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Saga 20/20 album cover
3.28 | 108 ratings | 9 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Six Feet Under (4:56)
2. Anywhere You Wanna Go (5:30)
3. Ellery (4:09)
4. Spin It Again (4:41)
5. Another Day Out Of Sight (4:19)
6. One Of These Days (4:46)
7. Ball And Chain (4:18)
8. Lost For Words (4:34)
9. Show And Tell (4:42)
10. Till The Well Runs Dry (6:20)

Total time 48:15

Line-up / Musicians

- Michael Sadler / vocals, keyboards
- Ian Crichton / guitar
- Jim Gilmour / keyboards, vocals
- Jim Crichton / bass, keyboards
- Brian Doerner / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Alexander Mertsch with Dean Meehan

CD Eagle Rock (2012, Canada)
CD Ear Music ‎- 0207710ERE (2012, Germany)

LP Ear Music ‎- 0209636ERE (2014, Germany)

Thanks to rushfan4 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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SAGA 20/20 ratings distribution

(108 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

SAGA 20/20 reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I haven't actually planned on listening or reviewing another Saga album but after seeing the return of Michael Sadler and their pretty solid gig, back in November last year, it almost felt like the band could deliver something interesting with the release of 20/20. Unfortunately it doesn't take long to realize that their 2012 offering is just another throwaway fans only release...

I really have no problem with Saga and their commercially inclined approach to art music but this release still managed to rub me the wrong way on quite a few occasions. Being mainly a fan of great songwriting and strong melodic hooks, 20/20 doesn't deliver the one nor the other. There are a few minor exceptions to the rule like Anywhere You Wanna Go and One Of These Days, both feature strong melodic hooks on the chorus lines. The rest of the material isn't necessarily bad but rather bleak in comparison. The songs are generally pretty simplistic in their structure with only a few interesting moments from Jim Gilmour and Ian Crichton. The new drummer Mike Thorne doesn't really bring anything particularly memorable with his playing and there is really no point of even trying to make any comparison to Steve Negus.

It's clearly business as usual in the Saga camp with the band making a bare minimal effort of pleasing their fanbase while ignoring the opportunity of expanding their audiences and reaching the younger generations of listeners with their music. Having said that, I'll probably still going to see the next Saga gig, later this fall, just because Michael Sadler is a very charismatic front man. Somehow I doubt that the band will do much promotion for 20/20, they might perform Anywhere You Wanna Go but that's pretty much it.

**** star songs: Anywhere You Wanna Go (5:30) One Of These Days (4:46) Lost For Words (4:34) Till The Well Runs Dry (6:20)

*** star songs: Six Feet Under (4:56) Ellery (4:09) Spin It Again (4:41) Another Day Out Of Sight (4:19) Ball And Chain (4:18) Show And Tell (4:42)

Review by Gooner
4 stars If you liked "Network", "Trust" and "10,000 Days" - this album is right up your alley. A solid effort and not a stinker in the lot. One of the few albums from Saga where I don't have to uncomfortably ask myself: "why do I like these guys?" It takes a lot for me to write a review for any new prog.rock release, so I thought this was a worthy record warranting a comment or two. I didn't review Saga's last 2 albums with Sadler as I thought they were trying to channel Gentle Giant a little too much. "Human Condition" without Sadler didn't really sound like Saga to me(more like Spock's Beard). Although I enjoyed those albums("Trust" and "10,000 Days") tremendously, the Giant has been put out to pasture on 20/20. What we have here is Saga channeling the strong parts from "A Beginner's Guide To Throwing Shapes", "Behaviour", "World's Apart" and "Network". There's absolutely no dated sounding "electronic" drums and Ian Crichton puts on another ripping performance in the guitar department. 10 solid Saga tracks that will grow on you like a bad mold; but I like it that way. Michael Sadler in fine vocal form a la '80s and Jim Gilmour? You're one of the underrated keyboard greats with Downes and Kaye and you prove it on this "20/20" gem. Definitely a top 10 album for 2012.

4.0 stars for a solid Saga release. Welcome back, Michael.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars In hindsight...

From their inception in the late 70's up until the late 90's, Saga's studio output was a very bumpy ride with the quality of their albums ranging from the very best to the very worst; taking in the whole spectrum from masterpiece (Generation 13) to disaster (Wildest Dreams, The Pleasure & The Pain). With 1999's Full Circle, however, Saga entered into a period of remarkable stability of quality that, evidenced by the present album, continues to the present day. Avoiding both the ups and the downs of previous decades, the new millennium has seen Saga releasing an impressively consistent series of albums - all of them good. Not even the temporary loss of original front man Michael Sadler could shake the group's newfound confidence.

With this album Sadler returns to the fold again and all is well. The band's sound remains unchanged and 20/20 is nothing more and nothing less than another good Saga album. The ten new songs are typical Saga tunes, strong, melodic, full of Saga's well-known trademarks. The only surprise here is that they still manage to keep it up and produce such good music in the same style on album after album after album without falling into a creative slump. They are still a very good band, and there is no sign of them losing their grip. On the other hand, there is also no sign of them wanting to push any boundaries and expand in any direction. This is Saga in their comfort zone, but still sounding fresh and relevant.

In conclusion, there is no reason to be disappointed with 20/20 if you expect more of the same good music as Saga has produced in the last 13 years. But if you expect something ground breaking, you would better look elsewhere.

Review by kev rowland
3 stars It must be more than 30 years since I first became aware of Saga, and after purchasing a cut- price single, invested in my first vinyl album of theirs, the wonderful 'Images of Twilight'. From then on I picked up the occasional release, and finally caught them in concert about ten years ago (where they won the award for being the quietest rock band I have ever seen). By then they had, at least to me, settled into a sound that was always very much Saga and they could always be relied upon to release a solid album, but normally not a spectacular one. The last album I heard of theirs was 2006's 'Trust', and in the intervening period they have released two other studio albums and singer Michael Sadler has left and returned, so have I been missing anything?

Well, if this is anything to go by then probably not much. While opener "Six Feet Under" is very much a typical Saga song, with driving keyboards and guitars and over the top vocals it is let down by much that follows, especially "Ellery" which highlights a more reflective side of the band that just doesn't work at all. For every song that raises the hopes there is another that dashes it, and the overall effect is that while die-hard fans will acclaim Michael's return as a masterpiece the rest of us won't feel the same way. If only there were more like "Show and Tell", which is classic Saga in so many ways, then it would be possible to give this more than 3 stars. But as it is, that's al it is worth.

Review by The Crow
3 stars Saga is a band which aged admirably good!

And 20/20 was another solid release from them, being also a very welcomed return of their classic singer Michael Sadler after The Human Condition with Rob Moratti on vocals, who was only three years in the band, between 2008 and 2011. And let's be honest, Sadler is the right singer for this band and his form in 2012 was still impressive. It's very rewarding to hear than he sings as good in his 60's as he did in his 20's. Great!

And the rest of the band was also in a great form here. Ian Crichton guitars are so fun to hear as ever, with his talented rhythms, the drums are powerful, and Jim Gilmour shows why he is one of the most elegant keyboards player in prog history. The production is also very good although I miss a bit more power in some riffs. But everything sounds just fine!

The songwriting, on the other side, is sadly a bit more irregular. In 20/20 we can hear a pair of modern Saga hymns like Six Feet Under and One of These Days, which sound so catchy and funny as ever, mixed with some lackluster tracks like Another Day Out of Sight, Ball and Chain and Lost for Words. Nevertheless, the album is overall good, clearly winning the fine tracks over the mediocre ones, making the hearing of this record rather pleasant in the long term.

Best Tracks: Six Feet Under (the typical Sadler vocal melodies are back!), Anywhere You Wanna Go (an interesting mid-tempo), One of These Days (a great and classic saga song which bring On the Loose to mind!) and Till the Well Runs Dry (the most progressive one, containing an outstanding guitar solo)

Conclusion: 20/20 brought nothing new to Saga's discography, with the exceptions of a few experiments like the semi acoustic Ellery. But it's a very solid release with a pair of excellent tracks, a few good ones and only three mediocre compositions. So, the bright side clearly wins here!

The band plays beautifully, the very missed Sadler's voice was in a great form and the production is also good enough. So, if you like some of the classic Saga albums and you have not heard this release from 2012, you will be gladly surprised! This band still sounded fresh, not boring and most important, not bored after so many years making music together.

My rating: ***

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars For the previous album released in 2009, "The Human Condition", Michael Sadler had retired as vocalist and that album was the only album in their discography that had a different vocalist. The band ended up sounding a bit heavier for that album, and it worked okay, but there was still some room to grow. Well, that line-up never got that chance, because by the time their next album "20/20" came out in 2012, Sadler had come out of retirement and the well-known line-up had returned. So did this mean that the band would pick up where they left off or would they choose to go with the heavier sound? Well, the answer is basically "no" to both.

Even though Brian Doerner would play the drums on this album, he left the band at the first part of the same year. But as far as this album was concerned, it was the same line up that had been there before Sadler's short retirement. The sound on this album lightens up compared to "The Human Condition", however, instead of a complete return to their previous style, they changed things up a bit. For one thing, the band started using multi-layered vocalizations, mostly by layering Sadler's vocals, which gave portions of the album a more "lush" feeling. The band also decided to pare back the progressive sound, but not quite to the extent that it was in the 80's for the most part.

The album starts off well enough with what is probably the best track on the album "Six Feet Under". It climbs from a somewhat lush beginning to a nice solid track, somewhat unique from previous sounds from the band, but its obvious right away that Sadler is back. It's a great starter and enough to get the old fans excited again especially with some killer guitar passages. "Anywhere You Want to Go" steps back a bit from that heavier sound and allows the keyboards to breathe a little bit, but is a tad less interesting. From there, the album continues to step down as the songs become more pop-oriented, less progressive and less interesting. The multi-layered vocal sections start to get to sounding to much the same and the melodies tend to get less interesting. It's not until way into the 2nd half of the album that you get a decent and emotional track with "Lost for Words" which has almost operatic vocals from Sadler in his best performance on the album. The instrumentals through the album are also okay, but are often not given enough time to develop into much. The last track is the longest on the album at over 6 minutes, and you would expect something pretty amazing, but you don't really get it.

So, everyone had high hopes with the return of Sadler, but ended up being a bit disappointed in the end. By the time you add up the quality of the music and everything, the album ends up not being any better or worse than "The Human Condition" even though they are quite different in sound from each other. "20/20" ends up just being another average sounding album and Saga had definitely done better than this, but at least it wasn't a complete failure.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Michael Sadler returns on vocals for the 20th studio album of Saga! 20/20 means perfect eye sight and refers to the eye surgery that keyboardist Jim Gilmour had to undergo in the fall of 2011, which turned out successful. In the 90's each new album Saga did would bring in a new sound, a new appro ... (read more)

Report this review (#835624) | Posted by wilmon91 | Tuesday, October 9, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Another cd from Saga with Mr.Sadler! That's great news!? Yes it is great news. The album is really a good solide Saga album. With 6 really good songs,1 good song ,1 ballad, one song Mr Gilmour sing and a bad song! It's like diner for one.......the same structure as every cd Mr Saga yes same stru ... (read more)

Report this review (#794974) | Posted by thuur | Thursday, July 26, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Saga are one of the most frustrating prog bands I've ever listened to. Prolific over the last quarter century, but never creating a quintissential prog piece. Coming close with their eponymous first album, and maybe even "Trust", Saga, shows glimmers of musical genius, but, then, revert back to ... (read more)

Report this review (#786743) | Posted by merid1en | Thursday, July 12, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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