|1. Don't Cry|
|2. Smile Has Left Your Eyes|
|3. Never in a Million Years|
|4. My Own Time (I'll Do What I Want)|
|5. Heat Goes On|
|6. Eye to Eye|
|7. Last to Know|
|8. True Colors|
|9. Midnight Sun|
|10. Open Your Eyes|
This album is a disaster. It's unbeliavable that the same line-up of Howe, Wetton, Downes and Palmer recorded this piece of trash after their majestic self-tittled debut.
This is some of the worst "pop-progressive" (call it what you want) things ever recorded in the eighties, and it's more painful due to the high caliber of the musicians involved. The album is nothing more than a collection of sugar souless pop albums that I bet Steve Howe still feels ashamed today! In the mix, add some of the worst ballads ever written. The production is slick to the bone. Don't believe the absurdly high ratings this album is taking here!
One of the raps on early Asia was that they sounded too commercial, too much like other early/mid 80's bands. I've always found this incredible; I've never heard any other band that sounded like Asia. They bridge the gap from progressive to pop in a unique way, with rich instrumentation and accessible lyrics, intricate vocal harmonies and amazing, soaring music. This album, in particular, seems to perfectly balance the keyboard sorcery of Geoff Downes and the penetrating riffs from Steve Howe. Howe morphs from subtle, complex supporting lines to jaw-dropping "how can a guitar do that?" scalar ballet. Combined with John Wetton's clear vocals and Carl Palmer's precise drumming, the resulting combination produces panoramic-sounding songs that reach near perfection, to this listener's ears.
No weak songs here. I always felt like "Eye to Eye" was my least favorite, but the older I get, the more I appreciate it. Every song has something different to offer: "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" is Wetton's vocal tour de force; "The Heat Goes On" showcases Palmer's versatile work with the sticks; "Midnight Sun" features incredible fingerwork from Howe (and a symphonic overlay); "Don't Cry", in addition to being the most pop-sounding track, is rich with Downes' layered keyboards; and "Open Your Eyes" brings it all together for a finale that leaves you gasping for more.Read more ›
While the opening track (Don't Cry) is an upbeat pop-song the album becomes angrier and sadder with each song except for Midnight Sun.
What's even sadder is the fact that just a few months after ALPHA was released, singer/ bassist John Wetton was fired from the group by manager Brian Lane. Apparently, guitarist Steve Howe (like Lane, a YES-man) resented the fact that while Asia was at first considered Howe's band, it was John Wetton who was the star of the show: Wetton, not Howe was invited to host on MTV, radio interviews, etc. Even when Wetton returned in 1984 (and repaid Howe by sacking him), the magic was gone. A textbook example of "Jumping the shark".