Friday, June 16, 2017

Styx released The Mission

The Mission


Released: June 16, 2017

Peak: 45 US

Sales (in millions): 0.015 US

Genre: classic rock veteran


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

  1. Overture (Tommy Shaw) [1:23]
  2. Gone, Gone, Gone (Shaw, Will Evankovich, James “JY” Young) [2:07] (4/21/2017, --)
  3. Hundred Million Miles from Home (Shaw, Evankovich) [3:39]
  4. Trouble at the Big Show (Shaw, Evankovich, Young) [2:30]
  5. Locomotive (Shaw, Evankovich) [5:03]
  6. Radio Silence (Shaw, Evankovich, Lawrence Gowan) [4:17]
  7. The Greater Good (Shaw, Evankovich, Gowan) [4:10]
  8. Time May Bend (Shaw, Evankovich) [2:30]
  9. Ten Thousand Ways (Shaw, Gowan) [1:22]
  10. Red Storm (Shaw, Evankovich) [6:04]
  11. All Systems Stable (Shaw, Evankovich, Gowan, Todd Sucherman) [0:17]
  12. Khedive (Shaw, Gowan) [2:04]
  13. The Outpost (Shaw, Evankovich, Gowan) [3:51]
  14. Mission to Mars (Shaw) [2:43]

Total Running Time: 42:00

The Players:

  • Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar, mandoline)
  • James “JY” Young (guitar, vocals)
  • Chuck Panozzo (bass)
  • Lawrence Gowan, vocals, keyboards)
  • Ricky Phillips (bass)
  • Todd Sucherman (drums, percussion)


3.826 out of 5.00 (average of 7 ratings)

About the Album:

The Mission was the sixteenth studio album from Styx – their first in twelve years. With sales in the U.S. of only 15,000, this was a far cry from the band’s heyday in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s with a string of multi-platinum albums. However, All Music Guide’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine says the album “announces Styx’s return in a grand fashion” AMG as “an unapologetic throwback to the band’s late-‘70s prime.” AMG

Tommy Shaw, a member of the band since the mid-‘70s, crafted most of the songs with singer/songwriter Will Evankovich. In 2015, Shaw composed the guitar riff and a few lines for what became Mission to Mars, the closer on the album. WK This evolved into a concept album about a manned space mission to Mars in the year 2033. The website explains that the “fictional sci-fi tale casts Styx members…as the crew of a nuclear-powered spacecraft named the Khedive, and follows their adventures as they try to reach the red planet.” SR

Ooooh boy. That description makes this sound similar to the eye-rolling, overblown theatrical presentation of 1983’s Kilroy Was Here. That story line was conceived by then-bandmate Dennis DeYoung and Shaw has since loudly voiced his opposition to the direction it took the band. There’s some irony in him going down such a similar path.

However, while it is an “overbaked story,” AMG the songs hold up “because Styx craft these operatic rockers so well.” AMG “These songs could be mistaken for prime Styx, and that’s quite a thing to say for a band that is not only firmly within its status as a legacy act, but one that has gone so long without recording new material.” AMG

The lead single, Gone, Gone, Gone “is a callback to the old school style of Styx” SR which even comes close “to the sound they had on Kilroy Was Here.” SR Interestingly, though, it isn’t Shaw or founding member James “JY” Young who takes the lead on the song, but Lawrence Gowan, who stepped in as the replacement for DeYoung in 1999.

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First posted 5/13/2021; last updated 8/1/2021.

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