Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
on March 31, 2004
You never do get over your first favorite album. "Paradise Theater" was mine. I was, oh, 11 or so when it came out, and I thought Styx, bangs and jumpsuits and all, were the coolest band ever. I'm pretty sure I bought the album with my own money - a first for me! And oh, did I wear the needle out on this one. Loved every track.
And you know what? Now that I've developed GOOD taste, now that I'm into the 'Mats and Tom Waits and the Lips and god knows what else, now that artsy progressive concept albums aren't even retro-cool anymore...I STILL love "Paradise Theater!" Sure it's pompous, but not nearly as bombastic as other Styx offerings. Most importantly, it ROCKS. Dennis DeYoung finds a new lyrical depth on "Rockin' the Paradise" and "Nothing Ever Goes as Planned," and offers their best ACL ballad, "The Best of Times." Tommy Shaw gives us some fun lyrics over great hooks with "Too Much Time," and JY even has his best moment with "Snowblind." Sure, it's a concept album, but who cares about that when the individual tunes rock this hard, and stand up on their own?
Even the production sounds good. The trendy new-wave production techniques really helped streamline the often blaring vocal triads, and the use of horns on "Lonely People" and "Nothing Ever Goes" is welcome. Dennis and Tommy have never sounded better. Most importantly, everyone sounds like they're having FUN, which is something Styx always struggled with. Despite some notable moments ("Renegade," "Shooz," "Angry Young Man" - all Shaw songs, now that I think about it), Styx always felt more like they were more interested in making art than music. But "Paradise Theater" is infused with the joy of pure rock and roll - despite the heavy-handed concept.
Styx remains one of my guilty pleasures. But I have no guilt over loving "Paradise Theater" - Styx can rock me any day!