Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Styx - Paradise Theater (1981)

Note: this release was originally purchased as a cassette tape, later replaced by a CD.

It's bad. Really bad. And yet, I know all the words and can vocalize all the guitar solos. I'd like to call it a guilty pleasure, but I don't get as much pleasure from it now as I did in '81. However, it fills a niche when I'm feeling nostalgic for that time. This was a loose concept album that marked the beginning of the end for the band. I could easily group Styx with other bands of the time that tried to combine elements of AOR and prog rock (Kansas, Journey, REO Speedwagon), but they stand out to me for two reasons: first, Tommy Shaw is hella guitar player and second, Dennis DeYoung has one of the best AOR voices ever, rivaling Survivor's Dave Bickler. I probably would have remained a fan if I hadn't become more interested in New Wave music and Styx hadn't released the infamous Kilroy Was Here. I probably should have opted for a greatest hits package instead of this CD, but I don't think that would have been as much fun to listen to as I reminisce.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #1 (3 weeks between April 4 - May 9, 1981)
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #1 (1 week)

Tracks: I have to admit to still liking Rockin' The Paradise and Too Much Time On My Hands. Nothing Ever Goes As Planned reminds me of Foreigner, just like She Cares sounds like a Jackson Browne song. The Best Of Times, a huge hit, is now almost unbearable now as is Lonely People. Half-Penny Two-Penny would be forgettable if it weren't for a great guitar solo.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: This music reminds me of my freshman year in high school when it may have been one of my most-listened-to albums. If you had asked me in the spring of 1981 who my favorite group was, I probably would have answered Styx. I remember staying up late one night so I could listen to a radio special about this album on Westwood One or some syndicated network like that. I really need to be wearing a baseball jersey concert shirt while I write this.


  1. This was not bad. It was Styx at the top of their game. I don't understand how people can like something so much at one time in their lives and then turn away and call it trash later in life. Something hooked you at one time. They may not be Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, but they reached millions of fans and in fact still do in 2011 with 2 different Styx bands. The Paradise Theater tour was the largest in history at the time and Styx, the most popular band in America.

  2. There was a time when Styx could do no wrong, of course Killroy changed all that. But this we a pinnacle album and the Tour that they embarked for it was the time to see them. It encompassed all the hits from the previous albums making this tour like a greatest hits tour. That what everyone wants at a concert. “NO NEW STUFF” however, the new stuff rocked also. Killroy took the “concept” ideal to their death. But they were on top of the world at this time. I went to that concert, I had that very shirt. I would ware it again…..if I could find it and if it was XXL now.