Asia “Asia”

 

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#577 in the series) is eponymous debut from Asia.

Well let’s see what’s going to happen with this choice of albums. I think some people may not find it as “Cool” as I did. Not that I feel like I need to justify any entry, what’s cool to one person might not be cool to another, and that’s cool, but I’m going to write this regarding how I felt about this release in early 1982. Not how I felt about it or them down the road years later. That’s not what I do.

When I first head of this new band Asia I was so excited. Emerson, Lake and Palmer was one of my all-time favorite bands, mainly on the strength of drummer Carl Palmer. Yes, I loved the band, but I think Palmer’s what did it for me.

I also loved Yes, yup I was indeed a 70s prog-rock guy.  Yes was another favorite, and in this case much of that love was due to guitarist Steve Howe.

I also dug King Crimson so hearing that John Wetton would be on bass and lead vocals in Asia, well bring it on!

The Buggles album never spent hours and hours spinning on my turntable like the other acts, but I knew about them, I knew how good Geoff Downes was so he was more than welcome to add his keyboard sounds to the project.

Asia would eventually go thru countless personnel changes, one even included ELP’s Greg Lake on bass and vocals, but for this piece we’re talking about the original band and their eponymous debut.

There was something that happened regarding Asia and the early period of their career that for me was quite unique. it was unique then and I don’t believe it’s ever happened to me since. What was that? It was regarding their first concert tour and their visit to The Auditorium Theater in Chicago. Here’s the unique part, we bought tickets to see this show by this band called Asia before we heard one note of what they sounded like. That’s right, tickets went on sale for the 3500 seat venue (easily the best in Chicago) before the album or a single were released. We knew who was in the band, but we didn’t know anything of how they were going to sound. Palmer, Howe, Wetton and Downes…. we liked our chances however.

When the album was released the first thing we noticed was another connection to Yes, that would be the logo and the album art work. They both were created by the great Roger Dean. You don’t have to look for the signature to know it’s him.

The album ended up having a number of major hits including “Heat of the Moment,” “Only Time Will Tell,” and “Soul Survivor.

The album did achieve a #1 ranking on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart. It also always met with heavy criticism. What a surprise, something that had progressive rock musicians included that the critics didn’t like. Having said that, yes I can understand the criticism on this album. It wasn’t prog enough for some of the prog fans while being a little too-prog for the non-prog fans.  What was the main criticism? I believe, at least to the progressive rock fan, was that it was more of a “What Could Have Been” disappointment. Yeah, it was good, but it could have been great. It was a “cool anticipation” more than it was an actual “cool album.” Maybe that’s also why I hadn’t listened to it in years.

— Larry Carta

Track listing

Side one

  1. “Heat of the Moment” (Geoff Downes, John Wetton) – 3:54
  2. “Only Time Will Tell” (Downes, Wetton) – 4:44
  3. “Sole Survivor” (Downes, Wetton) – 4:45
  4. “One Step Closer” (Steve Howe, Wetton) – 4:16
  5. “Time Again” (Downes, Howe, Carl Palmer, Wetton) – 4:46

Side two

  1. “Wildest Dreams” (Downes, Wetton) – 5:10
  2. “Without You” (Howe, Wetton) – 5:04
  3. “Cutting It Fine” (Downes, Howe, Wetton) – 5:35
  4. “Here Comes the Feeling” (Howe, Wetton) – 5:39

Personnel

  • Geoff Downes – keyboards, backing vocals
  • John Wetton – bass, lead vocals, keyboards
  • Carl Palmer – drums, percussion
  • Steve Howe – guitars, backing vocals

Links

See more from 1982
Back to the Cool Album Home Page

Give Asia a listen below. Click on the play arrow. 


Posted by Larry Carta

1 Comment

  1. coachmaddog (14 Dec 2011, 21:45)
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