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Styx - The Grand Illusion CD (album) cover




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3.72 | 257 ratings

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4 stars Another rite of passage in the '70s: closing the door in your room, turning up "The Grand Illusion", and feeling the walls disappear. The record's concept (stardom) dovetailed nicely with the aspirations of teenagers everywhere, flush as they were with the dreams of invincible youth. Hearing it today as an adult, some of the original power is surely lost, but it still ranks as a remarkable record. In fact, the first side of music is a classic piece of vinyl: "The Grand Illusion", "Fooling Yourself", "Superstars" and "Come Sail Away" were played on the radio until they permeated the collective consciousness. The appeal of STYX is a range of musical styles and influences. DENNIS DE YOUNG invites comparison to GENESIS' TONY BANKS, TOMMY SHAW to QUEEN's BRIAN MAY, JAMES YOUNG to KISS' PAUL STANLEY. Talented singers and songwriters each, the trio give STYX a range similar to QUEEN. The three tend to pull the band in different directions on the second side, but finding time for different voices in the context of a concept album is tricky work. I've only begrudgingly accepted the idea that acts like STYX, SUPERTRAMP and BOSTON belonged in the progressive camp; I've always felt more comfortable calling them "pomp rock" and placing a barrier that included QUEEN and ALAN PARSONS PROJECT between these and my beloved prog artists.

After staring into the heart of "The Grand Illusion", however, I'll agree that this is progressive rock (the strength of DENNIS DE YOUNG's arrangements won me over). I'll even go one step further and call it a classic in the annals of progressive rock, albeit with an asterisk that says (*If you agree that progressive rock can overtly play to the tastes of the time). Anyway, you'll make up your own mind about STYX, but you'll need to start here on your journey.

daveconn | 4/5 |


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