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Asia - Asia CD (album) cover




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3.21 | 603 ratings

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3 stars When I first read about Asia, I was quite excited, as were many prog geeks at the time, that John Wetton, Steve Howe and Carl Palmer (Geoff Downes never impressed me as much of a progressive legend) were going to create a new band. I also knew way before the album was released that it was going to be a radio-friendly prog band, so I wasn't as disappointed as some when I first heard it. I was, however, in Italy during this time, and, even though I kept up on the music news everywhere, I was trying to immerse myself in the Italian music and culture as much as possible, so I never heard the debut Asia album until I returned to the states.

It was pretty much what I expected being warned that it was a radio-friendly band in advance. I was glad to see that it was quite popular and that some of these prog-gods were able to get some recognition, even with prog mostly being pushed out of the music scene at the time. So, that made me revere this album more than it deserved to be as far as being progressive, however, I do recognize still the excellence it had as far as a pop album. The problem I had with it, of course, was both because of it's commercial appeal and a lot of the songs were structured too similarly for my liking. However, there were songs that stood out from the sameness that was apparent.

I still listen to this album and enjoy it from time to time and the interesting thing is, my favorite tracks from this album are still the same ones that they were when I first heard the album. My favorites here are the ones that are a bit different from the norm, namely "One Step Closer", "Wildest Dreams", and "Cutting it Fine" with nods to "Soul Survivor" and "Without You". The remainder of the album however, tends to wash out the highlights of the album with it's sameness and poppiness. However, it's still good enough to make me want to still retain it on vinyl, so this album is one of those strange oddities in my collection, sort of that love it/hate it relationship.

For me, it has it's importance in history, but it's intentional AOR feel keeps it from being a big favorite. It's more of an album I would listen to for the best tracks and the rest of it I just tolerate. But, even the best tracks on the album won't go down in my archives as all-time favorites. It's good, just not quite excellent, especially in a progressive attitude, but as far as its place in popularity, it can't be denied that it is one of the better commercial albums of the early 80s.

TCat | 3/5 |


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