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Styx - Cornerstone CD (album) cover




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2.67 | 165 ratings

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3 stars Not a cornerstone of the band's work, lest the house of Styx come tumbling down. Yes, it does contain "Babe," a ballad inextricable from '80s amber, and "Lights," which carries the theme of stardom as ably as any Styx song. Taken in toto, though, Cornerstone is mostly average arena pop, no better or worse than the post-pinnacle music of Kansas and Boston. Some effort has been made over the years to pull more from Cornerstone: the acoustic "Boat On The River" (which sounds a lot like Uriah Heep's "Gypsy") or the fustian "Borrowed Time" for example. And the album did sell two million copies in the US, which speaks more to the band's popularity than the merit of Cornerstone. As happened in Kansas, Styx was beginning to become a vehicle for its songwriters rather than a unified outfit. Dennis De Young's ballads ("Babe," "First Time") compromised a rock credibility that Tommy Shaw worked hard to establish, and James Young rocked even harder than Shaw. As a result, Cornerstone shifts too much to trust, from Boston to Supertramp to Queen. It's still classic-period Styx, should such a thing exist, but accounts for relatively little of the band's classic material. That said, I've only listened to this record a half-dozen times, my saturation point for this sort of thing being lower than most. It's not hard to imagine that repeated listenings could forge some fealty to songs like "Love In The Midnight" and "Never Say Never," or maybe the whole album altogether. Cornerstone isn't my cup of tea, or the Styx I'd stir my tea with, but then again the mere mention of arena rock usually makes my face scrunch up. If you're a fan of Styx or Kansas or Boston, you may want to sweeten my sour disposition to suit your own tastes.
daveconn | 3/5 |


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