Styx
Pieces of Eight


5.0
classic

Review

by dlbk03 USER (1 Reviews)
March 8th, 2019 | 17 replies


Release Date: 1978 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Grand Illusion's hotter younger sister

How do you follow up what many consider your career masterpiece" Make a better one, of course! In fact, why not one like this that's one of the most well-made and consistent rock albums ever"

Many people do consider The Grand Illusion as the best thing Styx ever did, and most wouldn't even rate that album above a 4 on this site. Furthermore, most people see Styx as a band that never amounted to anything better than being a synthy rock band with a couple hits here and there. All of that is very disappointing to me. A band as special as Styx deserves much better.

I think Styx is a particularly special band just for the sheer amount of great music they put out between 1975 and 1982. The first album by them I truly loved was Equinox, but after listening to the other five of the era before Dennis DeYoung ruined everything, I thought to myself "Goddamn, what an amazing band!" Even their first four have good bits and pieces here and there, and Cornerstone is alright too.

Now, to actually talk about the album, the theme of the album is the love of money. This is especially covered on Blue Collar Man, Queen of Spades, and the title track. I don't really consider it a concept album, but more like a batch of loosely related songs. It's amazing nonetheless.

The album has a great flow to it as well as the aforementioned consistent theme. Great White Hope is a kickass opener and has a galloping rhythm that really keeps it rockin' and rollin'. I'm OK keeps the ball rolling as a synth-laced mid-tempo number. It then slows down a bit with Sing For the Day, which isn't quite as strong as the previous two but it still fits the album. It's pretty rare for a band to have three very talented singers and songwriters that actively hold their own as well as contribute, and that really shows here. (My favorite vocalist of Styx is JY, more on that later.) You are then awakened from the trance that song may have put you in with the screeching halt of The Message, a prelude to Lord of the Ring, a grandiose end to the first side of the album.

This is where things really get good. Side 2 opens up with Blue Collar Man, a rock-solid, determined mid-tempo rocker about not taking any *** from life, where Tommy sings "Give me a job, give me security, make me a respectable man...This is my last time in the unemployment line, so like it or not, I'll take those long nights!" To cement how friggin good these lyrics are, he also sings "My mother and father, wife and my friends, I see them laugh in my face, but I got the power, I got the will, I'm not a charity case!" Those aren't lyrics you just sit down and write one day; those come from the heart. They're so good.

Then we have what I firmly believe is the best Styx song, Queen of Spades, and good god damn this is an underappreciated song. The buildup to the choruses is insane. I find myself turning up the volume every time Dennis says "She's there, there, there, there, theeeeere!" before the first chorus. And my god, that guitar solo! Wow! Really, everyone shines here. Best Styx song, no question.

We then come to the often-said centerpiece of the album, Renegade, which is the first Styx song I truly loved and also one of my favorites. I understand the love for this song around the world. It has a groove like no other and JY's guitar chops are insane. I also love when Dennis screams "yeah!" in the background before the first chorus. There's so much done right about this song. A rightful classic. The album then closes with the title track and the gentle instrumental closer, Aku-Aku, both of which finish the album in a good, smooth fashion.

I particularly like the lines from the title track "I hurry through my life, never stopping to see how beautiful it was meant to be; I'm just a prisoner in a king's disguise," and later, "Don't cash your freedoms in for gold." I don't think any song has ever conveyed the sad situation that a high-paying job puts many in, that being the cruel irony of throwing away much of your life to try and achieve a better one through money. That's really an ignored problem in today's world, and the song is truly timeless for touching on it.

Thus ends one of the best rock albums ever made. I would swap Renegade and Queen of Spades around in the track listing, but otherwise, this album has a really nice flow to it and is an exhilarating listen. Oh yeah, it's also nearly perfect.

Don't sleep on these guys. If you skip over these albums, you miss out on some of the best music from the progressive rock and AOR-pop junction, and really just all American music in general. This makes Paradise Theatre look like child's play.


user ratings (104)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
facupm
March 8th 2019


11368 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

goooooooooooood

e210013
March 8th 2019


2205 Comments


I didn't know that there wasn't a review of this album till now. Nice review pal, especially when I think this was your debut.

It's nice to see some love for this band, especially for this album. I don't really know what is Styx best album, really. Maybe it can be "The Grand Illusion", maybe. But what I really know is that "Pieces Of Eight" always had, and still has, a very special place into my heart. Besides, Styx is one of my favourite American prog bands of the 70's. They made some very good albums in their golden era.

So, pos. And above all, welcome to Sputnik and to the world of the Sputnik reviewers.

Jethro42
March 8th 2019


15634 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Band offered big amount of hits in the 70s. The album i've listened to the most and liked a lot is Equinox. I think it's the most consistent. Good first review, dude. Welcome to the site.



MrSirLordGentleman
March 8th 2019


12359 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This really needed a review, not sure if a 5.0 one, but it was needed



Great album

Divaman
March 8th 2019


3364 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I would have never guessed that this didn't have a review before now. Well done.

Digging: Zen Paradox - Illogical Organism

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 8th 2019


29831 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

This definitely used to have a review because Lakes reviewed the entire Styx discog back in 2010. Not sure what happened to them.



Anyway, Styx was one of the first bands I ever got into and they'll always hold a special place in my heart. This was always my favorite of theirs. Everyone knows Renegade but Queen of Spades is such an underrated song.

Divaman
March 8th 2019


3364 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I actually forgot how much I love "Sing for the Day" until I saw Dennis DeYoung in concert last December. And he didn't even perform the whole song then, just a snippet of it.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2019


11542 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Styx was never my thing but your ratings make me want to jam this one in case I'm missing something.

Digging: Praying Mantis - Forever in Time

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 8th 2019


29831 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

they're cheesy as hell but in the good, 70s theater-rock kinda way

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 8th 2019


8849 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Arguably the pinnacle of over-dramatic, theatrical escapades. Like Kansas but without an ounce of restraint.



Grand Illusion is indeed the best but their run from Equinox -> Paradise Theater ain't too shabby.

Digging: Ni - Pantophobie

wham49
March 8th 2019


4503 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

def. not a 5, but has its place, everybody digs this at some point in their life

Digging: Grateful Dead - Cornell 5/8/77

MrSirLordGentleman
March 8th 2019


12359 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Like Kansas but without an ounce of restraint."



Kansas>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Styx tho

Jethro42
March 8th 2019


15634 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Kansas are way deeper, and Styx are more like hit makers.

e210013
March 9th 2019


2205 Comments


I agree.

MrSirLordGentleman
March 9th 2019


12359 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The organ riff on Blue Collar Man is so catchy

Jethro42
March 9th 2019


15634 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

''I'm Ok'', ''Sing For the Day'', ''Blue Collar Man'' and ''Renegade'' all had lots of airplay in our classic rock station, back in the day.

Divaman
March 9th 2019


3364 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Mine too.



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