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Asia - Asia CD (album) cover




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3.16 | 498 ratings

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2 stars Asia had its beginning in 1981 when John Wetton and Steve Howe were brought together by John Kalodner and Geffen Records to start working together. They were eventually joined by Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes. With a line-up like that, they were hailed as a supergroup in the music press of the time, but when they finally released their eponymous debut album, the critics were quite harsh. I completely understand their response. After all, these were veterans of some of the greatest progressive rock bands of the 1970s. And this was what they had to offer? Nine short tracks of AOR numbers?

Needless to say, it's the main reason many have a hard time referring to Asia as a prog band. Even with this criticism, for some reason their music clicked with the AOR fans of groups like Boston and Journey. Because of this, Asia's debut album would sell and sell and sell. The album made it to #1 on the U.S. charts and contained two singles making the Top-20. Not only that, but six of the nine songs made it onto at least one U.S. chart, either the pop singles chart or the mainstream rock chart. Asia got a ton of radio play and even to this day, songs from this album get played on the radio often.

I have to admit a guilty pleasure of liking this album, very much. That's because the music is great, well composed, and filled with catchy hooks and melodies, just barely touching on some progressive tendencies. It would have been neat if this foursome had really attempted a bona-fide progressive rock album, but that is just a dream of bygone years.

If you want to listen to some great AOR music, I can't think of anything better than Asia's debut album. It's a landmark album for rock music and easily would be considered a five-star gem on a mainstream rock site. At Prog Archives, two stars is about the best it deserves.

progaardvark | 2/5 |


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