Equinox produced Styx's first single with A&M, the highly spirited "Lorelei," which found its way to number 27 on the charts. Although it was the only song to chart from Equinox, the album itself is a benchmark in the band's career since it includes an instrumental nature reminiscent of their early progressive years, yet hints toward a more commercial-sounding future in its lyrics. "Light Up" is a brilliant display of keyboard bubbliness, with De Young's vocals in full bloom, while "Lonely Child" and "Suite Madame Blue" show tighter songwriting and a slight drift toward radio amicability. Still harboring their synthesizer-led dramatics alongside Dennis De Young's exaggerated vocal approach, the material on Equinox was a firm precursor of what was to come . After Equinox, guitarist John Curulewski parted ways with the band, replaced by Tommy Shaw, who debuted on 1976's Crystal Ball album.
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Performance CreditsStyx Primary Artist
Dennis DeYoung Synthesizer,Keyboards,Vocals
James Young Guitar,Vocals
John Curulewski Synthesizer,Guitar,Vocals
Chuck Panozzo Bass,Bass Guitar,Vocals
John Panozzo Percussion,Drums,Vocals
Technical CreditsStyx Producer,Remixing
Dennis DeYoung Composer
James Young Composer
John Curulewski Composer
Barry Mraz Engineer,Remixing
Roland Young Art Direction
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Okay, Styx can admittedly be cheesy. Especially if the Dennis DeYoung was given his head. But let's not kid ourselves -- this band rocked really, really hard when they wanted to. And from their second album Styx II (from 1972, later reissued as "Lady", to clue people in on the only hit that was on said album) through their last great album, 1978's "Pieces of Eight" they really did want to rock hard.
But wait, we're talking about 1975's "Equinox", right? The only hit may have been "Lorelei", but it's by far and away NOT even close to being one of the best songs on the album. Those would be the 'let's party!' vibe of "Light Up"...or perhaps the backstage queen-esque ode to good sleazy fun, aka James Young's rocker "Midnight Ride", a personal fave. It might even be the highway robber jam called "Born for Adventure". And for those who like songs which flirt with Prog Rock tendencies (of which Styx usually had one on each of their seventies' albums), there's the epic "Suite: Madame Blue", an alegory tale of a woman (or is it the USA?) falling from the crest of her mature beauty to tawdry decadance. One must remember that the Vietnam War would end in farsical collapse that same year. Maybe the coolest thing about the song, for me at least, is the way it starts off acoustic, then John Curlewski plays the same chords on electric guitar, building the wistful ballad into a full-blown jam, replete with four-part harmonies.
While I'm not sure this is my favorite Styx album (that might well be Styx II), it has quite a few rewards to yield -- and not from its hits. By the way, that's a good rule of thumb for those who are curious about Styx. Most of the hits tend to be weepy Dennis DeYoung ballads, which though tuneful (who can say the admittedly sappy "Best of Times" isn't a guilty pleasure?) do sound dated. True rock and roll, however -- of which Styx has more than their fair share -- lasts forever. So check it out.