Styx/Paradise Theatre

Paradise Theatre was a concept album released by Styx in 1981. The entire release is a fictional account of the famed Paradise Theatre, from opening to closing and eventual abandonment. The release is more a metaphor for the changing times and decade. This release spawned 3 Top Twenty Singles, and marked the 3rd consecutive Styx release to sell over 3 million copies. It was also the sole #1 album in the US for the band.

A.D. 1928—-Named for the year the Theatre opened, I prefer not to concentrate on the concept but rather the record as a whole….the song begins with the prevailing melody and refrains that will come in and out of the record as it progresses. the vocal is absolute and wonderful as always…Dennis could sing like an angel and it is masterfully displayed here. the classic Styx sound is all over the song…the prog-rock leanings, the 70’s style soft appeal…this is wonderful.

Rockin’ The Paradise—–The song is full of everything that made this band huge in the 70’s…there are great chord changes, the voice is crystal clear and soars with little effort. The entire song is on the edge of epic..this is grand posturing at it’s best…you must revisit this…classic late 70’s rock!!! When the voices come together for the chorus, you are in heavy…when the piano takes on a bluesy bar room jazz feel. you realize the band has grown even more.

Too Much Time On My Hands—-A huge hit for the band, you can hear the warning refrains of the follow-up record Mr. Roboto. Despite that. the vocal is nice…the guitar rises above the synth to give the song its classic Styx sound. The song is a fun romp, something you put on randomly and realize you still know all the words…how can this be!!!

Nothing Ever Goes As Planned—-Taking on a more familiar sound, the vocal reverts back to Dennis and the guitar delivery is soaked in a Chicago Blues. The sound of the track is light nd fun and something that every one listening can relate to. This is nice after all the circumstance of the earlier tracks….a favorite of mine from this release.

The Best Of Times—-A huge, huge, huge song for the band. This sat very well at the #1 spot in 1981…..piano driven and wonderfully full of emotion, the vocal histrionics on this track are classic…even thoough you get a few vocal ministrations that are synthesized. The song could be played right now and still be pertinent….this is a here and now song. When the voices all come together at the chorus…it is a rare glimpse into the genius f the band…this is remarkable.

Lonely People—-With raining pouring from the sky and a lonely sax in the backdrop, the Chicago scene has been set…the song begins in a nice tone and continues with a slight blues feel that is a little too theatrical for my taste. This is like something right off of the Broadway stage…even with the whole band joining in….not a high point in my mind.

She Cares—-Musically, the song is pleasant enough….the vocal falls very flat for me…you can’t deny the damn melodic qualities of the song though. The piano line is great and the voice, although not stretching does have a great grasp on changing tone and going with the melody of the song. This will grow on you….I guarntee it.

Snowblind—-This is rumored to be a huge anti-drug song…too me. it just speaks of addiction in a really powerful way. the vocal manipulations will remind you of OZZY…I SWEAR TO GOD!!! The song rocks like classic Styx…like nothing else on this release…this is back to the Grand Illusion days and it is masterful. Fantastic 70’s style rock that will never let you down.

Half-Penny—-Rocking like classic Doobie Bros., the vocal is not at all what you would expect…sounding to me like something out of Jesus Christ Superstar!!! This is weak and lack-luster…even though the blend of voices on the chorus is damn fine, it is too theatrical and pompous for me.

A.D. 1958—-I would assume this is pertinent, but my research does not go that far….of course, the song falls back into the familiar refrain as it started…this must be the demise of the famed Theatre. The vocal of Dennis is incredible…so clear and unadulterated…at this point though the album has taken so many twist and turns is loses the cohesiveness of a concept.

State St. Sadie—-An odd little ‘outro’ that last 28 seconds….whatever!!!

*** out of 5


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