Rush - Second Nature Lyrics

A memo to a higher office
Open letter to the powers that be
To a god, a king, a head of state
A captain of industry
To the movers and the shakers...
Can't everybody see?

It ought to be second nature
I mean, the places where we live
Let's talk about this sensibly
We're not insensitive
I know progress has no patience
But something's got to give

I know you're different
You know I'm the same
We're both too busy
To be taking the blame
I'd like some changes
But you don't have the time
We can't go on thinking
It's a victimless crime
No one is blameless
But we're all without shame
We fight the fire while we're feeding the flames

Folks have got to make choices
And choices got to have voices
Folks are basically decent
Conventional wisdom would say
But we read about the exceptions
In the papers every day

It ought to be second nature
At least, that's what I feel
Now I lay me down in Dreamland
I know perfect's not for real
I thought we might get closer
But I'm ready to make a deal

Today is different, and tomorrow the same
It's hard to take the world the way that it came
Too many rapids keep us sweeping along
Too many captains keep on steering us wrong
It's hard to take the heat
It's hard to lay blame
To fight the fire while we're feeding the flames

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Rush Second Nature Comments
  1. ballaballapo


  2. Leonardo Maranhão

    RIP Neil Peart

  3. Stevie Lough

    Masterpiece RIP Neil Peart

    Shane doss

    crazy we lost the best drummer and lyricist

  4. chris warb

    Lay me down in dreamland .... Peace Neil ....

  5. Sam James Dutton

    RIP Neil

  6. Rodrigo Díaz

    Underrated album maybe, by whom? Probably by ignorants and stupids

  7. Tie died Hair

    This is a gem one of my all-time favorite bands.

  8. The Basitin Engineer

    This is definitely a favourite of mine! Then again, the entire Hold Your Fire album is one of my favourites from Rush

  9. John Surabian


  10. Donald Murphy

    Top 3 for the Human Condition. Globally.
    And just so you know, I had to wait 20 minutes, for more ballots to be delivered, to cast MY vote for Trump.
    REPUBLICANS are not Evil.

  11. littmus32ify

    Such a magical song. Absolutely beautiful.

  12. G Burns

    One of my top couple Rush albums!!!

  13. china type2 bass rocker

    I love this song!

  14. matt fathead

    Sometimes people hate this album. But this was when I was just discovering what prog rock was (1987) and was just learning to drum; so, this album brings back great memories for me

  15. Nick Stathakis

    I was at this concert back in the 80s was a great show.......RUSH RULES!!!!!!!!! lol

  16. Robert Eifler

    The best bar none

  17. Kal El

    Love this song, makes me want to go Fly By Night

  18. Aj Lfc

    It’s hard to believe this album is 31 years old.... sounds like it was made yesterday... I’ve loved this band since I was a 15 year old kid.. from Anthony in the uk 🇬🇧

  19. Eric Bolt

    Perfect is not for real. I love RUSH.

  20. Александр Фадеев

    Альбом просто замечательный! Как это у них получается?

  21. Guitfiddlejase

    One of Peart’s best lyrics

  22. Donald Murphy

    Just EPIC.
    Maybe their best one.

  23. Scott Woods

    Hold Your Fire is one of my favorite Rush albums. I remember I went to the concert the week my uncle died. An emotional time.

  24. Jase on Bass

    i really wish that there was a good live recording of this song

  25. Fotoboard Tramparia

    "To fight the fire while we're feeding the flames" = Humanity

  26. Marvin Lewis

    We all know what needs to be done but we don't do it .rush rules

  27. Gustavo Seluja

    It perfectly fits your playlist theme

  28. ZappingHero

    Gosh, I haven't played these on YouTube for quite a heck of a while, because I'm usually into this decade's electronic musical songs (such as Monstercat, Owl City, Livingtombstone, etc.), if you look up Wolf Bite (and Tokyo) by Owl City.

  29. Tuc082

    What a masterpiece. Neil's lyrics are as sharp as ever here!

    Mike Reiss

    Lyrically it's one of Rush's best albums. This along with Power Windows have my favorite lyrics.

    Tucker Fehre

    yea man

  30. Jason Barbush

    soon i lay me down in dreamland to dream about going back to high school. it's hard to take the heat. see Jesus loves you. why are we feeding the flame?

  31. Jonathan Berman

    More relevant now to our political landscape than ever

    The Right accuse the Left of obstruction so they get nothing accomplished for reelection, but those are their own tactics, just as a liar won't believe anyone else, it's no surprise they'd think the Left would do this because this is what they did.


    I'm not taking either side, but neither side is good. Both sides spend all of their time saying that what the other side is doing is wrong. Politics are just a waste of time at this point.

  32. Renato Fusco

    Power Windows

  33. Alley Keosheyan

    I always interpreted this song as having an environmental message that was more grounded in reality. Anyone else? Even if not, I agree that this was one of Rush's most underrated albums.

    Donald Murphy

    Always took it more as Geo-Political.
    Mother's and Father's every where AROUND THE PLANET want a better life for their kids.
    Problem is, some want to take what OTHER'S HAVE EARNED.
    I have earned what little I have. Try to take it..
    At your own peril.
    I will only take WHAT I earn.

  34. David Rondeau

    I was blessed and lucky to have seen them live at least once. What an epic show that was!

  35. Frank Larssen

    This is the only "romantic date" album in Rush´s catalogue. This song in particular is stunningly beautiful.

  36. lou richard

    For me the climax of this songs occurs at 2:58, both musically and lyrically, with that perfect drum fill that sets up the dramatic conclusión of the ensuing vocal line. One of the most meaningful and suitable drum fills I´ve heard, ever!


    It's genius!

  37. James Lehr

    You could call this song FARTHER FROM THE HEART. (Just check the first lyric of Closer To The Heart and you'll see what i mean)

    Danny C

    Couldn't agree with you more. Not sure how i got these lyrics in my head this morning-folks are basically decent, convensional wisdom would say. Had to search the song out and ponder it's message. Sad thing is the older i get the more it seems (or maybe i should say notice) most people/communties are not decent, so many people are only out for themselves & corruption in our government is rampant.

  38. schmittelt

    @Benoit Vanhees The lyrics identify the song as an "open letter" to anyone who is in a position of power. It can be about something specific if you like, but I think it can be applied to any dichotomy between those in charge of things and those who actually do things. It's about seeking that balance (as Neil has written about many times) and the compromise that's sometimes necessary "...but I'm ready to make a deal." The flames he mentions aren't literal; they have no color. They represent the negative forces that keeps us from attaining the said balance...we are all guilty of keeping those forces going even as we lament their negative effects. This doesn't mean there is no hope. We all have the power to choose "Folks have got to make choices"....

    Also, the hope lies in the fact that someone is thinking about this stuff and making a rock song out of it.


    I don't remember what song it is but: on rushes Presto album there is a song in which they sing " if you choose not to decide, you still make a choice". I see exactly what you mean, too!!! 👍



    Collin Campbell

    @BITCHY BITCH haha u keep thinking that


    @Collin Campbell 😏😎THANKS!😏😎


    @Collin Campbell I meant - 😏😎THANKS FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT!😏😎

  39. Benoit Vanhees

    OK, so the lyrics are Neil's best, but can someone explain me what the song is about ? Is it about the crazy ratrace, is it about air pollution, about people living in bubbles and not communicating with other people than with their own little incrowd or what ? I mean, an open letter to let's say a Captain of Industry should have a clear message, and to me, it isn't that clear at all. Where's that "fire", and what color exactly does the flames of it have ?

    Benoit Vanhees

    That is my point: if you're adressing higher offices & co., your message afterwards should be crystal clear.captains of industry are not into metaphors. Metaphors are fine in other contexts, like Pink Floyd's wall or that of Kansas. I don't mind the guessing part of "poetry", but if you start a song with summing up all those that matter, and then attach a not very clear message to it, that is something like  the body of an aristocat with the head of Pluto. And that's no metaphor.

    Benoit Vanhees

    @***** It's not because you write a lot and slightly condescending, that it's by definition all the true gospel. Let's agree to disagree. The kind of poetry you seem to be fan of is not my cup of tea. But... just to make sure... I am entitled to have an own opinion, right ? (You never know with all those wannabe Stalins here on Youtube)


    Benoit Vanhees I think the meaning of this song couldn't be more crystal clear. It is about people of differing opinions, good people, not being able to come together for their common good.

    Benoit Vanhees

    @CMCguitars1 "Crystal clear" hmmmm.....


    Benoit Vanhees to me they were crystal clear. Maybe it wasn’t to you. You may see something different. is imitating art here. We can agree to disagree and it is ok. Lol

  40. Tim Renken

    i think this period was neils best work lyrically. power windows, hyf and presto. before this it mostly corny prog lyrics, although still well written. after this period he started getting lazy writing cringe worthy lyrics about sex and all the religious hating stuff on their recent albums. but those 3 albums were neils best lyrics.

    Kevin Gossett

    +t rex neil never writes about $*X

    Dan Finnegan

    I agree about the lyrics but they also happen to be my top 3 favorite Rush albums musically as well. Which isn't a popular opinion. lol

    j-p k

    You forgot 1/3 of the Abrahamic religions. Atheist or not, gotta give some acknowledgment to JC for challening the "Gods chosen" concept, and those fanatic priests. The world is in a mess right now because there aren't enough people doing the same.

  41. Tooth Paste

    Man, I'd love it if they played this on their tour this year. Alex said he wants to do rarer material for the special celebration of 40 years, and as far as I know, they've never played this live at all. 

    Tooth Paste

    @Kerri Strnad Perhaps I'll do the same some time. There's always at least one song on every album I don't like though, I'd be surprised if my opinion on it changed.

    Kerri Strnad

    Well, I've gone through a lot of changes the last few years and my musical appreciations have as well.

    Tooth Paste

    @Kerri Strnad I change often as well, and I can easily appreciate the song, I just don't think it's pleasant to listen to. Like I said, though, I might give it a shot when I'm not busy and/or ridiculously tired.

    Kerri Strnad

    I look forward to hearing your refreshed opinion, good or bad.

    Robert Eifler

    They played it multiple times

  42. Jamie Warrior Warlord McCallum

    great rush song and neil's lyrics to this are hard hitting and magic. the professor always writes the best rush songs. #rusharerocklegends  

  43. RUSH Fanatic

    Always been a favorite, play, rewind, replay!!! man I miss cassette tapes. Can't "backup" on the thumb drive :) - Lock in your unique RUSH Fanatics Member ID now! Try out the NEW Quiz Engine!!!

  44. Victor Montequin

    This is one of my favorites

  45. Mike Reiss

    Power Windows and this one, while not among their very best albums do in my opinion have some of their best lyrics.

    Craig Manning

    Lyrically.   Power Windows was their strongest.   Power Windows is my favorite RUSH album(closely followed by 'A Farewell to Kings'.     "I thought we might get closer"   Epic.  


    I LOVE Power Windows, I played that CD since my birthday in Spring of 2013 (not as a birthday present but discovered it on one of the CD wallets), and then afterwards I began to fell in love with Rush.

    Jason Barbush

    such is done. Amen, so be it!

    Kal El

    Power Windows and Hold Your Fire are my personal favorites

  46. lars olesen

    wow what a gem...

  47. rockston11

    Haha, yeah. I forgot about that one (deliberately).

  48. BobBBQ152

    Dog years...

    china type2 bass rocker

    I love the work in progress version Neils drums are up they should be.

  49. rockston11

    Agreed! I'm one of the people who liked your comment, but it's not true if you ask Geddy. An interviewer once asked him what regrets he's had over his career. Geddy had one thing to say: "Tai Shan". haha I love every song, too, though.

  50. James Essa

    Great Song!!!

  51. Al Phamailman

    I love this album so much. It sounds so much different than anything that they've ever done.

  52. Syl G

    Amazing song and lyrics!!! :)

  53. Tomek

    There are many hidden gems in Rush's discography, this is one of them.

  54. SirPhartsUhlot

    I think this is one Rush's best albums. It's deep in a low key way. . . tre cool. Shame it doesn't get, really, any air play.

  55. PackersBrewersROCK

    It's so creative and unique, and to me that's what makes it so cool.

  56. Alex Murphy

    Massive massive Rush fan, but this is not true. Dog years is just an awful song. Other than that, they are incredible.

  57. GA Kelly

    Every album, cd, whatever and made the decision they were my favorite band in 1980 and this is one of their (if not THE) best, it was a shift, a true sprint into their "polytechnical" sound, they found themselves WITHOUT "selling out". They built their own unique niche of fans and they prove you may just be the greatest and the best and not be the most notorious or famous, that`s being a true artist and maybe 100 years from now the rest of the world will figure it out.

  58. CatchingGreenLights

    It kinda bugged me when they denounced this period in BTLS. My introduction to Rush was Retrospective II, so this is my definition of the Rush sound. Every musician that works towards a more concise and beautiful song-craft gets criticized. Of course I love the prior and subsequent stuff, but I like this era the best.


    Alex Lifeson hates keyboards pure and simple

  59. Lakerloon

    I know what you mean. This song has been on my mind since I heard about the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday. So much about the lyrics and message of this song seem to relate to the problem we have with violence in this country and whether we can come together as a country to find solutions that will avoid such tragedies from occurring in the future.

  60. Michael Dylan Brennan

    1:53 today.

  61. ssnapier

    I love this song!

  62. Michal Balicki

    This is a cool song. I love it

  63. Felipe Medina Miranda

    these guys are awesome...their music is so honest and transparent!

  64. 40horsejohnson

    I've never heard Geddy say that. I've heard him say that both Alex and he regretted putting out _Tai Shan_ but that's another story. Either way, I'd have to (humbly, of course) disagree with the man.

  65. mse3700

    When I read that Geddy Lee consdiers this one of Rush's weakest songs I'm astonished. I love this song, and I love it's sentiment.

  66. Luzao_Ribeiro

    que letra!! que instrumental!! the best!!!

  67. James Lehr

    Mission: Headlong Flight has quite a way to go. Noon happens any minute and certainly have time to spare to hear every Rush song ever done. It's quite a MARATHON.

  68. T Riddick

    Another masterpeice from the "Masters of Music"

  69. Lucien The Rat

    Yes, you are correct.

  70. PrestoWind

    thanks for the fix

  71. snowymk2

    I think this song has particular meaning over the last decade or so.

  72. bearmanmr

    great lyrics and great band

  73. xxxx15us

    I love to rock out with Rush as much as anybody but that doesn't mean I don't love the hell out of this song and other of their more mellow stuff. This might be my favorite song on HYF and that's no slight on the others. I always thought lyrically it was almost a redo of Closer to the Heart.

  74. Alex Murphy

    Takes me back to my second heartbreak..will always hold this album very close to my heart. Such touching music, truly life changing

    chris warb

    A new heartbreak, Rip Neil ... what a guy ...