One With Everything: Styx & The Contemporary Youth Orchestra

Styx

Frontier, 2006

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/13/2006

Carnac the Magnificent: Not much.

Ed McMahon: Not much?

*rips open envelope*

Carnac: What is a live Styx album worth these days?

Okay, before the flames reach my inbox, let me be perfectly clear: I do like Styx.  But this is an awful album.

First and foremost, in the ultimate sign of revisionist band history, not a single song on this compilation was written by Dennis DeYoung. Whatever the current members may think about him, for God’s sake he was an integral part of the band’s commercial success, but you won't find tunes like “Lady,” “Come Sail Away,” “Babe,” or “Mr. Roboto” here.bim_ad_daily_vault_print_250

I’m sure the band has a reason for their actions, probably something along the lines of “His songs didn’t fit the creative vision for this album.” To that I would say bullshit. It seems the hip thing these days to release an album backed by an orchestra, but some bands simply don’t need it. Styx is one of these groups. Sure, they were over the top, pompous and all that, but if you listen to their albums do they cry to be backed by a full orchestra? They were bombastic enough as is.

So, One With Everything doesn’t include key pieces of the band’s catalog, and quite frankly doesn’t have a good reason to exist. What is there left to like?

Styx is a touring band now and certainly not a creative entity. In this sense the performances on One With Everything are quite well executed and professional, but lacking in energy. Part of this has to do with the orchestra; it’s much more difficult to let it rip when everything’s choreographed, so to speak. “Renegade” and “Blue Collar Man” are actually worse because of the orchestra.

This is not the fault of the Contemporary Youth Orchestra, which performs as well as anyone else. The few moments when the material is suited to their involvement (“A Criminal Mind”) demonstrate the benefits of a partnership like this. The fault is in the material and the idea, not the performers.

Styx did not need to release this album. It serves no purpose -- this is not going to be the end-all be-all for Styx live records, and for those looking for an album of this type there are plenty others worth your time. I’m afraid this is just a case of putting out more product for the sake of putting out more product.

Rating: D

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© 2006 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Frontier, and is used for informational purposes only.