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Styx - Greatest Hits CD (album) cover




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2.84 | 29 ratings

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3 stars Armed with radio-friendly ballads, Mr. Roboto and Dennis De Young's hair, Styx isn't everybody's favourite nominee for a progressive rock website. But I'll bet a vast majority of the Styx nay-sayers haven't heard the majestic Come Sail Away, a classy moment of bombastic prog that starts off as a lyrical piano ballad and ends up with a monster chorus via some fanfares and a trippy synth interlude. It's not the only prog friendly tune on this Greatest Hits album either. There's Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) which is peppered liberally with some thrilling keyboard work, the tricky, bombastic (there's that word again) The Grand Illusion, Crystal Ball (which has an excellent keyboard solo) and the absolutely ass-kicking hard-rocker Suite Madame Blue ( even if it does share that famous riff with Led Zeppelin's Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, Chicago's 25 or 6 to 4 and Colosseum's Lost Angeles) which convince me that De Young is a severely underrated prog writer.

Of course, Styx were mainly a commercial hard rock band and this compilation does reflect that, as most of the songs here are bona fide hits ... some of 'em good, some rather lousy. The good ones are the Tommy Shaw stompers Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) and Renegade, Lorelei and (yes, I'll say it!) Babe. The stinkers include the unfortunate attempt at synth prog Mr. Roboto, the Bon Jovi style anthem Too Much Time On My Hands, the extended rocker Miss America (Moog synth solo notwithstanding) and the mushy ballads The Best Of Times, Don't Let It End and Show Me The Way. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about Lady, a ballad originally recorded for 1973's Styx II, but which was recut for this 1995 collection. It sounds OK, but I've been told the original version is superior.

It's worth noting that Styx's earlier experiments with prog (songs like A Day, Father O.S.A, The Grove of Eglantine, Mother Dear, Man Of Miracles and the like, most of which I've admittedly never heard) are left off this collection which covers the period from 1975 to 1983 (albums such as Equinox, Crystal Ball, The Grand Illusion, Pieces Of Eight, Cornerstone, Paradise Theatre and Kilroy Was Here) with a throwaway track from the 1990 reunion album (Edge Of The Century) chucked on for good measure. Incidentally I initially bought a cassette version of this album with the same title from the same label but with Love Is The Ritual and Light Up tacked on in place of Lorelei and Lady'95. Styx is one of those groups with almost as many compilations as original albums, but I'm pretty sure this is among the best ones out there! ... 57% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 3/5 |


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