part of his vocal range. The song is included in several of the band's compilation albums, including Retrospective I, The Spirit of Radio: Greatest Hits 1974–1987, Gold, and Time Stand Still: The Collection. It is now a staple of album-oriented rock stations. It was one of six songs in Rush's set for the Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto (colloquially referred to as "SARStock"). 


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There are those who think that life
Has nothing left to chance
With a host of holy horrors
To direct our aimless dance 

A planet of playthings
We dance on the strings
Of powers we cannot perceive
The stars aren't aligned
Or the gods are malign
Blame is better to give than receive 

You can choose a ready guide 
In some celestial voice 
If you choose not to decide 
You still have made a choice 

You can choose from phantom fears 
And kindness that can kill 
I will choose a path that's clear 
I will choose free will 

There are those who think that 
They've been dealt a losing hand
The cards were stacked against them
They weren't born in Lotus-Land 

All preordained
A prisoner in chains
A victim of venomous fate
Kicked in the face
You can't pray for a place
In heaven's unearthly estate 

Each of us 
A cell of awareness 
Imperfect and incomplete 
Genetic blends 
With uncertain ends 
On a fortune hunt 
That's far too fleet

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Rush is a Canadian rock band formed in August 1968, in the Willowdale neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario. The band is composed of bassist, keyboardist, and lead vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist and backing vocalist Alex Lifeson, and drummer, percussionist and lyricist Neil Peart. The band and its membership went through a number of re-configurations between 1968 and 1974, achieving their iconic lineup when Peart replaced original drummer John Rutsey in July 1974, two weeks before the group's first United States tour. Rutsey's departure stemmed primarily from health concerns regarding his diabetes. In 2015 the band played their final show due to Peart's declining health. more »

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Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart


Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

12 facts about this song

"Freewill" is a song by Canadian rock band Rush from their 1980 album "Permanent Waves".
Songwriter Information
It was written by Geddy Lee (lead vocalist, bassist, keyboardist) and Alex Lifeson (guitarist) along with Neil Peart, who was the band's primary lyricist and drummer.
"Freewill" is known for its shifting musical styles throughout the song, blending elements of rock, progressive rock, and hard rock.
Theme & Interpretation
The song's lyrics deal with the subject of free will and the humanistic theme that you have the freedom to choose your own path rather than believing in fate or divine intervention.
Musical Structure
"Freewill" is notable for its intricate musical structure, featuring complex time signatures, shifting song dynamics and an extended guitar solo by Lifeson.
Geddy Lee's View
Geddy Lee stated that "Freewill" is one of his favorite Rush songs, and he specifically praised Lifeson's guitar work in the song.
Popular Recognition
In spite of its complexity, "Freewill" has been covered by many artists and bands and it remains one of Rush's most popular songs.
Chart Performance
Upon its release, "Freewill" didn't chart in the US or UK but it received heavy airplay on the album-oriented rock radio.
Live Performance
"Freewill" has been a staple of Rush's live performances, appearing on several of the band's live albums.
Bass Complexity
Geddy Lee’s bass playing on "Freewill" has been praised for its complexity. It has a series of arpeggios and a challenging bass arrangement.
Critical Reception
Critics have also praised the song for its lyrics and instrumentation. Many consider it as a strong representation of the band's technical virtuosity.
Video Game Appearance
"Freewill" was featured on the video game Rock Band, offering a challenging gameplay especially on the drums due to Peart's intricate rhythms.

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