pieces of 8Last week, we covered Styx’s first hit record in The Grand Illusion for the album of the week and this week we are moving on to the band’s next record Pieces Of Eight because it was also a hit record. Pieces Of Eight which once again featured Tommy Shaw (Guitar/Vocals), Dennis DeYoung (Vocals/Synths/Keys), Chuck Panozzo (Bass), and John Panozzzo (Drums) and it was the band’s eight studio album and arguably the band’s second concept album they had ever made. Just like The Grand Illusion, Pieces Of Eight also managed to sell over three million copies giving it triple platinum status. According to DeYoung, the album’s concept was about, “not giving up your dreams just for the pursuit of money and material possessions.” The album would peak at number six on the Billboard Top 200 charts and it produced one top 20 single with Renegade. Dennis DeYoung at first hated the album cover, but grew to love it eventually. The album cover was designed by Hipgnosis, a group that designed covers for the likes of 10CC, Led Zeppelin, UFO, AC/DC, Scorpions, and many more.

Back1. Great White Hope– The first track on the record that was written and sung by James Young. A blistering rock track whose intro sounds like it comes out of a boxing match, but none the less James Young is a rockin in a sound very similar to The Who in sound. 4/5

2. I’m O.K– The next track on the record that was written by both DeYoung and Young, but sung by DeYoung. I love the beginning of the track which starts off with a cool drum beat from Panozzo before the synths come in along with the guitars. I love Tommy Shaw’s playing on this track and the solo is cool as well. 4/5

3. Sing For The Day– The second single off the record and a truly an amazing song to hear live. The beginning of the song starts off sounding like a medieval carnival song, but a great sing along track. Tommy Shaw uses the name Hannah in the song to represent his fans. 5/5

4. The Message– A synth heavy instrumental track. The track is essentially a prelude to Lords of the Ring.

5. Lords of the Ring– a track sung by James Young about what I believe is the Lord Of The Rings book. I never thought I would say this, but I enjoyed DeYoungs synth solo. 4/5

Styx+Pieces+Of+Eight+-+Gold+Vinyl+454971b6. Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)– according to wikipedia, the track is in, “The song is in D natural minor, with moments of D harmonic minor due to the use of the V chord, A major.” This was the first single off the album that was sung and the lead guitar played by Tommy Shaw. One of my favorite live tracks to hear from the band. 5/5

7. Queen of Spades– One person made a great observation about this track and it’s possible meaning. Int he lyrics they mention Black Widow, Lady Luck, and guys and dolls which in poker Queen Of Spades represents an unlucky card in the game of hearts. So, what does this say about women and the track. It’s a rocking track anyways. 4/5

8. Renegade– My all time favorite Styx song and a story of a an outlaw whose getting hung from his perspective. The harmonies on this track are flawless and give me goosebumps every time I hear it. 5/5

9. Pieces Of Eight– The title track starts with a nice piano piece from DeYoung and it’s mostly a ballad from the band. Once again another track where I love Tommy Shaw’s guitar playing on the song. 4/5

10. Aku-Aku– An instrumental track that is the postlude for the album. 4/5

My Final Thoughts– Both albums that I reviewed from the band are amazing, but this one is a little more my style from the band. So, I am going to give this one a slightly better grade with a 4.4 out of five for a final grade.

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