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Thread: Monolith 40 Years Later... KANSAS

  1. #26
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    >>Secondly, why is a Kansas album not on the main page?<<

    i thought the main page was only for RIP threads and shameless promotions.

  2. #27
    Listened to both Masque and Song For America yesterday on the way to work. Both hold up pretty well. Nothing massively mindblowing, but very enjoyable.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BravadoNJ View Post
    >>Secondly, why is a Kansas album not on the main page?<<

    i thought the main page was only for RIP threads and shameless promotions.

  4. #29
    Huge Kansas fan, but like everyone, your mileage may vary. To me Monolith had good songs but was not a good album. "How My Soul Cries Out for You" just tries to hard and doesn't pull off the ambition. But on the other hand "Away from You" simply brings back Walsh at his Masque or debut best. It shows the types of songs he really felt good writing. The Livgren songs on Monolith are the hits but sound like a guy going through the motions and checking boxes.

    I rarely go back to Monolith. I listen to Audio Visions much, much more often. The first 5 (debut, Song for America, Masque, Leftoverture, and PoKR) are such classics that to expect 6 in a row may be too much. They are allowed one good not great CD.

    Vinyl Confessions and Drastic Measures each fit the category of good songs, not a good album that started with Monolith. The funny thing is that Elefante wrote songs that were "rockier" than Walsh, yet Livgren couldn't make room for them because of the desire to have these be Christian albums.

  5. #30
    The problem with Monolith is that the songs are divided 50-50 between Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh. Livgren's songs range from very good ("On The Other Side," "A Glimpse of Home") to quite good ("People of the South Wind") to pretty good ("Reason to Be," clearly meant to be "Dust in the Wind" with positive lyrics). Walsh's songs are, as usual, awful: "Angels Have Fallen" is his attempt to write a song as good as Livgren's and mostly failing. And all the others are worse.

    In contrast, on previous albums, Livgren's writing had dominated. That's why they're so good. For example, seven of the eight songs on Leftoverture have Livgren as first author. On Song For America, Livgren's three songs--all of which are masterpieces, and all of which are better than anything on Monolith--are so long they constitute two thirds of the music on the album, the rest of which is mostly dreadful.

    Still, Monolith is a good album; after all, you don't have to listen to the Walsh songs. Things got horribly worse afterward:

    Kansas (1974): Grade: A
    Song For America (1975): Grade: A+
    Masque (1975): Grade: A-
    Leftoverture (1976): Grade: A+
    Point of Know Return (1977): Grade: A
    Monolith (1979): Grade: A-
    Audiovisions (1980): Grade: C
    Vinyl Confessions (1982): Grade: F
    Drastic Measures (1983): Grade: F
    Power (1986): Grade: C
    In the Spirit of Things (1988): Grade: C

  6. #31
    Member Since: 3/27/2002 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rarebird View Post
    Today I played Point of know return, which is the only album I own on vinyl. It was my introduction to Kansas and it still has a special place. I have the first 5 albums on CD and after that I stopped, more or less. I have a Best of, Device Voice Drums and Prelude Implicit and thinking of adding some more to my collection.
    Monolith and Somewhere To Elsewhere would be 2 to get next
    Why is it whenever someone mentions an artist that was clearly progressive (yet not the Symph weenie definition of Prog) do certain people feel compelled to snort "thats not Prog" like a whiny 5th grader?

  7. #32
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    I knew this was coming

    Kansas (1974): A (never did netter IMHO)
    Song For America (1975): B+ (proggier lengthy tracks but not totally convincing >> trying too hard IMHO)
    Masque (1975): C (of course, discovering it some 25 years after release didn't help, but ultimately my high hopes upon discovery were quickly denied)
    Leftoverture (1976): B+ (overated, IMHO, but Magnum & Cheyenne are in the pinnacle)
    Point of Know Return (1977): C+ (AOR galore, Dust crushing most if not all of the album, but the shortest Spider and longest Hopelessly tracks are the best by a mile, IMHO)
    Monolith (1979): C+ (see my other posts)
    Audiovisions (1980): D (Curtain and NOT being the only thing to save it from an F grade)
    Vinyl Confessions (1982): F (certainly not helped by Walsh's absence, I dislike Elefante's presence on an already weak collection of songs >> no redeeming values, IMHO)
    Drastic Measures (1983): F- (even worse and a very stupid title from such a bad album)
    Power (1986): D (the return of Walsh and temporary housing arrangements of Steve Morse don't do much, but this is the late-80's, after all)
    In the Spirit of Things (1988): X (not sure I even heard this one - didn't review it on PA - but I can't see it better than Power).
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by saucyjackstl View Post
    The first 5 (debut, Song for America, Masque, Leftoverture, and PoKR) are such classics that to expect 6 in a row may be too much.
    I agree with this completely. Next weekend I'm going to visit an old high school buddy who is a life-long Kansas fan (I'm guessing he's seen them several dozen times, going back to the 70s). I'll be interested to spin Monolith with him and discuss how it has held up to our ears.
    David
    Happy with what I have to be happy with.

  9. #34
    Somewhat of a letdown compared to the previous albums, but still some good stuff and better than Audiovisions. Problem for the band is that they didn't have any radio hits on this album, or album track that really caught on as live classics, although they seem to be doing "Reason to Be" live quite a bit lately. A Glimpse of Home is a favorite of mine.

  10. #35
    Studmuffin Scott Bails's Avatar
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    I still think "All the World" (from Masque) is the most underrated song in their catalog.
    Music isn't about chops, or even about talent - it's about sound and the way that sound communicates to people. Mike Keneally

  11. #36
    If I had to rate the back catalog, and it would change 10 minutes later:

    Masque
    Kansas
    Leftoverture
    Somewhere To Elsewhere
    Song for America
    Point of Know Return
    Audio Visions
    Prelude Implicit
    Power
    Vinyl Confessions
    Monolith
    -----
    Nothing else matters

  12. #37
    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    For me-

    Leftoverture
    Kansas
    Point of Know Return
    Song for America
    Masque
    Monolith
    Somewhere To Elsewhere
    Freaks Of Nature
    Audio Visions
    Vinyl Confessions
    Prelude Implicit
    In The Spirit of Things
    Always Never The Same (had three originals on it)
    Power
    Drastic Measures

  13. #38
    Song for America
    Kansas
    Point of know return
    Masque
    Leftoverture
    Monolith

    I don't care about the rest.

    Production has marred Masque in particular, and Leftoverture. It weighs on my opinion.

    Anyway, great band.

  14. #39
    Having got on board with Point and then acquiring the back catalogue, I was hugely disappointed with Monolith. Only On The Other Side and A Glimpse Of Home made it to my iPod. Put those two with the 4 good tracks from Audio Visions plus Livgren’s Ground Zero and Mask Of The Great Deceiver and you’d have a great album, if delayed a year or so.

    Only my opinion of course.

  15. #40
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    Eh....

    SFA
    LO
    POKR
    Kansas
    Vinyl Confessions
    Monolith
    STE
    FON
    Prelude

  16. #41
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    Here's my rankings...

    Leftoverture
    Point of Know Return
    Song for America
    Kansas
    Somewhere to Elsewhere
    Vinyl Confessions
    Masque
    Audio Visions
    Prelude Implicit
    Monolith

    <big gap>

    Power
    Drastic Measures

    Note: Do not own Spirit of Things and Freaks of Nature and never heard them in their entirety.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Bails View Post
    I still think "All the World" (from Masque) is the most underrated song in their catalog.
    One of my all time favorites as well. For me the whole "Masque" album may be their overall best.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Bails View Post
    I still think "All the World" (from Masque) is the most underrated song in their catalog.
    Really? Wow, I think it's easily the worst song of the 'classic era,' and that includes a lot of Steve Walsh's bozo-rock efforts. Each to their own!

  19. #44
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    FWIW, my rankings - not restricted to studio albums:

    Song for America
    Two for the Show
    Leftoverture
    Point of Know Return
    Kansas
    Masque
    Monolith
    Audio-Visions
    In the Spirit of Things
    Power

    I really have no interest in the rest.

  20. #45
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    Monolith is a good lp, came out right about when Tull released "A" and Yes released "Drama", Brand X released - Do they Hurt?, Camel had I can see your House From Here, Genesis - 1980 - Duke, King Crimson - 1981 - Discipline, UK - 1979 - Night after night. Based on my recollection of those releases, that Kansas held up pretty well against the other "names" in the prog world. One look at these titles is enough evidence to see how things were collectively trending for big label prog at the turn of the great 70's decade.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Bails View Post
    I still think "All the World" (from Masque) is the most underrated song in their catalog.
    Yes, that it a wonderful song, quite unique in a good way.

  22. #47
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    I gave Monolith a through-listen yesterday for the first time in 30+ years. Not as bad as I feared, but a couple of things did make me cringe: "How My Soul..." which is just all over the place, and not in a good way (seriously, that bridge is just painful ["I didn't think I needed you..."]) and "People of the Southwind" which I remember finding insipid when I was 18 and it hasn't improved to my ears today. I concur with those who have said there is quite a lot of formulaic material, derivative of songs from the first five records. Several times during the course of listening I found myself thinking that a passage or phrase was eerily similar to another track from a previous album. Whether it was the music or just my changing tastes at that point in my life, much as I adored the first five, after buying Monolith and hearing Audio-Visions, I was out.

    My opinions only!
    David
    Happy with what I have to be happy with.

  23. #48
    Monolith is just as good as all the Kansas albums before it. Kansas in the 70's was awesome. The slide came in the 80's.

    Why was "No One Together" left off the album? Also, was the version of that song we know recorded during the Monolith sessions, or was it just rehearsed there and later re-recorded during the Audio-Visions sessions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Bails View Post
    I still think "All the World" (from Masque) is the most underrated song in their catalog.
    Absolutely.
    Last edited by yesstiles; 4 Days Ago at 08:05 AM.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Bails View Post
    I still think "All the World" (from Masque) is the most underrated song in their catalog.
    Good song that evolves as it goes along. I’m not embarrassed by the lyrics like so many other are. Monolith is a decent album. Some good stuff and some weak songs. I never cared for the sound of it though. For some reason it sounded dull.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  25. #50
    All the World is excellent. If only the guitars didn't sound like broken, electric saws...

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