Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Styx, Contemporary Youth Orchestra|
One With Everything: Styx & Contemporary Youth Orc
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classical, Classic Rock, Hard Rock & Metal
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Interesting, but for established Styx fans
S. Wright | 12/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'll start with a track by track review, and then my overall thoughts:
1) "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)": A great performance of the Styx classic and one of the best tracks on the album. The extended intro by the orchestra is fantastic and when Gowan's keyboard cuts in, the rockin' begins! The only downside to the track is that some of the backing vocals sometimes get lost in the mix, but it's rare and doesn't spoil much.
2) "One With Everything": Another great performance, and my favorite recordings of the song (not to mention being the only `official' live version). The orchestra and chorus shine in this track, making it more powerful than ever before (and I had seen/heard this performed by the band in person on several occasions).
3) "It Don't Make Sense (You Can't Make Peace)": While this performance outdoes the studio version from Big Bang Theory, it still doesn't have the Styx feeling to it. If JY wanted to include one of his tracks from BBT, I would have preferred `Manic Depression' or `Locomotive Breath.'
4) "I am the Walrus": The orchestral arrangement is not the strongest here, but it does differ enough from the recording found on Big Bang Theory. The version found on BBT is more powerful and enjoyable in the end.
5) "Just Be" [studio version]: An awesome new track from the band with trippy sounds and lyrics. Actually brings Pink Floyd to mind every time I hear it, with those Gilmour-like guitar solos and mellow tone.
6) "Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)": The orchestra does another great intro for this track and Styx delivers a great rendition. Though, aside from the intro, it doesn't seem to feel much different than other non-Dennis DeYoung recordings of the song.
7) "A Criminal Mind": Sounds almost exactly like the recording put out circa 2000 by Styx. No surprises here.
8) "Everything All the Time": The second of two new tracks written and recorded by the band. Unlike `Just Be,' this track is recorded live. Sadly, the lyrics and tone sound interesting, but the mix is a total mess. It's hard to understand what the band in singing and instruments just seem to be all over the place at times. I don't blame this on the performance, but rather the mixing of the track for the album. I look forward to hearing a studio version of the track to have a true feel for what this song is all about and a true basis to compare this live version to.
9) "Too Much Time on My Hands": A Styx staple track performed flawlessly. It sounds very similar to past live releases of the track by the DDY-less Styx.
10) "Crystal Ball": Another awesome performance by the band and orchestra/chorus. This version is second only to the `Return to Paradise' version of the track.
11) "Miss America": The definitive live version of this track has finally arrived! The intro (as presented in the studio recording) is performed by the orchestra to great effect. As usual, JY is on fire when performing this song and comes across ten times more powerful when the chorus starts singing back up!
12) "Boat on the River": One of my least favorite Styx songs, but one can see why the choose to perform it with an orchestra. Overall, I would have to say it is one of the best (if not THE best) live version of the song.
13) "Renegade": One of the greatest Styx songs ever. As usual, it does have that `fun' feeling to it, with band intros and all (though it does seem to take forever for both Styx and the orchestra/chorus to be introduced - even though it is kind of needed). The arrangement by both groups seems a tad off and I didn't really care for the guitar during the song's opening lyrics (it takes away from the effectiveness of the words/drum beats and the `eruption' into the rocker that `Renegade' truly is). Nevertheless, it is a unique recording and something we haven't quite heard yet on a live album.
Overall, this is a good live effort by Styx (and the CYO), but I felt a little disappointed after my first listen through the whole thing. Most of this seems to be due to a very bass-heavy (bass guitar and drums) mix found throughout the entire album. Though, most of the tracks are starting to grow on me as they are presented here. It is a shame that the band didn't decide to include the medley on the CD or have the ability to include any DDY material as performed by Gowan (he rocks on "Grand Illusion").
It's an interesting CD and I recommend picking it up if you're familiar with the band and/or dig the current Styx lineup. If you're just stating to venture into the Styx library, and want a solid live album (despite the actual lineup), I would suggest not starting here ("Return to Paradise" would be the place to begin). Overall: 7.5 out of 10.
Good effort - interesting approach
TBJ | Ohio | 11/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While I find the proliferation of live albums by Styx in recent years a bit tiresome, One With Everything is better than most said albums. The fusion of veteran rockers with enthusiastic teenaged orchestra members is a fresh and interesting approach to the rock band/symphony trend. Just Be was pleasant. Everything All The Time is a terrific rocker - the kind that makes one want to turn his car stereo up really loud. There's enough other new live material to make it a worthwhile addition to any Styx fan's collection. That said, I also find myself wishing they would get away from the live and cover albums and produce a good run of original music."