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Styx - Paradise Theatre CD (album) cover




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3.08 | 240 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Styx bring the house down

The concept of "Paradise Theater" is loosely based around the closure and demolition of a large theatre on the west side of Chicago in 1958. The building had been standing for 30 years, but the advent of television had led to its demise. The story appears to be fictional, although it could easily apply to any era since that time.

While the introduction of a concept hints at a more progressive direction, the songs here are among the most pop and stadium rock the band had produced up to the time of the album's release. After the brief intro "A.D. 1928", the year of construction, "Rockin' the Paradise" is a simple, upbeat crowd pleaser. "Too much time on my hands" maintains the upbeat rhythm while telling the tale of a self pitying loser. At this stage, the concept is drifting, and the songs becoming more self contained. This continues on "Nothing ever goes as planned", which seems to be an autobiographical tale of loneliness on the road, "I strut around the stage like a little king tonight. but when the show is over and I'm all alone. I've got the big star blues". The track includes a full horn section which jazz's things up as the track closes.

The best track here is probably "Snowblind", a plodding blues based song which focuses on the undesirable effects of drug taking. "The best of times" is a Dennis DeYoung ballad from the "Babe" stable. While it is typically mushy, it is well performed and appealing.

Songs such as "Lonely people", "Halfpenny, Two penny" and "She cares" are pleasantly diverting, but lack the strength of composition and arrangement to make them anything other than disposable. And that pretty much sums up the entire album. There is nothing worthy of damning criticism here, but neither is there much which demands fawning praise. From a prog perspective, it is nice to see an album with a reasonable concept, but unfortunately that does not automatically lead to a prog album.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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