Styx & The Contemporary Youth Orchestra
One With Everything
New Door Records
Good music goes through geological phases. It begins as hot glowing magma, with songs loud and raucous and annoying to the older generation. Then it cools down, weathers a bit and grows some moss. Here it looks interesting, but not everyone will take the time to go look at it. Eventually one of two things happens. It either ends up in the K-Tel geology museum display case, or it becomes such a fundamental part of the geological plate we stand upon. At this point, it draws that older money-ed crowd who now dresses up and listens politely in the concert hall.
Styx is heading down that last route, and in this one night stand with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra they show that a nicely arranged “Blue Collar Man” or “Too Much Time On My Hands” can easily stand up next to anyone’s “Symphony Number Whatever in D Minor.” There’s a smoothing of the rough edges, a general attention to making notes what they ought to be, and a postponement of the narcotics until after the show, and the result is a happy one. I’ve listened to this disc about 5 times — in the car, at work and once or twice purposely to write about it, and each time I’ve found something new and interesting. At first, I thought this was just some stadium rock bombast, but Tommy Shaw’s material does grow on you. While furs and cubic zirconia might not be appropriate yet, I can see a concert at Lincoln center in 2112 featuring Bach, Styx, Iggy Pop and the Ramones. I’ll see you there.