The song marks the band’s increased use of synthesizers in their music. The lyrics speak of the loneliness, isolation, and stifling conventions of life in the suburbs, as well as the pressure felt by youths to “sell their dreams” and conform.
The band filmed the downtown scenes of the Subdivisions music video in Toronto and filmed the suburban scenes in Scarborough, Ontario. The school hall of L’Amoreaux Collegiate Institute in northwest Scarborough was included, as well as a clip of east Toronto’s Don Valley Parkway and a bustling Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway station.
Young Canadian singer/songwriter Anita Athavale recorded a beautiful rendition of Subdivisions on her 2007 debut album, “In the Noise.” Her thoughts on the song’s inspiring message convey a sentiment shared by most Rush fans: “Making the album, I was in a place where I was about to put music down: try something else, be normal, make some money, buy a house, whatever else I was supposed to do. That song made me think about choosing that other life.”