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Asia - Alpha CD (album) cover




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2.79 | 296 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars The first, the second, and the last (in a way)

Alpha is the name of the first letter of the Greek alphabet (and has, of course, given its name to the very alphabet itself). But despite what is implied by this title of this album, Alpha was not Asia's first album, but their second. It was also the last to feature the four original members (until the reunion in the new millennium).

One problem I had with the band's self-titled debut album was that its nine songs were too similar to each other having the result that there was very little variation on that album. Alpha is much better in that respect and benefits greatly from having more variation with more different types of songs. However, the opening Don't Cry is possibly the band's worst song ever! The lyrics are especially unimaginative and extremely cheesy; 'Dont cry now that I've found you, Don't cry take a look around you, Don't cry it took so long to find you, Do what you want, but little darling please dont cry' Yuck! But, as I said earlier, it gets better. As a side note: the recent live DVD Fantasia - Live In Tokyo features a different version of this song that I think is much better than this original version.

The Smile Has Left Your Eyes is an example one type of song that I felt was missing on the debut. Again, the lyrics are rather syrupy and cheesy, but it is a nice ballad anyway that lends diversity to the album.

The rest of the album is indeed very good and among Asia's better material, at least by this line up of the band. The Heat Goes On features a very nice organ solo by Geoff Downes and Open Your Eyes, the album's longest track, is possibly also the most progressive one. All this amounts to making Alpha possibly my favourite Asia studio album despite some rather cheesy passages.

Asia seems to be a much hated band among some Prog fans, but Alpha is not at all as bad as these people say, but it is also far from excellent. Once again there is a beautiful cover art by the great Roger Dean who seems to have adopted his style to the 80's just as well as the involved musicians did.

Recommended for people who do not mind the 80's sound and can accept some commercial aspects in Prog.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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