If you read what others say about ‘Alpha’ many years later, you’d think that Asia was some sort of pop sell-out. Far from the truth. Under a set of headphones, this album is as sonically brilliant the day it was released.
Written by: gdmonline
SERIAL: GHS 4008
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: John Wetton – vocals, bass * Geoff Downes – keyboards * Steve Howe – guitars * Carl Palmer – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Don’t Cry * 02 The Smile Has Left Your Eyes * 03 Never In A Million Years * 04 My Own Time (I’ll Do What I Want) * 05 The Heat Goes On * 06 Eye To Eye * 07 The Last To Know * 08 True Colours * 09 Midnight Sun * 10 Open Your Eyes
WEBLINKS: Site Link
You don’t have to go too far to find an Asia fan on this website. The band released three tremendous studio albums between 1982 and 1985, this one ‘Alpha’ being the second. Asia’s 1982’s debut was one of the biggest selling AOR albums ever, so it was always going to be a challenge to match that effort with their follow-up.
As much as I loved that debut, I like this one even more. I’m not so sure that the songs are as strong, but the whole atmosphere, the reverb soaked synths/strings arrangements from Geoff Downes wins me over everytime. The album was recorded between February and May 1983, and was aimed for release during the Northern summer.
There is not much about this album I don’t enjoy. From start to finish I think this album has been thrashed more often than not in my household; on vinyl, CD, cassette tape and mp3. The lead single ‘Don’t Cry’ did wonderfully well on the charts, heading into the Top 10. The album too easily went platinum, and made it to No#6 on the album charts.
Many pundits considered the album to be over-produced, and I guess when compared to the debut.. it was.. that one containing a few rough edges by comparison. The big sounding but short-timed compositions such as ‘The Heat Goes On’, ‘Midnight Sun’ and ‘Open Your Eyes’ all testament to the rapport between Wetton, Downes and Producer Mike Stone.
Not to forget, a Wetton favourite ‘ The Sun Has Left Your Eyes’, the dramatic ‘True Colors’ or the infectious melody drenched ‘Never In A Million Years’ with a gazillion vocal overdubs! All super stuff in 1983.
The band got into strife not long after the release. John Wetton left the band for personal reasons (creative differences I think was the term used). He was replaced quickly by Greg Lake, who also appeared with the band on the highly publicized ‘Asia In Asia’ live broadcast on MTV later that year. That union was short lived though, as Wetton returned in time for their incredible ‘Astra’ album in 1985.
Still, if you read what others say about ‘Alpha’ many years later, you’d think that Asia was some sort of pop sell-out. Far from the truth. Under a set of headphones, this album is as sonically brilliant the day it was released. At under $10 on CD these days, you’d be silly not to investigate this enjoyable album.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)