26 East Vol. 2
Released: June 11, 2021
Sales (in millions): --
Genre: classic rock veteran
Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
3.156 out of 5.00 (average of 3 ratings)
About the Album:
When former Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung released 26 East Vol. 1, it was his self-proclaimed last hurrah. Well, sort of. His last studio effort ballooned up to the point that it was broken into two separate releases so now, a year after the first one, we get 26 East Vol. 2.
Both hint “strongly at DeYoung’s rock roots with Styx and it doesn’t get any better than this…epic music.” 519 The album offers “direct links to the classic Styx sound, as only he can provide, along with some straight ahead rock.” MR “26 East” is a reference to the street where DeYoung grew up on the south side of Chicago in Roseland, Illinois. The Panozzo twins, John and Chuck, lived across the street and formed the nucleus of Styx with DeYoung.
The album was preceded by Proof of Heaven, a song written with Survivor’s Jim Peterik even before 26 East Vol. 1. It was released back in March of 2019 on Peterik’s album Wind of Change. He “compliments DeYoung in the same way Tommy Shaw and James JY Young did when Styx was at its original peak.” 519
Peterik ended up being the catalyst to get DeYoung back into the studio in the first place. Peterik, who co-writes four of the songs on this album and also plays guitar, MR insisted that the world needed DeYoung’s music. The song is “a pretty uplifting and positive piece with heavy religious undertones and an optimistic outlook. This is the type of material fans deeply love from their former Styx lead singer – songs that are very theatrical and powerful.” 519
DeYoung smartly released Isle of Misanthrope, “an eight minute masterpiece with a surprise finish,” MR as the official first single to usher in 26 East Vol. 2. The “piece de resistance” MR is reminiscent of Styx’s anthemic “Suite Madame Blue” from 1975’s Equinox. The song even explores similar themes. The earlier song keyed in on the commercialization of the impending American bicentennial while “Isle” suggests that every empire will eventually burn to the ground. He says, “The lyrics are a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma…[It] is a commentary on the contemporary state of mankind under the guise of ancient times.” MR
For the album’s official second single, “the fiery, hard-rocking” BR The Last Guitar Hero, DeYoung brings in another guest. This time it’s Tom Morello, the former guitarist of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave. The song “has the power and pop sensibility to be a hit, should rock radio choose to play it. It captures the essence of the decline of the rock music, performed with a passion by one of rock’s legacy heroes.” 519
The third single is the “upbeat acoustic rocker There’s No Turning Back Time.” 519 It is a “progressive mini-epic” BR which “harks back to the poppy, progressive rock of DeYoung’s Styx heyday.” BR It features “DeYoung’s plaintive vocals,” BR “distorted power chords, sprightly keyboard riffs a dizzying synthesizer solo.” BR
Elsewhere there is “the lovely Made for Each Other,” 519 “a great DeYoung ballad.” 519 That song and “Time” show typical themes DeYoung has explored in the past with the first being a sentimental, romantic song and the second being a song about reminiscing about the good ol’ days.
The album ends with Grand Finale, which originally closed out the 1977 Styx album The Grand Illusion. It is “a fitting farewell to a rock and roll legend.” 519 “The recording genius of Dennis DeYoung will be sadly missed, but both volumes of 26 East are an incredible closure.” 519 He even ends the album with Grand Finale, which was originally featured on Styx’s 1977 album The Grand Illusion –
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Last updated 8/3/2021.