on July 29, 2002
The extent to which you like this album will depend upon how much you like John Elefante. I say that because, for all intents and purposes, this is essentially a John Elefante solo project. I like the solo work that John Elefante has delivered in the Christian music scene, so I have no problem with this album. However, I will stress that people looking for that "classic Kansas sound" that we all know and love (e.g., "Song for America", "Leftoverture", "Point of Know Return", "Monolith", "Audio Visions", and "Vinyl Confessions"), may want to pass on this album.
on July 24, 2004
A lot of Kansas fans were turned off after Kansas began changing their sound when the 1980s rolled in. More lost interest after John Elefante took over the vocals and much of the songwriting after Steve Walsh left the band (to me, Elefante sounds so much like Walsh, I did not even realize it was a different vocalist at first). Sure, Kansas did not sound like the progressive giants of the 1970s with their 10-minute anthems. Their music in the 1980s was more radio-friendly (i.e. "Play the Game Tonight"). Still, I think this era of Kansas (although different) is excellent in it own right and I think some of their best material is found on the albums Audio-Visions through Steve Walsh's comeback Power. Fans who passed on Drastic Measures missed out on some killer tracks.
"Fight Fire With Fire" is the only song off this album that I find on Kansas Greatest Hits compilations. I like it very much, especially the keyboard opening and Elefante's vocals. It is not the best track on this album, however. The best is definitely "Going Through the Motions." I would put this track on any Kansas compilation. It is amazing! The vocals, keyboards, and drums all kick butt, especially at the chorus! When I first heard it, I was blown away! I think even fans of early Kansas will find something to like on that track; the haunting, yet powerful keyboard opening perhaps. Another track that really rocks is "Mainstream" (penned by Kerry Livgren). "Andi" has a sweet charm about it. It is about a young girl who wants to be a lady but hasn't quite blossomed into womanhood yet (either that, or a transexual woman trapped in a boy's body, but that is just my second guess). It is a nice ballad either way. "Get Rich" is very catchy, especially the piano and vocals during the verses. "Everybody' My Friend" is OK, not spectacular. The only tracks I don't care for are "Incident on a Bridge" and the cheesy "Don't Take your Love Away" (written by Livgren and the Elefantes respectively). They both have a gospel sound to them that I do not care for. If you are interested in giving this album a try, I highly recommend it. "Going Through the Motions" alone is worth the price!
on July 4, 2004
I've always felt that Drastic Measures was for Kansas what 90125 was for Yes, an album of great songs but very different from the sound established by earlier recordings.
Most noticable is the lack of violin, which is a shame, and the higher percentage of pop/rock melodic tracks. Compared with earlier Kansas albums Drastic Measures is less experimental and progressive; compared to AOR/rock albums of the time the album is a breath of fresh air.
Looking at the Kansas back-catalogue from 2004 this album seems to me less of an "odd one out" that some of the reviews here suggest, rather a stepping stone to "Power", "In the Spirit" and "Freaks".
The current line-up of Kansas still perform "Fight fire with Fire" but I would love to see them do some of the other songs: the lyrics of Mainstream are more true today than ever and some would be transfored with the violin (but then also I would love to see Kansas tour the UK).
Finally, I think some of the reviewers have missed the humour in the cover and some of the lyrics (like "Everybody's My Friend" and "Mainstream").
A great album that you can play from end-to-end.
on July 6, 2005
Okay, Kansas fans might wanna skin me alive...oh well. I only knew of Kansas because I heard John Elefante (I knew of him through Mastedon, Petra) had sung with these guys. After thoroughly enjoying the Mastedon albums the Elefante bros. did I wanted more. Sooooo I decided to check out his work with Kansas.
I will admit this...I had to listen to Drastic Measures quite a few times before I liked it fully. Of course 'Fight Fire With Fire' hit off with me immediately, why not, its an excellent rocker. 'Mainstream' and 'Going Through The Motions' are excellent pieces as well, catchy, driving, even a teensy bit moody/haunting. 'Get Rich' is okay, if stuck in my head it will drive me insane. Okay, there's some cheesier pieces too...'Everybody's My Friend' took a little while to warm up to, if any track sounds dated on here its that one. 'Don't Take Your Love Away' also threw me a few times, it sounded horribly contrived. However, with frequent listens I grew to appreciate both tracks much more.
I hated 'Andi' at first and skipped it every time...to hear John Elefante singing about a tomboy who hasn't matured to womanhood just struck me as, well, weird (not that I'm making fun of the subject matter tho). After finally making myself play it, I grew to realize its not that bad. Hmmm, then there's the tracks 'End Of The Age' and 'Incident On The Bridge'...they sound relatively different to the rest of the album, less of an AOR sound and more...? I can't come up with the right word. These too had to cycle a couple of spins before I came to like them. (I went through all these tracks in my own order, not as they appear on DM.)
I will admit, Elefante is still a tad green here, yes. But you can hear little tidbits of the sound on the Mastedon albums that would come less than a decade later.
To sum it all up, Drastic Measures may have gotten a tad overplayed when I got it, I wouldn't rank it as an all-time favorite. However, I think its one of the best AOR/rock albums I've ever heard. The fact that I admire John Elefante not only for his vocal work but song-writing talents plays a big part. I guess like another viewer said, your liking of him is dependent on whether you'll like Drastic Measures or not. But seeing how I DO, it was a no brainer I'd be all over this one. That's why the Kansas fans will want to skin me...I like the one album they all seem to despise and have little or no familiarity with their more progressive work before DM.
Oh well, I said all that to say this...Drastic Measures is an excellent AOR rock album. Highly recommended.
on March 25, 2003
I understand why old-time Kansas fans had a problem with this album when it came out, but for me--someone who grew up in the 1980s loving melodic rock--this album hits the spot. While it is certainly a change in direction from the more progressive style of Kansas, it is still a good musical album.
Highlights include the classic, rocking lead track "Fight Fire With Fire", the epic closer "Incident On A Bridge", and the pretty, anthemic, and touching "Don't Take Your Love Away". "Everybody's My Friend" also has strong melodies and for some reason reminds me a bit of late '70s Cheap Trick with the vocal delivery. "Mainstream" is also a fine track, although its lyrics are ironic, for sure, considering the musical direction of this album.
Whether or not you like this album depends upon your perspective. For me, a moderate Kansas fan but a big '80s melodic rock fan, this album is very good. Even with much of the original lineup gone, this album is still worth a listen. Whether or not it should be called a Kansas album is a whole other story.
on February 27, 2016
This cd surprised me. It's Kansas, but in a more commercial rock way. More guitar work, less keyboard and violin. I really enjoyed listening to it straight through. Next to Power and Freaks of Nature, this is my favorite.
on May 21, 1999
Slapped together while the band was breaking up, DRASTIC MEASURES pretty much deserves the scorn it gets from Kansas fans and the utter lack of attention from everyone else. John Elefante has said that the album was pretty much an Elefante Brothers album with the Kansas name on it, as they were the only ones working on it full time, and for the most part it really doesn't fit in with the classic Kansas sound.
Having said all that, there's no doubt that the album's hit single "Fight Fire With Fire" deserves its place on THE BEST OF KANSAS, although it seems oddly out of place here, and the band performs this song to this day in their live shows. I've given DRASTIC MEASURES a number of chances but still find almost all of it very forgettable with the exception of "Andi," a terrific John Elefante pop song that suffers only from not sounding anything like Kansas (except for Rich Williams' power chords).
Recommended only for Kansas fanatics and the musically curious.
on September 4, 2004
Let's get this straight up front...this is not a bad album. It's actually fairly good. But the distinctives that make a Kansas album a Kansas album are mostly AWOL here. With DRASTIC MEASURES, Kansas continued to move from being America's finest prog-rock band to being just another highly competent, melodic Album Oriented Rock (AOR) Band in the mold of Boston, Toto, Styx, Foreigner, or Journey. This album sounds great...crisp, loud, and flashy. But overall, it seems to be missing some of the soul, wit, and daring of Kansas' best work. (Not to mention beloved violinist/vocalist Robby Steinhardt.) DRASTIC MEASURES is also maddeningly inconsistent. Obviously, CBS was putting huge pressure on Kansas to "stay inside the mainstream" in order to achieve greater pop chart success; the irony is, the album flopped commercially. Many Kansas fans still haven't heard it, which is a shame; it has some superb moments. The opening track is killer..."Fight Fire With Fire" has some great, heavy riffing, tough-guy lyrics, and Elefante howling like a banshee. It doesn't really sound like Kansas, but it's a great track...as has been noted, sort of like Yes doing "Owner of a Lonely Heart." The second track, "Everybody's My Friend" is fairly light pop, and got some radio airplay. Kerry Livgren steps up to bat on "Mainstream," one of only three tracks that he wrote for the CD...and it's a real powerhouse. It rocks and rolls and growls and has genuine bite. This track is closer in spirit to classic Kansas, though it is a bit more "tech-y" and edgy. As on all tracks here, Phil Ehart's cyclonic drumming is right at the forefront soundwise, and it gives the CD an added kick. The next song, "Andi", is again light pop, and somewhat offbeat lyrically. Thankfully, Elefante & Co. knock it out of the park on the next track, the brooding, intense "Going Through the Motions." Without question, it's one of the best songs Kansas did during the entire decade of the 80s...compelling, rocking, complex, bold...it's a tour de force sonically. "Get Rich Now", however, is not as strong lyrically or musically. Elefante contributes another love song, "Don't Ever Take Your Love Away," which is a very good pop song, and even has some nice time changes and the usual stellar musicianship. Kerry Livgren steps back into the picture for the final two tracks. "End of the Age" is apocalyptically heavy, lyrically and musically. Some smoking guitars and Elefante's bluesy shouting are accented by skittering keyboards; the song has an urgency and passion that makes it indispensible. The closing song, "Incident on a Bridge," is a melodic masterpiece--it's pop, but it's painted on a recognizably Kansan canvas. Again, Elefante's vocals are topnotch here, and keyboards propel the inspiring storyline. Had Kansas continued in the direction charted by the best tracks on DRASTIC MEASURES, they could have achieved some amazing heights in the 80s. As it was, this proved to be the end of the Elefante age with the band. He went on to great success as a producer and songwriter and has released some superb solo albums...definitely check out his work. Livgren and Hope formed the band A.D., which released four outstanding albums before calling it a day in the early 1990s. Of course, the Kansas story was a long way from being over...Ehart and Williams were the keepers of the flame, and they were re-joined in 1986 by Steve Walsh and two new cohorts for a brand-new album. But, that's another story for another time.
on September 7, 2005
I think this might have been a better album if Kerry Livgren would have got more involved in the writing for this album. He only wrote or co-wrote three songs on this, which is quite different from earlier in his career with the band. But I have to say that those three that he penned are my favorites on this mediocre offering by KANSAS. Unlike one of your earlier reviewers, I don't really like the track "Going through the motions" too much. The Livgren tunes "Incident on a bridge", "End of the age", and "Mainstream", stand out as the best for me. "Andi" is a touching song, but isn't anywhere near the great stuff on POINT OF KNOW RETURN, but I don't think they were after the sound of POINT OF KNOW RETURN. "Incident" was a very fine and moving end to that phase of KANSAS. I know a lot of people liked the song "Fight fire with fire", but I've grown really tired of that song. But this does have enough good songs that I would recommend this album.
KANSAS' DRASTIC MEASURES is a prime example of style over substance. While technically proficient, the songs for the most part are curiously empty and easy to forget. MEASURES also doesn't really seem like Kansas. Branching out is not unusual or detrimental but losing your core identity can be risky.
New frontman John Elefante obviously dominates MEASURES, both as lead vocalist and composer. Although Kansas vet Kerry Livgren shows up, none of his earlier influence is evident. FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE is the best song and a passionate reminder of how good Kansas could be. ANDI is a pleasant change of pace but ultimately nothing special. The remaining tracks seem like fillers on albums by Journey or Foreigner.
DRASTIC MEASURES won't stand as a crowning moment for Kansas, but it shouldn't diminish their status as a great force in progressive rock history.