Monday, August 27, 1990

Garth Brooks’ No Fences released

First posted 2/22/2008; updated 9/27/2020.

No Fences

Garth Brooks


Released: August 27, 1990


Peak: 3 US, 141 CW, -- UK, 49 CN, 11 AU


Sales (in millions): 18.0 US, -- UK, 23.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: country


Tracks:

Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. The Thunder Rolls (5/18/91, 1 CW)
  2. New Way to Fly
  3. Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House (2/9/91, 1 CW)
  4. Victim of the Game
  5. Friends in Low Places (8/18/90, 1 CW, 36 UK)
  6. Wild Horses (11/25/00, 7 CW, 43a US)
  7. Unanswered Prayers (11/3/90, 1 CW)
  8. Same Old Story
  9. Mr. Blue
  10. Wolves


Total Running Time: 38:29

Rating:

4.250 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)


Quotable: No Fences captures Garth Brooks just after his initial success yet before superstardom.” – David Cantwell, Amazon.com


Awards:

About the Album:

No Fences captures Garth Brooks just after his initial success yet before superstardom.” DC It remains his “best-selling album to date” WK and was named Album of the Year in 1990 by the Academy of Country Music.

It “follows the same pattern as his debut, but it is a more assured and risky record. Brooks still performs neo-traditional country, such as the honky tonk hit Friends in Low Places,” STE, which was the ACM 1990 Single of the Year, “but now he twists it around with clever pop hooks.” STE

“Those pop/rock influences are most apparent on the ballads, which alternate between sensitive folk-rock and power ballad bombast. But what makes No Fences such a success is how seamlessly he blends the two seemingly opposing genres, and how he chooses a set of material that makes his genre-bending sound subtle and natural. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the songs are consistently entertaining, either.” STE

That attempt at hitting across genres can come across as “impersonations – often catchy and engaging ones, but impersonations nonetheless. Wild Horses is straight-up George Strait, while Two of a Kind and ‘Friends in Low Places’ are John Anderson and Hank Jr. respectively. The best moment, the Dan Fogleberg-like Unanswered Prayers, relays a message either highly spiritual or hugely rationalized. Regardless, it succeeds because its delivery is earnest, sweet, and humble – something Garth wouldn’t be for long.” DC

Also on the album is a cover of the Fleetwoods’ Mr. Blue, Victim of the Game (which was covered by Brooks’ future wife, Trisha Yearwood, on her 1991 debut, and The Thunder Rolls, which was CMA’s Video of the Year in 1991. WK


Notes: “This Ain’t Tennessee” was added to the album when it was released as part of the Limited Series box set.

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Tuesday, August 14, 1990

Asia released first anthology

First posted 9/10/2020.

Anthologies: 1982-1990

Asia

This page highlights three compilations of the band Asia, covering the years 1982 to 1990. The collections are:

  • TN Then & Now
  • VB The Very Best of: Heat of the Moment (1982-1990)
  • DC The Definitive Collection
These years include three studio albums, each with their own DMDB page, but with brief snapshots here.

Under each album snapshot, charting songs featured on the anthologies are noted. After the song title, the date of the song’s release or first chart appearance and its chart peaks are noted in parentheses. Click for codes to singles charts.

The Players:

  • John Wetton (vocals/bass)
  • Steve Howe (guitar: 1981-83)
  • Geoff Downes (keyboards)
  • Carl Palmer (drums)
  • Mandy Meyer (guitar: 1985-90)


The Formation of Asia:

When John Wetton (King Crimson), Steve Howe (Yes), Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), and Geoff Downes (Yes, Buggles) joined forces as Asia, appetites were whetted for the supergroup with an enviable resume, specifically in the progressive rock realm. However, the group received “venomous criticism from the so-called hip music press.” BA “Perhaps the formation seemed cooked up by dollar-blinded record-company brass and even the musicians themselves,” BA but the group “expertly combined stellar instrumental prowess with killer hooks and choruses – and, yeah, more than a little bombast.” BA


Asia (1982):

Regardless of what the critics thought, the record-buying public lapped up Asia’s 1982 self-titled debut, sending it to the top of the Billboard album chart for nine weeks in the U.S. It was “a strong collection of melodic, sweeping, muscular arena rock” TD which produced a top-five pop hit with Heat of the Moment) and a top-twenty follow-up Only Time Will Tell. Then & Now includes both of those songs as well as Wildest Dreams, a minor album rock hit from Asia, but inexplicably omits Sole Survivor, a top-ten album rock song.

  • Heat of the Moment (4/3/82, 4 US, 1 AR, 46 UK) TN, VB, DC
  • Ride Easy (B-side of “Heat of the Moment”)
  • Only Time Will Tell (5/1/82, 17 US, 8 AR, 54 UK) TN, VB, DC
  • Sole Survivor (4/3/82, 10 AR) VB, DC
  • Wildest Dreams (4/10/82, 28 AR) TN, VB, DC
  • Here Comes the Feeling (7/3/82, 40 AR) VB, DC
  • Time Again (7/31/82, 43 AR) VB


Alpha (1983):

Their sophomore album, Alpha, came a year later. The album was another top-ten, platinum seller led by top-ten hit Don’t Cry. That album also produced the top-40 hit The Smile Has Left Your Eyes. These are both on Then & Now, but a third album rock hit, the #5 The Heat Goes On, which “showed the original quartet still had some magic,” BA fails to make the cut.

  • Don’t Cry (7/30/83, 10 US, 1 AR, 33 UK) TN, VB, DC
  • Daylight (7/30/83, 24 AR, B-side of “Don’t Cry”) VB, DC
  • The Heat Goes On (8/20/83, 5 AR) VB, DC
  • The Smile Has Left Your Eyes (10/15/83, 34 US, 25 AR) TN, VB, DC
  • Lying to Yourself (B-side of “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”) VB
  • Never in a Million Years VB
  • Open Your Eyes VB, DC


Astra (1985):

After that, the band sort of derailed. Steve Howe left and the group put out 1985’s Astra with Mandy Meyer on guitar. His biggest claim to fame was with the band Krokus, which hardly put him in the same ballpark as future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Steve Howe. Still, the album was “unjustly ignored.” BA It offered up another top-ten song, the “explosive rocker Go,” BA on the album rock chart, but the song stalled short of the top 40 on the pop charts. The album also featured the minor album rock hit Too Late (#30). Neither song is featured on Then & Now, but album cut Voice of America is.

  • Go (11/9/85, 46 US, 7 AR) VB, DC
  • Too Late (1/11/86, 30 AR) VB, DC
  • Voice of America TN, VB, DC
  • Wishing DC

Then & Now

Asia


Rating:

2.880 out of 5.00
(average of 4 ratings)

Released: August 14, 1990


Recorded: 1981-1990


Peak: 114 US, -- UK, 82 CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, -- UK, 0.5 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks: (1) Only Time Will Tell (2) Heat of the Moment (3) Wildest Dreams (4) Don’t Cry (5) The Smile Has Left Your Eyes (6) Days Like These (7) Prayin’ 4 a Miracle (8) Am I in Love? (9) Summer Can’t Last Too Long (10) Voice of America


Total Running Time: 42:29

  • Days Like These (8/17/90, 64 US, 2 AR, 31 CN) TN, VB, DC
  • Prayin’ 4 a Miracle TN
  • Am I in Love? TN
  • Summer Can’t Last Too Long TN
Another five years went by before this collection emerged. With four new songs, it was certainly a test to see if Asia fans still existed. Most of the newer material is “flaccid musically and insipid lyrically.” TD The exception is “the anthemic Days Like These, which nearly matches the band’s strong debut material” TD and features Toto guitarist Steve Lukather. The song did revive interest in the group at album rock radio, where the song reached #2, but the pop world had largely abandoned Asia at this point; “Days” peaked at #64 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In the end, Then & Now is a “poorly conceived compilation.” BA Considering the few hits Asia had, it would seem to be an easy task to gather them together in one package, but Then & Now largely misses the boat. Sure, it gathers the most obvious songs with “Heat of the Moment,” “Only Time Will Tell,” “Don’t Cry,” and “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes,” but the collection is flawed because of the absence of top-ten album rock songs “Sole Survivor,” “The Heat Goes On,” and “Go.” Also, how did the band miss the obvious and not title this collection Anthology given their predilection for giving their previous albums titles all starting with “A”?

The Very Best of: Heat of the Moment (1982-1990)

Asia


Rating:

4.453 out of 5.00
(average of 3 ratings)

Released: June 6, 2000


Recorded: 1981-1990


Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks: (1) Heat of the Moment (2) Only Time Will Tell (3) Sole Survivor (4) Time Again (5) Wildest Dreams (6) Here Comes the Feeling (7) Don’t Cry (8) Daylight (9) The Smile Has Left Your Eyes (10) Lying to Yourself (11) The Heat Goes On (12) Never in a Million Years (13) Open Your Eyes (14) Go (15) Voice of America (16) Too Late (17) Days Like These (18) Ride Easy


Total Running Time: 77:00

The flaws with Then & Now were corrected with this collection. The three unnecessary new songs from Then & Now were eschewed in favor of the three aforementioned top-ten album rock songs, although “Sole Survivor” and “Here Comes the Feeling” are “the choppily edited single versions.” BA The collection also added the B-sides “Ride Easy,” “Daylight,” and “Lying to Yourself.” However, the set is bloated with six songs each from the first two albums, meaning a few unnecessary album cuts creep in.

The Definitive Collection

Asia


Rating:

4.403 out of 5.00
(average of 3 ratings)

Released: September 12, 2006


Recorded: 1981-1990


Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks: (1) Heat of the Moment (2) Only Time Will Tell (3) Sole Survivor (4) Wildest Dreams (5) Here Comes the Feeling (6) Don’t Cry (7) The Smile Has Left Your Eyes (8) The Heat Goes On (9) Open Your Eyes (10) Daylight (11) Go (12) Voice of America (13) Too Late (14) Wishing (15) Days Like These (16) Go (extended version)


Total Running Time: ?

This set weeded out some of the forgettable album cuts which clogged up The Very Best of, including the three B-sides which, while interesting to Asia’s faithful followers, are not vital songs. In the end, this ends up being the most focused of the three collections discussed here. I’d prefer to see “Rock and Roll Dream” and “Countdown to Zero” from Astra instead of “Open Your Eyes” and “Wishing,” but that’s just a personal choice.

Resources and Related Links: