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Astra

3.8 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Jan. 1 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: MCA - Universal Special Imports
  • ASIN: B000002QMB
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,242 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Go
2. Voice Of America
3. Hard On Me
4. Wishing
5. Countdown To Zero
6. Love Now Til Eternity
7. Too Late
8. Suspicion
9. Rock And Roll Dream
10. After The War

Product Description

Limited Edition Japanese pressing of this album comes housed in a miniature LP sleeve. Geffen. 2007.


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Asia's debut was a landmark event in music history, not because of the music's excellence alone, but because it was the closest a true masterpiece came to receiving an proportional number of album sales. The follow-up, Alpha (which was still great, albeit comparatively light and repetitive), also fared well commercially. And then, well, one of the most unappreciated albums ever. . . Astra. . .
Asia's third album contains the same basic sound as had its predecessors, with a level of songwriting that ought to meet, quite possibly to exceed, expectations. (The recording quality, however, is not as good as it could be.) From the majestic keyboard opening of "Go" to the climactic ending of "After the War," this album is pure, quintessential Asia. Layers of symphonic instrumentation mesh with Wetton's pleasant, melodic vocals in a surge of euphony and harmony, energizing and elating the listener. Somehow, the music's eudaemonic tone prevails even through the resentfully mournful "After the War" and "Countdown to Zero," which nearly succeeds in its attempt at melancholy and acerbity. That diacritical Asia sound (see musically-ignorant pythia's vague definition) saturates every song, yet without the songs' sounding like facsimiles of one another. Despite the almost orchestral feel of the music, it is erroneous to apply the progressive rock label to Astra--the album being poppy and straightforward relative to the genre's typical associations. Even the longest track, "Rock and Roll Dream" (a fitting title), remains engaging throughout, never lapsing into pretentious nothingness. Astra (indeed, the Wetton-era Asia triptych as a whole) is best categorized as AOR in its most elevated form.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As the rating sheet above states this is an OK disc and is a collectors item now due to its age, the thing was published in 1985...making this a senior among pop discs and it simply isn't all that great to be called a PROGRESSIVE disc. Don't get me wrong here I am not spilling hot tar on the disc far from it there is merit to the CD only as I said the thing was done in 1985 thus is by now material which has been done over and over again by Azia and a hundred other bands by now. This group while having a stellar caste of musicians simply never managed to stretch the boundaries of their art enough to be called superstars on the level of bands like THE KINKS who managed to bring a new facet of their art in every single CD that they put out for better or worse they never stopped producing new faces to their tunes. For the collector yes it is worth picking up but it simply is not their best work.... Spigomars
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Format: Audio CD
Astra is an often overlooked gem. It was the last in a trio of brilliant Asia albums featuring one of the best vocalists of all time, John Wetton. Astra is not as solid as Alpha and does not have the super hits like their self-titled debut, but it is still an excellent album with plenty to offer. It starts with the driving "Go." I did not like "Voice of America" at first because I thought it was a bit sappy but, upon further listens, it is one of my favorites on the album. It is very pleasant. Curiously, it is on the Then and Now 1990 compilation as a "Now" song even though, as far as I can hear, it is the same 1985 version. "Hard on Me" is a very catchy rocker. The verses just makes me want to move my feet, but the chorus is a little awkward. "Wishing" is not very memorable. "Rock and Roll Dream" is a slow, calm song during the verses and then bursts out in tempo during the chorus.
"Countdown to Zero" is a powerful track and is very 1980s Cold War with the spoken verses "Do you realise what's happening in Western Europe? Norway, Finland, Scotland, England. We'll be the first to go." The last spoken lines are kind of silly though: "Don't do it, Don't start the countdown to zero. We want to live. You've got your finger on the trigger. Take it off." "Love Now Till Eternity" is a little sappy and, unlike "Voice of America," I still think it is sappy, but there is nice acoustic guitar at the end. "Too Late" has an addictive rhythm like "Hard on Me." "Suspicion" has a spooky sound and then bursts out with a cool keyboard/guitar piece. It is also very 1980s-sounding (that is a good thing). "After the War" starts out like it is going to be an overdone track like "Wildest Dreams" but then settles down to a very pleasant melody. This album is closer to Alpha than Asia's debut as it keeps the excesses of progressive rock in check. Any fan of Asia's hit singles will enjoy this album, as it is just as accessible and catchy.
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Format: Audio CD
ASTRA could have been a classic cd from Asia. As a matter of fact it has some songs that could almost pass for the classic Asia. GO, ROCK & ROLL DREAM, COUNTDOWN TO ETERNITY, TOO LATE, & AFTER THE WAR, but without axeman Steve Howe, they come off a little bit hollow. Only GO, captures the old Asia feel completely. The above before mentioned songs rock, but at the same time, they really don't rock too. The feel of this cd is wrong for the group, production is good, maybe too good. the other songs fair a little better, WISHING, which does not sound like a Asia song, is actually one the better three. VOICE OF AMERICA is a slower song, that Wetton does a very good vocally on, shows a lot of emotion. and SUSPICION, is very haunting, but neither really sound like an Asia song. GO, WISHING, VOICE OF.., and SUSPICION, hold this cd together, and keep it form being pretty lame. Maybe if the cd sounded more like Asia, it would be better, but it would be a good cd for someone else. Just after two really good cds, ASIA & ALPHA, you expect more.
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