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Styx - Crystal Ball CD (album) cover




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3.14 | 177 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Crystal Ball is a good representation of Styx's output: lush, heavily orchestrated pop-rock, sometimes interesting, sometimes nauseating. With Tommy Shaw's joining of the band, Crystal Ball skews more towards the pop-rock. This isn't something to immediately shy away from, because Shaw's guitar playing is excellent, and his vocals are solid, too. In fact, I'd a Shaw-led Styx over a DeYoung led Styx anytime; however, Crystall Ball as a whole fits into a wishy-washy middle ground of classic rock that is enjoyable to listen to at the time, but not memorable or appealing enough to remember for long afterwards.

The album opens with a bouncy, lush, and dynamic rock tune "Put Me On." Terrible lyrics aside, the song writing starts off nicely and shows off the band's flair for blending styles. Unfortunately the next two songs are throw aways; especially the somewhat insulting "Jennifer." If songs about underage girls or that feature gibberish choruses are your thing, than you'll like it more than me. Luckily the title track, "Crystal Ball" stands out as an excellent song thanks to its contrast of hard rock/ballad feel. Easily the best song on the album. The closing tracks are also fair tunes that are sort of semi-ballads with some interesting variety and occasionally standout instrumental work. The album closes to more lazy songwriting in the form of gibberish vocals.

After several listens of this brief album the only thing I can remember with clarify is the Shaw-led title track, and DeYoung's cartoonish vocals everywhere else. Not a great place to start for newcomers interested in learning more about this iconic prog/pop group, and not a very good album in general, though still fun for the occasional listen.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Prog Leviathan | 2/5 |


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