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Styx - Cornerstone CD (album) cover




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2.67 | 165 ratings

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3 stars This is Styx-lite, and does it stynx? yes. it's most terrible! There's sappy love ballads with big 'ooh ooh love you' lyrics and sickly-sweet, cheesy vocals. And the other songs aren't much better.

It begins with 'Lights'. As soon as this song comes on, it sounds like Styx-lite, like Styx, the rock band, went and joined Williams's Wimp society. The organ-synth sounds so cute, like a deawest wittlelest puppy in the pet shop, and no rock guitars at all. The remainder of the song fails to show any sign of rock, or typical Styx attitude. But actually, this song is one of Styx' masterpieces. The melody is brilliant, the brass arrangement suits the song and it's completely catchy. And there's enough of Dennis Synthesiser arrangements to fly the flag for the good ole (or is it bad ole) Styx moniker. The song that follows, 'Why me?' sounds like their attempt to pay tribute to the band Supertramp, with characteristic Supertramp lyrics about the little problems of life like paying bills and a nice examination of complaining. The music also sounds like a tribute to Supertramp, with a nice electric piano/saxaphone combination. This song is honestly not one of my favourites, I think it could have been done better, but it's still a fairly good song. And it's followed by Babe, an extremely schlocky (actually don't know what that means!) love ballad). And is this a bad song? Well actually, it's nicely done, nice melody, good production, beautiful vocal harmonies and enough of that Styx Moniker, through Dennis' keyboard, to be worth while to fans. This is followed by another winner, and a song that actually sounds like a more typical Styx song, 'Never say never'. Tommy's got his 'Heart in his hands', but this is a catchy rock ditty with some of Dennis Synths, good vocal harmonies and a lot more heavy guitar than the other songs on here. It's also got a good rollicking beat. This is followed by 'Boat on the river' which has a memorable chorus, and Tommy plays a mandolin(!) on this one. See, I like that, someone picking up an unusual instrument, and he plays it well! There is also some good vocal interplay between Tommy and Dennis.

So ends side one and things look pretty good, five fairly strong songs, very lite for Styx and their moniker is lacking a fair bit, but still there. probably on for a 3.5 or 4.0 and the strength of that. Flip over to side two.

Okay what's this? A rocker! Great! We have a rocker and this will help add diversity to an album that was pretty light up to now. Oh I get it now, Styx are going to make an album that has a 'soft' side and a 'rock side', oh good idea! And good ideas are pulled off if we have good songs, and we have good songs don't we? Well actually, 'Borrowed Time' and especially the track 'Eddie' are very tepid rockers indeed! If anything let's this album down, it's not the ballads, as 'First Time' is performed with lots of enthusiasm and passion, but there just aren't any really good rockers. "Borrowed Time' is an okay piece of glam rock and JY's Eddie starts off alright. Man the intro sounds so rocking, but by the time you get to the chorus, it feels like a tiresome recital. This album is lacking JY's rocking enthusiasm, and he can't even throw us one good rocker? And where is that keyboard back drop that Dennis used to give Styx albums' atmosphere. If 'PIeces of Eight' was their most progressive album, this was their least progressive album. Also, 'Pieces of Eight', is possibly their hardest rocking album, and this is, without doubt, their least rocking album. The enthusiasm imbued by JY is gone and Dennis is selling out, this album is like a peacock without his tail feathers.

That said, there is enough strong songs on here to make it worth your while, but if you are expecting progressive rock, well...

Brendan | 3/5 |


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