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BRAVE NEW WORLD

Styx

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Styx Brave New World album cover
2.84 | 65 ratings | 7 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Will Be Your Witness (4:31)
2. Brave New World (5:14)
3. While There's Still Time (3:53)
4. Number One (4:33)
5. Best New Face (3:36)
6. What Have They Done To You (4:33)
7. Fallen Angel (4:49)
8. Everything Is Cool (5:19)
9. Great Expectations (4:44)
10. Heavy Water (4:29)
11. High Crimes & Misdemeanors (3:26)
12. Just Fell In (3:25)
13. Goodbye Roseland (3:49)
14. Brave New World (Reprise) (3:31)

Total Time: 59:55

Line-up / Musicians

- James Young / guitars, vocals
- Tommy Shaw / acoustic & electric guitars, keyboards, programming & sequencing, sampler, vocals
- Dennis DeYoung / keyboards, vocals
- Chuck Panozzo / bass
- Todd Sucherman / drums, percussion

With:
- Jeffery CJ Vanston / horn arranger & conductor
- Craig Bauer / string arranger & conductor
- David Campbell / string arranger & conductor (1)
- Ed Tossing / string arranger & conductor (4,7,13)
- Jerry Goodman / violin (6)

Releases information

Artwork: Alan Chappell with Ioannis (painting)

CD CMC International Records ‎- 06076 86275-2 (1999, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Brave New WorldBrave New World
Sanctuary Records 1999
$41.25
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Brave New WorldBrave New World
Victor
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STYX Brave New World ratings distribution


2.84
(65 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(8%)
8%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(12%)
12%
Good, but non-essential (46%)
46%
Collectors/fans only (29%)
29%
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)
5%

STYX Brave New World reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Regardless it's being prog or not, just consider it as a rock band, what Styx album(s) do you really favor? I would go for "Man of Miracles" and "Equinox". But hold on . it's a tough choice, actually. Why? I think in every album that Styx has ever released, there has been clearly more than 50% of its music in its typical album is excellent. Either it's catchy or having a great composition like the one in Equinox album where I think "Born for an Adventure" is truly a great hard rock song. Talking about "Man of Miracles", I have "A Song for Suzanne", "Evil Eyes" and "Christopher Mr Christopher" that are really excellent tracks! Or . I also like "Castle Walls" of "The Grand Illusion" album. Not only that, I also like the "Mr Robotto" track from Killroy Was Here, and also ."Blue Collar Man"!!!!

Having that sort of traditional emotional bond with the band, I inclined to purchase this "Brave New World" CD but .. the price was unbelievably not friendly at all. So I did not purchase it until couple of weeks ago I was offered a sales promotion from the Missing Piece .. so I bought it. Ehem! To my surprise, this album .

..is enjoyable and has a good composition!

Having known this after two or three spins, actually I did not mind to purchase the CD with such unfriendly price. But now I benefit this good album with friendly (indeed, it's very cheap!) price. You know then how I feel, I got a great deal of price for good music "Brave New World" offers. Of course, this is nothing like "Equinox" or "Man of Miracles", but look at this persepective: forget that this is "new" Styx album and assume it's being played by a new band .. I bet you would like it! Yes, it's not that prog, even though some tracks have a bit of prog element in it, but the overall music is just good.

"I Will Be Your Witness" (4:31) is definitely a solid composition music with great guitar riffs in reggae-rock fusion. You may not recognize this as Styx if you do not recognize the vocal style. "Brave New World" (5:14) - the composition is tighter than the opening track especially during the ambient nuance at the opening part which reminds me to Bali Island in Indonesia. As the music flows I bring myself engrossed with the music beautifully. The other excellent track is "Number One" (4:33) which has a bit of prog structure. You still can find good rocker like "What Have They Done To You" (4:33) which reminds me to Kilroy Was Here album. "Fallen Angel" (4:49) is a nice ballad. Another great rocker is "Heavy Water" (4:29). The album concludes with "Brave New World (Reprise)" (3:31).

Overall, it's an enjoyable album from Styx. And this album represents the last album with Dennis De Young. What good also about this album is the appearance of great prog violinist Jerry Goodman. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A flawed album but one I enjoy

In the mid 90s Styx mounted a highly successful reunion tour with the core members in tact, the tour so many fans waited years for. With momentum on their side after the tour they attempted to pull off another feat with a new studio album. Rather than capitalize and set aside their personal gripes with each other, they blew it. The resulting sessions brought back the divisions and animosity that plagued them for so long. I won't go into the details, but suffice to say both camps played their role in sinking any chance of continuing their legacy, and DeYoung was right to call the album a "missed opportunity." This could have been a great project had the DeYoung camp and the Shaw/Young camp allowed it to be, instead, many of the criticisms you read about the album's failures are not unfounded. It can sound less than cohesive, unfinished, sometimes like demos, and it fails to capture the magic that could be glorious when these three musicians set aside their bickering and helped each other reach their potential. When I first heard the record I hated it, and I nearly wrote a scathing review early on. Instead, the disc got stuck in my car during a difficult personal period, when I simply kept playing it because I was often too distressed to rotate discs as I normally would. I ended up liking this flawed record. Despite the Shaw/Young camp's tragic decision to toss Styx's undeniable leader, and damn the consequences in quality, the album that almost "never was" has its moments. The band even stopped recording it at one point during their hostilities, only to be forced by the label to finish it, lest lawsuits begin. There are so many little details working against this album that its very presence is something of a miracle.

Despite less of the art rock glitter and prog-rock influence of the 1970s, the material on "Brave New World" could have been Styx-ized had there been true collaboration. It would still be more straightforward rock but it could have been quite different. Instead, the Shaw tracks can sound like Bon Jovi while the DeYoung tracks sometimes sound like he was being paid to pen ballads for American Idol contestants. Neither scenario a compliment. The songs from the two camps could not sound more indifferent towards each other, this really is two solo albums having a shotgun wedding. It is somewhat ironic that Shaw and Young's vision for the album was a conceptual commentary on a bleak future, not unlike what DeYoung tried to do with the Kilroy theme those two hated so much. This time around, it is DeYoung's songs who sound like they are mostly removed from the album's themes. The roles have reversed in that compositional sense. Shaw had control here, while DeYoung was being blindfolded and tied to the tree, after just consuming his final meal and being offered a cigarette.

Shaw/Young's tracks are almost completely devoid of any DeYoung presence, it sounds as if they stripped away whatever significant presence he may have offered laid their songs. It's a shame because some of those tracks could have benefited immensely from Dennis' talents, which remain very much in tact. Their tracks are mostly very catchy rock songs on the heavy but accessible side, driven by Todd Sucherman's more aggressive drumming style and a desire to have fun. James delivers his usual kitschy vocal (such a character) as he trades line with Shaw on "What have they done to you." Tommy's voice is a bit thinner and more warbled than in his youth but he can still hit the high notes. "I will be your witness" features a groovy guitar part with tons of swagger and a light, easygoing chorus---pretty effective pop songwriting. "Heavy Water" approaches a crushing sound as the heavy James vehicle this time out. The title track is reprised at the end like they did with Kilroy, with bits of "Heavy Water's" chorus coming through. These guys were writing rock songs they could bring to the stage and command. I would guess all of these songs sound much fuller and heavier on tour than here.

Dennis' material ranges from the pure sappy ballad (While There's Still Time) to the introspective (Fallen Angel) to the playful (High Crimes & Misdemeanors) which is subtitled "Hip Hop-Cracy." You really have to hear that one! "Great Expectations" is a strong track in the show tunes style DeYoung has embraced since working Broadway. He closes his tracks with "Goodbye Roseland" which is a poignant and personal farewell to his old neighborhood, his father, his youthful memories. Dennis' father died around this period of the same disease that recently took my own Dad. To say I found the song moving would be an understatement, as I was hearing it the week I buried my Dad, nothing like coincidences. DeYoung was left standing on the shore as the Shaw led band sailed away to a new future without him. Dennis may have had the last laugh though. While Styx proper rocks the casinos and state fairs, DeYoung has released a new solo album that some fans call the best work by any Styxian, alone or together, since 1980. It is called "One Hundred Years from Now" if you wish to check it out. They carry on separately now, but like the Floyd situation, their work apart will never match what they did together as a true band in the 1970s. Tommy and James enjoying performing more than recording, Dennis enjoys perfecting the studio sound. Fans will have to decide for themselves where their interests lie in these musicians. The base seemed as split over things as the band themselves.

If you never liked Styx in their glory years, you sure as hell won't like this album. But for me it is a nice coda to a band I enjoy, despite the obvious flaws. I like this album more than Kilroy despite the fact that many Styx fans reject it. I have a feeling most PA reviewers would give this two stars (or 1), but I have to bump it to three personally. I had fun.

Review by FragileKings
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars You once bought yourself a car, a decent model that had the potential to be improved upon, and ultimately you made it into quite the machine. You drove it around for a few years and had the hottest wheels in the hood. But then some parts began to wear and after a major component breakdown, you retired it for some years. Eventually you spent the money to get it rolling again, but soon it was back under wraps in the garage. You finally paid for the repairs for that key component and got the car on the road, looking as sharp as ever. You planned a big road trip, but soon problems began and you had to scale back your ambitions, in the end making a more modest trip as the car just couldn't take the long haul anymore. Were you disappointed? Sure! But was the resulting road trip really that bad? Or was the disappointment more in that it didn't live up to expectations founded on past joys?

A Long-winded Background

Styx splintered in 1984. After years of multi-platinum-selling albums and being one of the biggest bands in the U.S., the band fell into shambles as first Tommy Shaw (vocals/guitar) left and then founding members Dennis DeYoung (vocals/keyboards) and James "JY" Young (vocals/guitar) bided their time by pursuing solo careers. Rhythm section twins Chuck (bass) and John (drums) Panozzo stopped playing altogether, Chuck seeking other ways to fulfill his days and John falling to drink. The reasons for the breakup were largely due to Tommy Shaw's frustrations with Styx, in particular Dennis DeYoung. Dennis, a highly talented song-writer and a man with great vision for the band's sound and visual presentation, was known for being very stubborn, demanding, and difficult. In Sterling Whitaker's book, "The Grand Delusion - The Unauthorized True Story of Styx", nearly all people interviewed recount stories of Dennis' tirades and tantrums, his accusative and abusive tone and language with other band members and management and road crew, and general difficulties in working with him. Some state they never want to work with him again while others are more forgiving, acknowledging his talent as an artist and recognizing that such talent can mean moodiness and relationship challenges.

As far as the other members were concerned, Dennis dictated tour schedules and the direction of albums and even pushed his opinion of what songs would be released as singles. After the huge success of "Babe", every Styx album included at least one schmaltzy, adult-contemporary pop love song, something that got under the skin of Tommy Shaw and JY. The "Kilroy Was Here" tour tore the band at the seams, and Shaw was the first to leave. A reunion several years later produced a single album with one hit song, but Shaw was not involved and it would take a few more years for the classic Styx line-up to reconvene, oddly, for the purpose of simply re-recording their first big hit, "Lady", so that it could be included on a greatest hits package, the original holder of the recording rights, Wooden Nickle, not being willing to release the rights to A&M. Magic was in the air during that recording and the band agreed to go out on tour. Sadly, John Panozzo's alcoholism had spoiled his health to the point that he could not participate in the recording, the rehearsals, or the ensuing tour, and he was replaced temporarily by young drummer Todd Sucherman. The "Return to Paradise" tour was a huge success, yet tragically near the end news reached the band that John had succumbed to his health issues. A double live album and video was released and a tour for the 20th anniversary of "The Grand Illusion" was scheduled, though Dennis was already reducing the dates as his Broadway musical project, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" was going on simultaneously.

Then came the talk of recording a new album, the first to feature the classic lineup since 1983. The elation of the 1997 tour was rapidly fading. Dennis had developed an illness caused by fatigue that made him sensitive to light. Add to that his predilection for being a homebody that didn't feel comfortable being away from home for long, and it was decided by him that the recordings would take place at his home studio. For those living around or not far from Chicago, this was acceptable; however Tommy Shaw was at this time living in California, and he soon tired of living out of a hotel during the recording sessions. Dennis' studio was good, but not as good as studios out in California, and furthermore Tommy didn't enjoy standing in stockings on Dennis' carpet (no shoes allowed) in a room with the lights always dimmed. He at last decided to head back to California and do his part of the recording there, and JY would run the tapes back and forth between the two studios. Tommy was already feeling the old sentiments that made him want to quit the band back in 1984. Dennis was adamant about how the recording would proceed and the direction of the album.

Meanwhile, Chuck Panozzo, who was HIV positive, finally developed full-blown AIDS. His health was so poor that on the days he did struggle down for rehearsals, he was often took weak to perform adequately. It came down to Dennis deciding that if Chuck didn't record anything for the album, he would get no credit. Tommy and JY said they'd fight to have his name on the album, but Chuck summoned the strength to get into the studio and lay down several tracks.

To further complicate things, Tommy Shaw had decided to loosely base the album on Aldous Huxley's book, "Brave New World" and he commissioned artwork to reflect the concept. Dennis was against it and in the end hated the cover art. Tensions increased as the album came to a wrap, the band once again on the verge of crumbling.

The resulting album was not what it should have been. Fans were thrilled to have the classic line-up (minus John Panozzo) release a new album. But whereas Styx's most well-known albums in the past had always been collaborative efforts among the members, "Brave New World" was seen as more like a Tommy Shaw solo album and a Dennis DeYoung solo album sewn together with a bit of frayed Styx thread. DeYoung claimed that when he heard the resulting record, he cried. He said it had the potential to have been so much better if only he had been able to guide the album's creation more. Fans' reactions were tepid. The record company waited to see what the band would do. Dennis declined to tour right away on account of his health condition. Tommy and JY said they would replace Dennis and tour anyway. And with that, Dennis DeYoung, founder of Styx and writer of some of the band's biggest songs, was out of the band.

My Review

Is the album so bad? I actually have quickly grown to like it. First of all, I've never heard any solo albums by Styx members, so I can't say how much individual songs sound like a Tommy Shaw solo record track or a Dennis solo track. But the album is clearly divided into the Tommy/JY recordings and the Dennis recordings, the former adhering to the "Brave New World" theme with three songs including the album title in the lyrics, and the latter contributing very Dennis-esque tracks. Individually, I find most of the tracks enjoyable with some pleasant surprises. The biggest disappointment is the lack of cohesion that the band once exhibited, working together rather than against each other.

Styx has never been a true prog band and no one in the band has ever stated otherwise. But they always felt free to borrow prog elements and sew them into their songs. "Brave New World" features some very mature song-writing, especially from JY who was always more the hard-rocking, party-rock member of the band. "Heavy Water" and "What Have They Done to You" are indicators of his abilities to come in the future. The opening track, "I Will Be Your Witness" is rather a slow start to the album and sounds more like a song from The New Kids on the Block album "Ten", which my wife has and I think is rather good adult contemporary rock. Not what I'd like to hear from Styx exactly, mind you. "Number One" and "Everything Is Cool" are typical of the rock style to come out of Tommy/JY Styx since these recordings, good and catchy rock songs but not very prog-related. The title track feels a little more developed with more musical variation and interest than any standard rock songs. It's my favourite on the album. Tommy also sings a lyrically-witty, upbeat and fun rock number called "Just Fell In". It's a rare case of Styx sounding like they are having fun.

Dennis' contributions provide a lot more variety, from the surprisingly lovely ballad "While There's Still Time", which is performed with acoustic guitars rather than electric piano and string synthesizer, to the brass and cool bounce of "High Crimes & Misdemeanors (Hip-Hop Hypocrasy)", to the soul-filled piano ballad "Goodbye to Roseland". "Great Expectations" has reggae grove with a sound like an eighties mature rock band in the neighbourhood of The Police or Toto, and "Fallen Angel" has that musical approach that seems to be written with a stage performance in mind.

Yes, perhaps this does sound more like a Tommy Shaw / Dennis DeYoung "Union" album (Yes reference) rather than a Styx album. It's not the grand road trip that was hoped for with the reunion and the resulting successful tours. But I am not disappointed with it. I can get into most of the songs and regard the album for what it turned out to be: less than what was expected but still good in its own right. That said, most fans and music journalists agree that the greater majority of the Styx catalogue surpasses this. Even their albums "Cyclorama" and "The Mission", recorded without DeYoung, are musically better albums. Not easy to find, "Brave New World" is decent enough in my opinion and worth having. But for the true brilliance of Styx or even a half-decent prog rock album, this is not recommended. It's more for fanatics like me who bought it to own a piece of one of the band's more turbulent periods.

Latest members reviews

3 stars I'm not sure what to say here exactly, so I'll start with a very short story. When I heard that Styx were going to re-form to record a long awaited follow up album to 1990's "Edge Of The Century" I was thrilled but quite skeptical. I know in 1990 I was unsure of what to think about "Edge!" ... (read more)

Report this review (#38853) | Posted by silversaw | Friday, July 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars If 'Kilroy was here' was a bizarre miss-step for the band, this was triple-suicide. Does every Tommy Shaw song have to mention either 'Manic Depression' or 'Prosac'? And the bad part is it starts out so promisingly. I might give a song-by-song run down for this one 1. "I will be your witness" - T ... (read more)

Report this review (#17419) | Posted by Brendan | Sunday, April 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars If you want hear a pop album, go away, buy this disc, but if you want art rock... pass away. This is not an horrible work, sometimes can be enjoyable, but is a great deception for the Styx fans, can be sure... ... (read more)

Report this review (#17416) | Posted by | Sunday, February 8, 2004 | Review Permanlink

2 stars What a waste. With the majority of the original Styx lineup, fans expected a fantastic album...and instead, they got this. At its best, it's a disjointed effort with a few good tracks that really shine, and at its worst, it's a piece of horrifying garbage that left Styx fans dismayed and disappoin ... (read more)

Report this review (#17415) | Posted by | Friday, December 26, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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