I hear a lot of Styx on the radio which doesn’t bother me as much as hearing Billy Idol or Duran Duran. Most of the time I like it. But not as much as I like hearing ELO
Styx was one of my favorite bands in high school. (Go ahead, laugh. I’ve never pretended that I have remotely hip taste in music.) I remember crying bitter tears into my pillow to the soaring keyboard melody of Babe because some random 15 year old loser guy rejected me. Or that weird dance I went to at a neighboring school where they played Renegade over and over. In the beginning slow part you’d sort of wiggle around like some goofball modern interpretive dance and slowly bend your knees until you were wiggling and squatting on the floor. Then when “The jig is up, the news is out” part started we all jumped up and started dancing.
Of all the albums in my collection, Paradise Theater is one of the few that I can distinctly remember buying and listening to for the first time.
I got it in Westlake at the record store next to the grocery store where my Mom was buying food. Those were the days when there were little record stores owned by regular people who liked music and wanted to make a living selling it and music came in big cardboard envelopes with black shiny disks inside. The disks were wrapped in paper that often including lyrics, photos or interesting information about the band. These were called: liner notes.
When I got home I took it over to Sheila McCusker’s house on Timberlane Street in Fountainwood and we peeled off the shrink wrap and put it on the entertainment system in the living room and we sat there and talked and looked at the liner notes while we listened to it.
Oh, it says that Paradise Theater came out in 1981 which makes sense because “Best of Times” was our graduating class song. I was friends with Sheila in 8th grade. Maybe I’m confused with The Grand Illusion. So much for my vivid memory.
One of the songs I heard recently was Mr. Roboto and it’s hard to believe this was ever a good idea for a song. It sounds like someone accidentally swallowed a keyboard and then shat the song out the next morning. It’s fun to say: Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto. Domo. Domo.
But the lyrics are super dumb and, like the joke about Caesar, I never understood it.
It says stuff like:
I've got a secret I've been hiding under my skin
My heart is human, my blood is boiling, my brain I.B.M.
I'm not a hero, I'm not a saviour, forget what you know
I'm just a man whose circumstances went beyond his control
I am the modren man, who hides behind a mask
So no one else can see my true identity
And then the great reveal:
The time has come at last
To throw away this mask
So everyone can see
My true identity...
I'm Kilroy! Kilroy! Kilroy! Kilroy!
What does that mean?
According to Wikipedia: The album's storyline (set in the future) centered around a has-been rock star, living through a disguise of his own, "Mr. Roboto" (according to the album's lead-off song), and caught in a world where music itself has been outlawed.
I still don’t get it.