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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Asia - 1982 Asia
Asia - 1982 Asia

LABEL: Geffen
SERIAL: GEF 40 85577
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 1990, Geffen, 2008-2 * 2010, Audio Fidelity, AFZ068


LINEUP: John Wetton - vocals, bass * Geoff Downes - keyboards * Steve Howe - guitars * Carl Palmer - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Heat Of The Moment * 02 Only Time Will Tell * 03 Sole Survivor * 04 One Step Closer * 05 Time Again * 06 Wildest Dreams * 07 Without You * 08 Cutting It Fine * 09 Here Comes That Feeling

WEBLINKS: www.originalasia.com

It wouldn't be a superfluous statement to suggest 'Asia' is the most successful AOR album of all time, having sold over ten million copies and logging nine weeks at the number one position in the heady summer of 1982. Quite an amazing feat considering the state of the music industry a quarter of a century later when you would be hard pressed to find more than a handful of AOR fans who could name a member of the band. Back then the congregation of Howe and Downes (Yes), Wetton (Roxy Music, King Crimson, Uriah Heep, UK) and Palmer (Emerson, Lake And Palmer) was a major event, an instant supergroup with all hailing from established acts from the 70's. The resulting album was a clinical display of AOR, that leaned away from the progressive leanings of all involved's previous bands, but with traces of all noticeable. Roping in Mike Stone for production added more drama to the proceedings and the US in particular bought into Asia in a massive way. Well for two albums at least!

The Songs
There's barely any need to describe 'Heat Of The Moment', the eternal AOR anthem played repeatedly all these years later, heavy on Palmer's explosive drumming passages and some of the slickest harmonies heard in the genre. Joining this as a gigantic US single hit was 'Only Time Will Tell', major melodic genius from all concerned yet simple and consistently listenable, a lost art in the haphazard modern age. 'Sole Survivior' raises excitement during some pulsating verses, with Downes laying on the keyboards with delicious results, resulting in another long standing band favourite. The opening bars of 'One Step Closer' have a Yes type 'aura', prog to a degree, but with another radio made hook and archetypal parping synth bursts. I admire the ELP tinged 'Time Again' which moves at a pace reaching back to their 'Fanfare For The Common Man' era but updated in relevant AOR style for the early 80's. How more dramatic could the opening to 'Wildest Dreams' possibly be? Coming out of nowhere, the anti war statement can't live up to that half minute of grandiose effect. 'Without You' is one of the lesser numbers, but redeemed by some key synth and guitar breakdowns, melodic to any man. This is also the saving grace for 'Cutting It Fine', the instrumental sections taking precedent. Ending with another dominant AOR track, 'Here Comes The Feeling' lives up to the hype expected of the supergroup, thrilling melody lines and an impeccable buildup to a triumphant chorus. This all may have been commercial in 1982, but today would be construed as the devils music!

In Summary
It's refreshing and amazing that the general public had good taste once upon a time. Music like this deserved to succeed, simply because it was perfectly executed and conceived by masterful musicians who knew every trick in the book. It was a good idea by Asia to pursue a straight ahead AOR direction, in 1982 it had appeal and a selection of epic fifteen minute pomp overloads might not have had the same impact. Luckily shades of that style remained, simply in a condensed format. Asia could never live up to the sales and hype of the debut and although 'Alpha' the following year performed well the writing was on the wall by 1985 when the great 'Astra' album went nowhere. Does it really matter though? The debut's impact will live forever, an AOR classic for the ages.

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This article has been tagged
Tags: Asia 
#1 | Jez on June 13 2008 04:35:37
Another one of those that would appear on my Desert Island list & an album I feel deserves it's 'Classic' status. At the time,I remember being really surprised that this didn't turn out to be as Proggy as I was expecting, baring in mind who is involved, & it was really one of the first albums of it's type that it combined a more accessible mix of AOR, with a Proggy twist which worked superbly well. Of all the Asia catologue, this is my Top one,although the latter day 'Aura' also runs it close.
#2 | rostoned on July 30 2008 23:25:01
'Ride Easy' was the non LP b-side of the 'Heat Of The Moment' single and it's a FANTASTIC, highly melodic Wetton-Howe tune. It's been reissued on a recent Asia best of 'Heat Of The Moment' and on the 'Anthologia' 2 CD set which includes every track from their first 4 Geffen albums.
#3 | jeffrey343 on November 24 2011 00:25:55
Epic album that got a LOT of attention back in 1982. All my friends and I rushed out to get this one. The video to 'Only Time Will Tell' was very cool back then. My sons love this one too, so it gets a good amount of play in the car.
#4 | george_the_jack on November 24 2011 00:33:33
A fantastic album all the way.God knows how I miss those days and how jealous I am of you guys that lived and experienced the magic of albums of that quality.
#5 | gdazegod on November 24 2011 07:17:16
Yes, that might have been the case, but, albums were much harder to obtain back then. Especially the more obscure ones. Not like nowadays, when just about everything is obtainable.
#6 | george_the_jack on November 24 2011 11:03:04
This was part of the magic George!
#7 | roadrunner158 on March 16 2015 14:52:18
I just listened to this album for the first time in...I can't even remember how many years. It really stood the test of times, as it doesn't sound (too) dated at all. Fantastic songs, and if you listen carefully, you will notice all those tiny details happening in the musical background and in the brief instrumental sections. To me, it still remains the perfect blend of mainstream rock music and (kind of) progressive elements.
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