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Asia - Asia CD (album) cover




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3.21 | 592 ratings

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4 stars There is some kind of negative perception if progressive musicians make pop and commercial music, as you can see, there is some backlash regarding the 80s transformation that Genesis and Yes had, trading their awesome and weird long compositions for radio hits, which I don't consider bad at all, I love prog, experimental and avant-garde, but sometimes I want to listen to some shorter and poppy songs, but never sacrificing musicianship and quality.

Asia, despite being a supergroup with members of ELP, King Crimson and Yes, it sounds nothing like those groups (only a bit of Yes really), there is no Crimson- disonances, excesive and classical showmanship like ELP or mystic soundscapes like Yes, instead you have short radio hits that are easy to listen and to remember, with kinda cheesy lyrics that appeal to a mainstream audience.

Anyways, the members are what make the group, Geoff Downes still retains a more controlled style compared to Rick Wakeman, but Geoff shines more in this record than in Yes's "Drama", Steve Howe does not overplay like in Yes and he is more in the background, but still gives some good guitar leads. John Wetton's voice is maybe the more accesible and selling point of the band, as his voice is masculine and anthemic, just perfect for the hits of the record, unlike Greg Lake which had a great voice but sounded to solemn and sacred to appear in the radio. The weakest links in the Asia chain are John Wetton's bass which does not play anything interesting, and Carl Palmer whose drumming is far from what he did with ELP, those two aspects would have been easily filled by even not prog musicians.

"Heat Of The Moment" is a great hit, with catchy and memorable choruses by the voice of John Wetton, and "Only Time Will Tell" is prog only in the surface, but it is catchy and also really good. "Sole Survivor" has some lame lyrics but the music still it's pretty good.

The album falls short with "One Step Closer", I don't really like the vocals and the lyrics, it is not even good soft rock.

"Time Again" sounds at times like "Machine Messiah" from Steve Howe and Geoff Downes's latest Yes album Drama, but gets somewhat repetitive.

The following tracks are somewhat between pop, prog and soft rock, but mostly going in the soft side really, but the record recovers in "Here Comes The Feeling", still, some cheesy lyrics but great music, actually this song is the most Yes-like song, and if Jon Anderson had singed this, it would sound even better.

Overall, it's a good commercial and accesible record, but if you want a fusion of ELP, Yes and King Crimson and lots of complexity, you would be dissapointed. Still, good music considering the 80s and radio airplay it still has to this day.

Putonix24 | 4/5 |


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