Friday, July 26, 2013

Asia - Alpha

Following their smash hit 1982 self-titled debut (click here for that review), the guys from Asia returned to the studio to work on their next album. The result was 1983’s Alpha which today (July 26th) is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary.

Alpha charted at number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 5 in the UK and number 4 in Japan.

Side one begins with “Don’t Cry”, a bouncy yet dramatic number about romance found. As the debut single, it charted at number 54 in Germany, number 33 in the UK, number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 1 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

“The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”, the second single, charted at number 81 in the UK, number 34 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 25 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. The song puts me in a somber mood whenever I hear it.

“Never in a Million Years” goes for the ultimate commitment.

“My Own Time (I’ll Do What I Want)” has a soft rock vibe going for it, thanks to the acoustic guitar that is so prominent at the start of it.

After a number of slower numbers, things finally pick back up with the final track on the first side. “The Heat Goes On” did well on the US Mainstream Rock chart, climbing all the way to number 5.

Side two opens with “Eye to Eye”. The rhythms on this one are kind of interesting as they went a few directions I was not expecting.

“The Last to Know”, with its beautiful opening, goes right back to the ballads with a tale of blind betrayal.

Also popular on the US Mainstream Rock charts was “True Colors”, which charted at number 20. This one feels like a natural extension of the themes from the previous track as the man goes from disbelief to angry.

“Midnight Sun” continues the slower tempo but does mix things up slightly musically to make this one stand out a bit.

The album closes with “Open Your Eyes”, a song about starting over and taking in things from a new perspective.

Coming off of Asia, the band had a lot on the line with Alpha. And like many listeners back in the day, I felt this one fell a little short of the high benchmark that the group had previously established. I would have liked to have heard a bit more fire and intensity. It just felt really safe and cautious. This one might require a few more listens to see if it will grow on me.

1 comment:

HERC said...

Like you said, after the good stuff on their debut platter, Alpha was all kinds of weak sauce and IMO the band never recovered.

The only two Asia discs in my library are the first one and an anthology which I rarely listen to.