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Styx Styx II album cover
3.20 | 154 ratings | 20 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. You Need Love (3:44)
2. Lady (2:56)
3. A Day (8:19)
4. You Better Ask (3:54)
5. Little Fugue in "G" (1:17)
6. Father O.S.A. (7:08)
7. Earl Of Roseland (4:30)
8. I'm Gonna Make You Feel It (2:23)

Total Time: 34:11

Line-up / Musicians

- James Young / guitar, vocals
- John Curulewski / guitar, ARP synth, autoharp, vocals
- Dennis DeYoung / organ, pipe organ (Cathedral of St. James, Chicago), ARP synthesizer, vocals
- Chuck Panozzo / bass
- John Panozzo / percussion, drums, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Bob Miles

LP Wooden Nickel Records ‎- WNS-1012 (1973, US)

CD RCA ‎- 3111-2-R (1990, US) Remastered by Jay Newland and Joe Lopes

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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STYX Styx II ratings distribution

(154 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (44%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

STYX Styx II reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
1 stars For die-hard fans only and unfortunately the first Styx hit in Lady. This first hit is important to understand how they became so popular as they had many sounds in their early day , but only Lady workked . If you listen from Equinox on , you will notice that they copied the sound of this numberand repeated it almost endlessly.
Review by daveconn
4 stars One of those early wonders like Fly By Night that bespeaks great things for the future. Of course it contains "Lady" in all of its familiar raiment, and the song is crystallized perfection, but just as likely to strike a chord with prog fans are "You Need Love," "Earl of Roseland" and the combination of "Little Fugue" and "Father O.S.A." Styx didn't remove the rock & roll swagger from their muse, and a "You Better Ask" or "I'm Gonna Make You Feel It" are hardly progressive insights, but not everyone can be as consistently high-minded as Yes or Genesis. If "Lady" has left this good company unescorted into the future, then take a little trip back. You'll discover a band that made good use of harmonies, could write elastic arrangements with the best of them, and understood prog's archetypes. John Curulewski's "You Better Ask," is the exception, a funky rock number that underscores the need for "safe" sex. It does end with a nod to "Strangers In The Night," which reminds me of a musical joke circulating at the time that had a ribald little story sung to the melody of "Strangers..." (but enough about that). Curulewski's "A Day" is closer to the dreamy vibe of prog, though it has more in common with CSN ("Almost Cut My Hair") than prog proper. Though Dennis DeYoung would favor ballads like "Lady" in the long run, here he writes a lot of heavy material, perhaps as a concession to the fact that Styx' vision was aligned to the hard, heavy right of Dennis' softer, lefter leanings. As with Kerry Livgren and Kansas, DeYoung and Styx can lead with keyboards or guitars, which allows them to pursue hard and soft prog passages. Sometimes, Styx slips into hard rock phrasings (as did Kansas), but in doing so they helped forge a new style of prog that would be adopted by bands like Boston and proved more palatable to American ears. I'd recommend this album even if it didn't harbor a certain "Lady," and suspect that Styx II is the one to own among the band's early elpees.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A memorable album!

Let me put it this way: as far as Styx' fans concern this might not be a seminal album to consider; and it's not truly a prog album in conservative way . or something that in the past called it something as "art rock". In a more open mind way, this album does have some prog elements as well, even though not symphonic. However, in subjective judgment from my point of view this album has been very critical to develop me further as prog lover and it has been part of my life. My first collection of this album was in cassette format but I don't have it anymore now. It was released when I was a 13-year old boy who started to learn to love music. The cassette was not actually mine, it was my brother (Jokky)'s cassette and I only listened to it when I was on holidays in Jakarta when I was 15-year old. Oh man . the third track "A Day" really blew me away at first listen! It's so powerful in melody, lyrics as well as composition. Unfortunately when I returned back to my small city Madiun, I could not find the album in local store. So, I got only the compilation of Styx until their fourth album. Only recently I got this album from my colleague prog head Koni. Thanks man!

The opening track "You Need Love" (3:44) might not be something that catches your attention at all when you hear the song at first time. But if you look this song into deep, you will find that all key characteristics of Styx sound was built through this track. Look how the choirs are performed and how Dennis De Young handles vocal department. The music grooves as well as guitar solo confirm the characteristics of Styx music which will carry forward into later days. "Lady" (2:56) was a major hit and is still now being played by FM radio because its pop orientation.

"A Day" (8:19) is a very melodic song with mellow opening, powerful singing style. The music is characterized by percussion as rhythm section augmented with keyboard and good bass guitar. "Woke up in rainy autumn. Morning mist beginning to wane. And the birds of the winged trees. Calling my name.." is a great opening verse of the lyrics and it becomes much melodic during chorus " Listen to the flowing streams. Golden in the shelter of my dreams. Playing a song on the meadow that echoes with love." oh man .. what a great melody!!! When the music enters interlude part, it turns the style into a bit of jazzy style with bass guitar dominates the rhythm section backed with drums, accompanying excellent guitar solo. Once the guitar solo is done, organ continues the solo nicely. I really love this part and it's a very memorable part of the song. Hey, don't get me wrong .. I love this song the whole thing for an 8 minute duration!

"You Better Ask" (3:54) is a jazzy-pop style which is quite catchy. "Little Fugue in G" (1:17) is basically a very nice organ work that reminds me the days when I used bicycle to transport everywhere (and I am now still bicycling to the office - so, basically there is no life improvement in me since I was 13 year old!). The organ work is so catchy and memorable, it serves as great opening for the next great song: "Father O.S.A. " (7:08). It starts beautifully with excellent drumming right after the organ sound fades out, followed with nice guitar riffs that become critical elements of this excellent track. The opening lyrical verse: " Father. You're a sad old man. Your tawdry vest is gray." is so powerful for me, personally and it means a lot. Well yeah, my dad passed away when I was five years old . so this opening lyrics suit my taste and feeling. The music is also nice, combining great guitar work, soaring organ work and good drum work.

The two concluding tracks are not bad also with "Earl Of Roseland" (4:30) reminds me to the sound of Uriah Heep. "I'm Gonna Make You Feel It" (2:23) has a nice combination of organ sound and guitar riffs. The choirs are also good. The guitar solo at the end of the track is also good.

Overall, this is definitely a memorable album for me personally. It has been part of my life because I grew with this album. I remember vividly that I later loved "Man of Miracles" album as well. I do not know about you. But if you like the music of Styx, you should buy this album as well. Keep on proggin' ..!

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

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars I'm gonna make you hear it!

This second Styx album is one of my favourite Styx albums, rivalled only by The Grand Illusion. Of the Wooden Nickel albums (the band's first four), Styx II is the most consistent and also the most progressive. It starts out strongly with You Need Love with swirling synthesisers and operatic harmony vocals. I really like the introduction to this song.

Lady became a small hit, I think, and I can see why. It is highly melodic and memorable. However, this one is not one of my favourites. The lead vocals are always my biggest problem with Styx and it is very clear on this particular track. The good thing is that they don't drag it out, it is just under three minutes long.

The eight plus minute A Day is perhaps the most interesting track from a Prog perspective. It is a somewhat jazzy song that somehow reminds me of the style of Yes' two first albums. Yes was, after all, most probably one of Styx' sources of inspiration. I think this is an excellent song that is very much in line with early British Symphonic Prog. This is my personal favourite Styx song. Even the lead vocals are good this time!

However, Styx are quick to destroy the Prog mode with the next track You Better Ask, easily my least favourite of the album. It is a rather simple and cheerful, up tempo song and apart from a nice, short keyboard solo it has few redeeming features. However, it does not distract too much from the flow of the album. Next thing on the menu is a short Little Fugue In 'G' which is a nice little piece played on church organ leading straight into Father O.S.A, another good song. Here we are treated to another song that justifies the group's presence in the Prog Related category with some Queen-like harmony vocals, tasteful electric and acoustic guitars and assorted keyboards.

The album closes with a couple of decent up tempo, melodic Rock songs in Earl Of Roseland and I'm Gonna Make You Feel It. The latter has slightly the same style as the opener.

I can really recommend this early Styx album as I think it is one of the band's best albums. It is not quite excellent, however. But it is one of those albums on which the group came as close to excellence as they ever came.

The best way to get the album now is, I believe, on the 2CD set The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings which comprises the band's first four albums. While the Styx II segment of that compilation is the best, there are several other good songs and with the exception of the weak debut, the other albums here all deserve to be heard. You also get one bonus track called Unfinished Song. It is not at all as unfinished as its title implies. Rather, it is better than most of the songs from the original albums!

Three solid stars for Styx II.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Second Styx album is different from their début. There they really have a control on production, music has better structure, sound - better balance. But I miss raw energy and freshness of the debut.

There is obvious they choosed the direction. Choral vocals, orchestrated production, lighter sound and softer songs - there is the beginning of their way to what they became in late 70-s."Lady" is their proto-ballade which gave a birth to more different clones on their later albums.

Being a bit more professional than previous one, this album showed the way for Styx future direction. And in many moments I prefer the debut one.Around 2,5.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The sophomore album by Styx proves to be a strong improvement upon the sort of proposal reflected in the band's debut effort. While the "Styx" album was groovy and entertaining, it was mostly an attempt to create something near art-rock with a large amoubnt of alien material. On the other hand, "Styx II" shows the quartet of Young, DeYoung, Curulewski and the Panozzo twins elaborating a stronger sound and setting more convincign arrangements for the compositional ideas' frameworks. The opener 'YouNeed Love' is a catchy uptempo rocker that wouldn't have been out of place in any Uriah Heep album during their golden years. The brief but electrifying organ solo executed by DeYound in the interlude is amazing, something like a Lord-meets-Emerson kind of thing. 'Lady' is the next song, loved by many and maligned by many others, I stand near the former. It is a power-ballad full of the sweetness one can expect from this kind of songs, but its logical mellow vibe doesn't sound overwhelming to my ears: one can certainly describe this 3- minute long hit song as a mixture of Elton John and Uriah Heep with subtile traces of Yes brought in the mix, plus a killer guitar lead during the last repeated chorus. It is true that DeYoung always admired Yes, ELP and Pink Floyd, and that feeling has always been reflected in many other songs written by his colleagues. In fact, the youngest one in the band, John Curulewski, brings the gem of the album's first half - 'A Day'. With its 8+ minute timespan, I believe it is the longest Styx song ever. Its main body is a slow sung section that sounds like a jazzier version of pre-Wakeman Yes: Curulewski's interventions on autoharp, 12-string guitar and ARP create pertinent sonic nuances while DeYoung uses his electric and grand piano parts to complement the basic rhythmic scheme. The instrumental interlude enhances the jazz factor and provides a major dose of energy: with a tempo that alternates 6/8 and 5/4 in the Panozzos' capable hands, the dual guitars and the Hammond organ successively state the dominant sounds. Never again you will hear Styx doing something like this, and it is really impressive as a cleverly constructed source of progressive rock. Also Curulewski-penned, 'You Better Ask' is an uptempo rocker whose lyrics sarcastically deal with the subject of venereal diseases that emerge from the practice of careless sexual fun. This song sounds like a middle point between Uriah and The Stones. The closing quote of 'Strangers In The Night' as if played on a calliope while a devilish laughter carries on completes the humorous note delivered on this song (Procol Harum also made a humorous song about this otherwise serious subject). The album's second half open up with another grand progressive gesture, only thsi time sounding like typical Styx: of course, I'm referrign to the pairing of Bach's 'Little Fugue in G' and DeYoung's 'Father O.S.A.'. The Fugue is performed on a real pipe organ, in this way announcing the solemnity that will impose itself on the following track. With its anti-clerical (not anti-Christian) lyrics, DeYoung urges us to seek and find the truth about God by ourselves instead of seeking for standard answers in the mouths of formal religious leaders. The main melody constructed on teh dual guitars and subsequent solos are enough themselves to provide convenient power for this song, but the pipe organ passages and solo piano fade-out are also functional to complete the environment. John Panozzo's drumming (plus tympani and bells) is also a major asset in this song's peculiar splendour. The heavier 'Earl Of Roseland' provides the most intelligent rocker in the album, while 'I'm Gonna Make YouFeel It' states a similar groove to that of the opener. 3.75 stars for this one... and the best from the Curulewski years was yet to come with "The Serpent Is Rising", but that is a matter for another review.
Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Lady arrives early to one lame party

When the first Styx album bombed the band convinced their label they should have more control of the second album, which they were granted. But because the promotion they got was basically nil, the results were not much different in terms of success. While some called the second album a huge leap forward from the debut in quality and production, I can only agree on the latter. The debut is a more memorable collection of music despite Styx II having two very important tracks.

Dennis DeYoung took control of Styx II and wrote all but two of the songs, but as a writer he was not yet at his creative peak. The exception was the track "Lady" (written for his wife Suzanne) which gave a startling insight into his skills at writing those romantic power ballads which would be so prominent on future albums. It was a song he was urged to write by label guy Bill Traut in an attempt to have some commercial breakthrough, Traut wanted a song which would perk the ears of teenage girls. The other guys in the band were not pleased by "Lady" in another eerie foreshadow of tension coming five years later. But they gave in and the song would eventually be crucial in helping to break the band nationally, though it did not happen right away. The song itself is a near perfect pop song with a gorgeous melody and a powerful chorus. The moody progger of the band, the late guitarist John Curulewski, disliked the song but frequently had good ideas. He added those nice rhythm guitar chugs through the verses while James Young took the big swipes at the end. "Lady" is a great single but one that arrived too early to the party Styx were at in 1973. It's a song that would help define Dennis DeYoung and begin to find them a radio audience.

For his part Curulewski contributed "A Day" which was the proggy highlight of the album, an 8-minute plus drifting dirge of soft emotions which rolls over the listening in waves. Gentle acoustic guitars and sad piano, light bass and drums, trippy effects throughout. Eventually it builds into a more fiery jam with dual lead electric guitars. His more fragile and plaintive vocal delivery is a stark contrast to the usual Styx bombast, and the song sounds more like a lazy Allman Brothers track or a Traffic number than a Styx song. This is the kind of wonderful "box of chocolates" albums listeners were treated to in those days. The musicians were experimenting as songwriters and nothing was concrete, so you have some wildly diverse material that can sound nothing like the Styx default "sound" you have in your mind. John's other track was the somewhat silly but fun "You Better Ask" which discusses his unfortunate encounters with "social diseases."

The rest of the album served up DeYoung's nice treatment of a Bach piece which he recorded by running a long cable from the church organ at the Cathedral of St. James down the street from the studio. His other originals were not his best work and he began a period of self-doubt as a writer, turning over some of the leadership on the next album to the others. "Earl of Roseland" was a warm and nostalgic lyrical reminisce of the band's early days in their neighborhood, but falls rather flat as good music goes. "Father OSA" was a song about his Dad which is personal and has some nice keyboard work, but again, these songs just do not deliver the goods. I'm surprised it is something of a favorite to Styx fans.

Styx II is a disappointing album and "for fans" of the band, and to fans I recommend it for what is one of John Curulewski's best tracks, "A Day." Beyond that, I would not recommend the album except as part of the excellent collection "The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings" which is the best way to experience the first four Styx albums on CD.

Review by stefro
4 stars A superior sequel to an ambitious if somewhat inconsistent debut, 'Styx II' finds the Chicago rockers fine-tuning their blustery, blues-pop-and-prog. Whilst the group's self-titled debut didn't lack energy and drive, it was an awkwardly-constructed affair that didn't quite manage to blend it's many disparate elements. A slicker, more focused effort, this follow-up starts to build on the fragments of promise shown in such compositions as the lengthy 'Movement For A Common Man', adding a stylish pop veneer, some skilfully-deployed Crosby, Stills & Nash-style vocal harmonies and a much stronger progressive streak embodied by some bold instrumental passages that make a mockery out of the group's detractors who claim Styx are nothing more than just another AOR group. 'Styx II' also features one of the group's biggest hits in the shape of the part-ballad, part- rocker 'Lady', though at the time of the album's 1973 release it was very much a case of the hit that wasn't. Confused? Well, of course you are. At the time of the album's release Styx were still very much a local act with a small-but-growing fanbase who had yet to make any kind of mark on the mainstream. 'Lady' wasn't picked up by radio stations for a good two years, finally making an impression after the release of Styx's third album 'The Serpent Is Rising', pushing the five-man outfit well-and-truly into the national spotlight. 'Lady' aside, however, 'Styx II' is a definite improvement in virtually every department. There's a real sense of cohesion on impressive, multi-part tracks such as the organ-blessed 'A Day', one of the group's best early recordings, whilst the theatrical imprint vocalist Dennis DeYoung would push in later years starts to raise it's colourful head on the bluesy 'You Better Ask'. There's also a knowing wink to the members origins on the slyly laconic 'Earl Of Roseland', which furrows straight rock energy into kitsch prog-pop passages in that peculiar Styx manner that gives so much of their material that twinkling, almost effervescent edge. Combining earthy rock 'n' roll, prog- tinged flights of fancy, spectacular harmonies and pacey, fluid instrumental flourishes 'Styx II' marks the high point of the outfit's early phase. Of all the Wooden Nickel recordings this is the one that manages to get the right balance between the members commercial aspirations and their bright-eyed artistic excesses, a difficult balancing act indeed.


Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars There was something in the sound, the dynamics, the incredible vocals and guitar lick solo in "Lady" that led me, for the first time, to actually go out to a record store and buy a full-length record album--this one. Up to this point, I was depending on either my brother or the Columbia Record Club to provide me with full-album experiences, but with Styx II I became aware that there was a lot of music out there that Columbia did not give me access to.

I've always considered this a prog album, even at the time of first discovery (though I might not have used the term "prog" or even "progressive rock"), as there are several forays into experimental, not-for-radio-play songs, like "Father O.S.A.", "A Day", "Little Fugue in G", and even the "Earl of Roseland". The instrumental variety and prowess exhibited on Styx II were, to me, reminiscent of another one of Chicago's finest (and a contemporary of Styx), that being Chicago Transit Authority (without the horns, of course): experimental music forms, great melodic hooks, and multiple GREAT vocalists. (And this was before the arrival of the great Tommy Shaw!) Plus, they were both unafraid to "go their own way" and not conform to the pressures of achieving radio popularity (at least, not with every song). Definitely a seminal album in the evolution of my musical tastes--one that came to me in my 15th year. While I do not, or have never, consider this a "masterpiece" of music--prog or otherwise--it has some historically noteworthy highlights and definitely demonstrates the uprising of a band that would become a force in the anthemic, stadium rock scene that ran rampant in the U.S. of A in the 1970s and 80s.

A 3.5 star collection that is probably only "good, but non-essential" but has always been privately cherished and honored by this music lover.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Styx-Styx II After their stellar debut, Styx continued down a similar path of progressive rock, except this album features more variety between styles. The album begins with a Beatle-esque rocker 'You Need Love', which is catchy but is lacking compared to the more Deep Purple-like rockers ... (read more)

Report this review (#1293132) | Posted by Fearabsentia | Friday, October 17, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Is this the second Styx album? How did you know, the title Styx II? What would have happened in the old days before ProgArchives or Amazon of I wouldn't have known if 'The Serpent is rising' was their third of eleventh album? So it seemed quite reasonable to call it Styx II. But ... (read more)

Report this review (#280933) | Posted by Brendan | Saturday, May 8, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Styx II. I think they make me despise numerals. And their "oh so original" brand of jumbled power pop/prog is so weak. Here we find them sacrificing their progressive tendencies for a much more radio friendly and arena rock landscape. The opener is pretty biting, if the vocals are a bit weak. ... (read more)

Report this review (#212854) | Posted by Alitare | Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album is proof that Styx is very underrated as band. I was very curious and had no idea of what I would get with this. It turned out to be a great surprise. The music on here is much like Tychovski said. It is good rock music with progressive leanings, at times strong, and at other time ... (read more)

Report this review (#136369) | Posted by White Shadow | Wednesday, September 5, 2007 | Review Permanlink

1 stars This is a step up from their debut album, if slightly. It isn't all electric screeching now, but there is some order. Lady is approaching pretty, and A Day is a very nice song, with good lyrics and layered percussion. Towards the end, they rock out, but not in a chaotic, asking-for-endurance way ... (read more)

Report this review (#89999) | Posted by Shakespeare | Monday, September 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Styx' second album (and it IS there second, not "Serpent is Rising" despite one of the rare errors on ProgArchives ... ) is the highlite of their Wooden Nickel recordings. But first, you have to get past the most played song from this period: "Lady" If you're like me, "Lady" is the kind of ... (read more)

Report this review (#48197) | Posted by | Saturday, September 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 3.5 Stars - hands down!!! This is the follow-up to Styx's debut album and what a difference!!! The album was entirely written by the members of the band and what an amazing bunch of songwriters they are. Dennis DeYoung shines on this album, especially on "Father O.S.A" and the hit single "L ... (read more)

Report this review (#38850) | Posted by silversaw | Friday, July 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 3.5 - Lighten up peeps, this is actually a fun album to listen to. You Need Love is great sounding arena rock. Nice solid sounding guitar work and vocals. The song is FUN Lady the first "hit" is the worst song here and was the harbinger of crappy DeYoung piffle to follow. I absolutely d ... (read more)

Report this review (#17431) | Posted by | Tuesday, May 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Too few progressive fans have explored Styx in their pre-Tommy Shaw formation. The five albums that preceeded his arrival have distinct prog leanings, and absolutely deserve an honest listen. In 1973 prog was getting airplay, so many bands followed in the afterwake. Styx had the technical abil ... (read more)

Report this review (#17430) | Posted by Tychovski | Monday, July 19, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Among the albums that Styx released in their early days on RCA's Wooden Nickel records, Styx II has the only easily identifiable hit ("Lady"), and is a much better rock record than their previous efforts. The album is not without faults, but is an engaging listen, and you can definitely hear the ro ... (read more)

Report this review (#17427) | Posted by | Friday, December 26, 2003 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A strange mix of sounds, since it goes from barroque organ playing (Little Fugue in "G"), to jazz-rock (A Day) to classic rock (I'm Gonna Make You Feel It). I agree on with a review from another Styx Lp which said that Styx are able to play soulfull ballads without sounding too kitschy (Father O.S.A ... (read more)

Report this review (#17426) | Posted by | Tuesday, December 23, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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