The Grand Illusion
Released: July 1977
Chart Peak: #6
Weeks Charted: 127
Certified 3x Platinum: 11/14/84
With each album this five-piece group continues to refine its act. Grand Illusion is its most mature creation, as this concept LP is an existentialist commentary on the human condition. Crafty synthesized orchestrations give the instrumentals a polished feel while the lyrics and story line maintain continuity. The luxury of having three capable yet distinct vocalists and writers aids in making the LP diverse and imaginative. Best cuts: "The Grand Illusion," "Fooling Yourself," "Miss America," "Castle Walls," "Superstars."
- Billboard, 1977.
With The Grand Illusion, Styx catapulted to Top Ten and multi-platinum status, thanks to the hit single, "Come Sail Away." Although the group's sound was still based in art-rock, the best moments on the record occur when they fit majestic pomp into the constraints of a pop song like "Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)" or "Come Sail Away." * * * *
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
- Gary Graff, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
The keyboards! The synthesizers! The hair! -- gather round, kids, this is what arena rock used to sound and look like. The first of four platinum albums from the Chicago band, featuring new guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw, this texturally rich, theatrical effort lives up to its grand billing. But cynics throw styx suggesting this "pompous work of bombast" be called The Grand Delusion. * * * *
- Zagat Survey Music Guide - 1,000 Top Albums of All Time, 2003.
Styx, with their big, layered harmonies and a kitchen-sink approach to production, epitomise for many people everything that is good -- or indeed bad -- about AOR. The band's seventh album, The Grand Illusion, brought together the various strands of prog, rock and pomp that would begin a string of four multi-platinum albums for Styx. The album reached Number Six in the US and spent nine months on the Billboard chart.
The album includes the Chicago-based prog-rockers' second Top Ten hit "Come Sail Away," which reached Number Eight on the Billboard album chart, and a Top Thirty single in James Young's "Fooling Yourself." But the most dramatic track on the album, and one which was to become a firm fan-favourite, was "Miss America," which continues the theme of combining the keyboard ethos of the progressive movement, with the crunching guitar riffs of their more rock-oriented peers.
It is the first of Styx's albums to feature Tommy Shaw, replacing original guitarist John Curulewski. Throughout the album it's Shaw's guitar work that shines, melding with that of founder member James Young, while Dennis DeYoung sings hysterical lyrics with a shrill confidence.
As of 2004, The Grand Illusion was the #73 best-selling album of the 70s.
- Hamish Champ, The 100 Best-Selling Albums of the 70s, 2004.
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