Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Styx - "Too Much Time on My Hands"

Too Much Time On My Hands - Paradise Theatre

(Debuted March 21, 1981, Peaked #9, 19 Weeks on the Chart)

Styx is one of those bands who have very rabid fans and detractors who are just as rabid. They were a study in contrasts: too theatrical to be a hard rock band, too rock-influenced for a progressive band, able to knock out the ballads as well as the straight-ahead rockers. There was a lot that could be loved or hated about the group.

The concept album Paradise Theater was one of their finest moments. Using a defunct theater in the city's hometown of Chicago as a corollary for America between the Roaring 20s and the recent past, it had its share of theatrics as well as a healthy dose of guitar-driven rock. "Too Much Time on My Hands" was squarely in the latter group, though it was infused with a synthesizer that was integral to the overall sound and a great performance on the drums by John Panozzo. The song was written by Tommy Shaw, who also sings lead and lends a memorable guitar solo in the instrumental bridge.

There's a story in the lyrics as well, as Shaw sings about hanging out at a bar all day long and trying to seem like the most popular guy around. And he believes it, too...that is, as long as he's picking up the tab. That is something that can be extrapolated to represent many members of the "Me" generation, as well as the politicians who try to be all things to all people. For a band whose critics claimed was all pomp and theatrics, there's actually some depth to "Too Much Time On My Hands."

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