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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!
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on January 20, 2002
Paradise Theater is a work of art, a labor of love, from vocalist, keyboardist, Dennis Deyoung. From the opening piano note, of A.D. 1928, to the closing note of A.D. 1958, Pardise will hold you in awe. Not since the Grand Illusion, has STYX made an album this good.
It all starts with A.D. 1928, witch goes into Rockin the Paradise, and that is what this cd does, ROCKS. It's not the heavy metal, of Grand Illusion, or the hard rock of Peices of Eight, but it comes over strong, even on the slow songs. With the fist pumping anthems of Rockin the Paradise, a song about America needing to stand up and be counted, to Half Penny; Two Penny, which deals with the decay of the American dream. The Best of Times, which starts out like A.D. 1928, and the disco-rock flavored Too Much Time on my Hands, have sing-a-long chourses, that has you humming along them all day. Snowblind, a rock radio classic, written by Dennis and JY, and sung by JY and Tommy, is a good song about drug abuse, and JY's singing on the beginning of it, is very haunting. The lesser known songs on this disk, Nothing Ever Goes as Planned, and She Cares, are both very good, and deserve repeated listenings, as does this whole cd.
This is the last "true" Styx classic, with the line up of Dennis, Tommy, JY, John, and Chuck. There would be other STYX cds with this line-up, and different line-ups, but no other cd this great, has come out since. GRADE A
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on November 28, 1999
If you are looking for a little bit of everything from Styx, this is it. From Snowblind to Best of Times, there's a good mix. Unfortunately, it IS just a taste of the different styles so if you are into a mood album, this might not be the right one. Still, it's classic Styx with a good concept. Someting that I would definitely take to a desert island.
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on December 3, 2003
"Paradise Theater" is, unfortunately, one of the few Styx albums that a majority of critics and musical historians will give a positive mention. It marked both the height of the band's creativity, and a time when their musical stance was as follows: an arena "corporate rock" group (that is, a band that fans love but critics hate) that managed to touch prog/art-rock themes without crossing the border into full-blown theatrics. And sure enough that stance would change when Styx released their next album, the brilliant but much-abhored "Kilroy Was Here," which found them staring into the barrels of critics who deemed their bloated use of the concept album "absurd."
Using the neglect and eventual destruction of Chicago's "Paradise Theater" as its extended metaphor, Dennis DeYoung and crew offer a solid portrait of the decline of American values, with a longing for better days (the enduring ballad 'The Best Of Times,' 'A.D. 1928'), placed in perfect tune with more blistering songs like 'Rocking the Paradise' and 'Snowblind.' The biggest hit from "Paradise Theater," guitarist Tommy Shaw's 'Too Much Time On My Hands,' can be seen as the anthem for aimless, unfocused teenagers.
All told, "Paradise Theater" is the Styx album that new fans should hear first. It boasts all of the ingridients that make Styx such a truly unique band to this day--pompous stadium-filling rock matched with artsy conceptual theatrics.
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on May 6, 2016
Had this cassette back in 1981, wore it out. Bought now with vinyl popularity back. Very cool STYX laser etching on side 2, band sounds great. Everyone gets a chance at lead vocals, and harmonizing beautifully. Nice mix of different music styles, horns, guitars, piano, organ. No wonder it sold so many copies. Lots of hits.
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on February 23, 2015
I can't believe it took me about three decades to finally purchase this album. For the longest time I considered it the best album I didn't own, at least based on my tastes. Who knows if that's really true or not. I'm sure there are tons of albums I'd love if I heard them, but for the sake of this review it phrase works well. My Dad owned this album when we were kids and, well, it was the kids who destroyed it by playing it non-stop. :)
The songs work well together. They do tell a story. And even the songs you haven't heard on the radio, you'll probably enjoy. If you like Styx, you are going to like this album. I do. The only problem I have now is figuring out a new favorite album I don't own. Maybe I should check the Harry Chapin collection for that.
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on May 16, 2016
I have it on a LP and I have always loved it and wanted to listen to it without dragging the turn table out of storage, and it was so cheap, so I
thought why not buy it this way so I could enjoy it again. at 67 years old it's a good way to remember younger days.
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on October 8, 2015
This is the very first album of Styx that I first owned in the early 80s. This was the one that made me a huge fan of the band. I've since moved on to new bands and other genres of musical taste, but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for this band and this album. When I listen to this album, it brings back the fondest of memories!
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on October 18, 2014
Paradise Theatre was just a great album by Styx, and came along while they were still reeling from all the previous success's they had from their prior albums. A lot of great tunes are on this album. If your a true Styx fan and don't own this, shame on you. BUY IT.
It's a great piece of work. And when you buy this, buy RETURN TO PARADISE DVD. You'll love it too. They were at the top of their game with all but the drummer present, who had just recently passed. But all the original lineup was there.
Paradise Theatre. OWN it TODAY. Great album..
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on February 19, 2014
I consider this their best single album. Even the songs that were not played on the radio are very good with an excellent polish. This ranks up there with rest of the Great Theme albums. I think this is the direction they should have continued on. The music is upbeat, good lyrics, and great musicianship. Dennis DeYoung really has a good voice here.
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