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Styx - Paradise Theatre CD (album) cover

PARADISE THEATRE

Styx

 

Prog Related

2.93 | 172 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This album by my perpetual prog/pop punching bag Styx shifts the band's emphasis even more into the "pop" spectrum, featuring fewer over arranged keyboard sections, less Dennis DeYoung vocals, and even fewer attempts at ambitious composition... it's very ironic then that I feel like this is one of the best albums by the band I've heard. Moving away from the middling prog stylings was a great decision for the band. They didn't have the creative gusto or sound needed for sweeping, artistic prog, so why bother? Paradise Theater is a loosely themed collection of great rock songs which while not prog, are probably the better because of it.

The opener is fun and energetic, and evokes a nostalgic tone with its old-time rock n' roll feel and chorus line over dubs. "Too Much Time on My Hands" is made for FM schlock but is devoid of cartoonish keyboards or DeYoung's whining croon, so it gets a pass in my book. "Nothing Ever Goes as Planned" is a different matter, it's a stylish, quirky, and strutting tune with a smoking horn section. Maybe the highlight of the album?

"Best of Times" is the low point, for prog and pop fans alike. It's basically an imitation of a Queen song with unapalogietically syrupy sweet vocals and emotional hooks that miss the mark. "Lonely People" shows of some interesting song writing, with a dramatic style and instrumental flair. One of the better tracks and probably one of the few that prog fans may be interested in.

"She Cares" is the required Tommy Shaw-led rocker, an upbeat, romantic, and bright song that makes the band end up sounding like Fleetwood Mac. Ironically, this is one of the more genuine and enjoyable songs in the whole album. It's radio-friendly hooks are appealing if harmless and unchallenging. "Snowblind" and "Half-Penny, Two-Penny" close the album on a dark tone, given their vocal content and the intense tone.

In the end there's a lot of variety, and not a lot of progressive ideas in Paradise Theater, and honestly, I think that's a good thing. Styx music generally doesn't work for me and after listening to this album several times I think I know why. Much of their music strives to be something the band just isn't, and by focusing on the rock and fun a stronger record appears. Strange for me to say, on a prog website, but it's the truth, making Paradise Theater a fun diversion now and again.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 2 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |

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