Rush – “Freewill” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

Rush’s “Freewill” taps into the age-old debate between fate and free will. It’s about the power to choose, the control over our destinies, and the rejection of predetermined paths or external guiding voices. While life throws us curveballs, we always have a choice in how we respond. And this song? It’s an anthem to choosing our path, to believing in the power of freewill.

It celebrates human agency, the power of choice, and the beauty of carving our path amidst life’s uncertainties. Through this track, Rush inspires listeners to be their souls’ captains, take charge, and live authentically. It’s an invitation to dance to the rhythm of our own choices, even in a world full of uncertainty.

Curious about the depth of Rush’s perspective on choice and destiny? Stick around, and let’s uncover the magic in every line.


“Freewill” Lyrics Meaning

From the start, the song highlights contrasting views of the world. Some believe in predestination, seeing life as an “aimless dance” governed by unseen forces. Others? They believe in the power of choice, even in the absence of decision. The lines, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice,” lay bare the idea that indecision is a choice in itself.

Drawing from celestial imagery, the song subtly critiques those who blindly follow a set path laid out by “some celestial voice.” In doing so, the song emphasizes the value of conscious choice and independent thinking. “Freewill” is not just a title; it’s the song’s essence.

Rush doesn’t shy away from touching upon the challenges of life, either. We all have our battles, but as the song suggests, we shouldn’t feel trapped by them. We shouldn’t feel that our “cards were stacked” against us. Instead, we should embrace the clarity of freewill, choosing paths that resonate with us.

Towards the end, the band touches on human nature itself, with lines like “Each of us, a cell of awareness, imperfect and incomplete.” Accepting our imperfections and the transient nature of life further fuels the emphasis on living life on our terms, recognizing the fleeting moments, and cherishing our ability to choose.

The Story Behind “Freewill”

“Freewill” emerges from a period in Rush’s journey where the band was gaining both confidence and clarity in their musical direction. By the time “Permanent Waves,” the album that houses “Freewill,” was released, Rush had already solidified their place in the rock hierarchy. But instead of sticking to a formula, they continued to evolve, challenge norms, and ask big questions.

Lyricist and drummer Neil Peart, known for his philosophical insights, was deeply influenced by literature and the broader questions of existence. He often delved into themes of individualism, skepticism, and the human spirit. “Freewill” is a direct reflection of Peart’s mindset, emphasizing the power and responsibility of personal choice. It’s a song that pushes against the idea of preordained destiny or unchangeable fate. Instead, it champions the potential of the individual to shape their journey.

The song’s focus on choice and individual agency also parallels the band’s own path. Rush, especially in their early years, faced pressure from record labels to fit a certain mold. Yet they chose their own musical direction, believing in their vision. “Freewill” can be seen as a nod to their personal and collective journey – making conscious decisions, even when the world expects otherwise.

In the grander context of rock music in the late ’70s and early ’80s, “Freewill” also served as an antidote to a landscape often dominated by tales of excess and hedonism. Here was a song that invited introspection, that encouraged listeners to think about their role in the universe, and to believe in the power they held within their hands.