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Styx - The Grand Illusion CD (album) cover




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3.72 | 257 ratings

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3 stars Contrary to much 1970s AOR, Styx music actually stands up pretty well after all these decades. While 30 years have helped put the "Grand Illusion" into perspective - this isn't and wasn't earth shattering - it nonetheless represents Styx at the pinnacle of their achievements. They have figured out how to juxtapose the ballads and rockers, as well as how to combine the two approaches effectively within tracks, such as the brilliant "Come Sail Away" featuring De Young's top vocal performance and a campy space-alien theme. It's done very tongue in cheek yet without insulting its audience. "Far Beyond these Castle Walls" is another winner that synthesizes the lite-prog direction they had been heading, fused with a sense of mystery. Others may not have aged as well, like the overly earnest Fooling Yourself, but even it does not sound bad, just a bit tired. They had not abandoned a penchant for really angry rock like "Miss America", while "Man in the Wilderness" again demonstrates the yin and might argue with the proportions of each but Styx clearly understood this dichotomy and executed it with panache and with nary a trace of Queen's arrogance. The reality is that "The Grand Illusion" was a pretty good representative of the Styx sound, and, for most on this site, all you need from them.
kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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