The Best Of Styx: The Millennium Collection, by Styx
As is the case with many legacy rock & roll acts who first became big in the 1970’s or 1980’s, Styx has a lot of best of compilations, and I chose to listen to three of them as a way of determining what they had to say about Styx’s body of work. This particular collection is a glossy one that comes from A&M and provides 11 songs from the group from the period between 1976 and 1990. This was the peak commercial period of the group and so it makes sense that it would contain quite a few enjoyable songs. And I have to say, at least as a listener, that this album was an enjoyable one to listen to even if it is more than a bit short, and I can also say that it at least tries to balance the material included between Dennis DeYoung and Tommy Shaw as songwriters and singers, and that is something that can be appreciated. If this disk does not include everything that I would want to hear from the group (more on that later), it does at least include music that fans of the group will be very likely to appreciate and that casuals will be able to enjoy as well.
This particular cd includes 11 songs from the Styx albums Equinox, Crystal Ball, THe Grand Illusion, Pieces Of Eight, Cornerstone, Paradise Theatre, Kilroy Was Here, and Edge Of The Century. Included are all but one of the top tens that the band had during this period. Of the songs included, ten of them hit the top 40 and one of the songs, “Boat On The River,” from 1980’s Cornerstone, missed the Hot 100 altogether, although it had been released as a single. It is an okay song, certainly enjoyable. Included are “Too Much Time On My Hands,” “Come Sail Away,” “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights),” “Lorelei,” “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man),” “Mr. Roboto,” “The Best Of Times,” “Mademoiselle,” “Babe,” and “Show Me The Way.” The quality of the recordings is excellent and the songs included are top notch as well, dealing mostly with one of two concerns–love and personal relationships, or a blue-collar political worldview that has a high degree of fondness for the common person trying to make a living and with an ambivalent view towards society and government as a whole. The combination of the artistic ambition and deeply interesting themes helps make this an enjoyable compilation.
Of course, in looking at a collection like this what is not present is sometimes as important as what is. The cd does not include Lady or any of the songs, in fact, that were included in the Best of collection that was released in 1977 by Wooden Nickel, the band’s previous label. Even among the songs that the band did release on A&M, though, this album could have been more complete. I would have preferred the addition of “Renegade” and “Sing For The Day” from Pieces of Eight, “Why Me” from Cornerstone, “Nothing Ever Goes As Planned” from Paridise Theatre, “Don’t Let It End,” from Kilroy Was Here, “Music Time” from Caught In The Act, and “Love At First Sight” from Edge Of The Century. This would have made for a somewhat longer album of about an hour in length, but it would have been a more complete selection of the band’s biggest hits and that is always appealing to me personally. Even so, what is included is certainly great work that is easy to sing along to and enjoy so what is included is well worth appreciating and this makes for an acceptable one-disk retrospective even if one wishes there was more.