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    Apocalyptic Asia Songs

    I've always really liked these two songs.

    "Wildest Dreams" from Asia (the album):



    "Countdown to Zero" from Astra:



    I hadn't noticed this until recently, but "Countdown to Zero" contains the phrase "Finger on the Trigger", which might make Asia's song of the same name from the Omega album in the reunion era a probably unintentional* callback to the early years.

    However, the main thing is just that I really enjoy "Wildest Dreams" and "Countdown to Zero". Anyone else like either or both? Are there any other good Asia songs that fit this theme that you feel are worth a mention?

    What would you all think of Asia doing a song in a similar style about a hypothetical future coronavirus mutation that creates apocalyptic conditions and leaves humankind on the brink of extinction? My first reaction is that it might be considered in poor taste to do it with this pandemic ongoing, but then I thought about it and realized "Countdown to Zero" was a cautionary song about nuclear war during a time when the NATO and Warsaw Pact countries had massive amounts of nuclear weapons pointed at each other and people were really panicked about the possibility that a nuclear war could break out (Granted, the Cold War had been going on long enough that people were about as used to it as they could be, but it was still a cause for anxiety). So, maybe it wouldn't be in poor taste. It'd definitely be topical, and would be a different sort of take than the songs I've heard about the pandemic to date, which tend not to contain much speculation on things getting even worse than they already are.


    * I say probably unintentional, because it was originally released as a Wetton-Downes tune, and later covered on an Asia album at the record label's request.
    Last edited by downbyariver; 12-27-2021, 09:29 AM.
    "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. [...] He kept telling me, 'No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that's something you want to do.'. And I have to keep making music. It's just what I do. [...] I'm a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood

    #2
    Wildest Dreams was, to me, one of Asia's best songs - there is not another Asia tune I can point to as better than this one. There are a couple of other songs on their first album which I enjoy about as much as Wildest Dreams, and nothing on their subsequent records reached this level for me. Countdown to Zero sounds very much of its time. To me, that song sounded a bit like Survivor or one of those similar 80's bands and would have fit in on a soundtrack to a Rocky film. I don't think I would relish a song by Asia about coronavirus.
    But I would be surprised to see Asia release another record. They made a nice effort after their reunion and put out some very nice material. But I don't believe those records sold very well and now their front man is gone, so it does not seem likely to me.

    Comment


      #3
      Wildest Dreams is my favourite Asia song.
      The Definitive YES Albums

      -The Yes Album-Fragile-Close to the Edge-Tales From Topographic Oceans-
      -Relayer-Going for the One-Drama-90125-Big Generator-Union-Talk-
      -The Ladder-Magnification-Fly From Here-The Quest-

      Comment


        #4
        They're better than the apoplectic Asia songs.

        Actually, I love the first album, like the second one a lot (but not enough Steve), and after that it's all a blur. Although I do like Arena a lot.
        Jeff Tiberius Grey Wolf
        My hovercraft is full of eels

        Comment


          #5
          There are a lot of apocalyptic/war Asia songs scattered across their albums. A couple of other ones are After The War from the same album(Astra) and the 9-minute Day Before The War on Arena from 1996 with John Payne, which remains the longest Asia song. There's also a song from Silent Nation which is about someone who has dreams of a coming apocalypse and is afraid it will come true or afraid to sleep. I think it's called Blue Moon Monday, I forget. For a while, Asia seemed to have either break-up songs or war songs, pretty much. Later they did branch out a bit in lyrical content, especially with the reformed original band.

          I always thought After The War should have been brought back, and I think they could have nailed it with John Payne singing. That's an overlooked Asia song. Not sure about a Covid song, a lot of people have been putting out songs about that with titles like 'Lockdown' and what have you. John Wetton probably would have wrote one, or one with references to it, but sadly he's gone. Not sure what Asia's next move is, hopefully a new creative phase with new album/s rather than just touring in a package Yes tour. In the meantime, check out Dukes Of The Orient if you liked the Asia's John Payne era, though many of you probably don't. They have two albums.

          Comment


            #6
            Pretty sure my response to listening to any Asia would be wanting the world to end as soon as possible just to make it stop...
            Sometimes the lights all shining on me, other times I can barely see.
            Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it’s been.

            Comment


              #7
              Sadly, you all will be dead, and I, will be the Sole Survivor. ;-)

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Ash Armstrong View Post
                Pretty sure my response to listening to any Asia would be wanting the world to end as soon as possible just to make it stop...
                I love your Asia commentary. 😂😂. Never wavers. Makes me laugh every Time. And. I don’t agree at all. So funny. 😉😊. I don’t love everything. But for me i do find some good stuff.

                So I have to know irks you the most about them.

                I lnow now you like Howe. I don’t think you dislike Wetton or Palmer. Not sure about Downes - maybe indifferent. Sorry if I’m wrong. Just guessing.

                So the combo and style , too pop, lyrics, just really grates on you I guesss!!

                i gotta know. Lol.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Gtkgasman View Post

                  I love your Asia commentary. 😂😂. Never wavers. Makes me laugh every Time. And. I don’t agree at all. So funny. 😉😊. I don’t love everything. But for me i do find some good stuff.

                  So I have to know irks you the most about them.

                  I lnow now you like Howe. I don’t think you dislike Wetton or Palmer. Not sure about Downes - maybe indifferent. Sorry if I’m wrong. Just guessing.

                  So the combo and style , too pop, lyrics, just really grates on you I guesss!!

                  i gotta know. Lol.
                  I'm not sure it has much to do with the personnel on board.
                  At the time they started I had no idea of their existence. I'm sure they must have been mentioned in the popular music press somewhere, but it was like there was an embargo at the time on 70s former progressive rock bands.
                  My brother (4 years my junior) bought the LP, and of course I spotted the Dean cover, and then noticed the line-up. A new band made of Steve Howe, John Wetton, Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes! On listening to it I was massively disappointed.
                  Starless and Bible Black was my introduction to King Crimson back in 1974, still one of my favourite albums today, I got into ELP with Brain Salad Surgery, Yes with Close to the Edge, buying both in 1973.
                  Asia were just a pop-rock band, courting arenas and MTV. Despite the stellar quality of the musicians involved, and the part they'd played in redefining what was possible for rock bands willing to push the boundaries, take chances, the music of Asia made bored me rigid. I'm sure managers and record company executives played a part in urging them to go down the path they took, but I had no intention of going with them.

                  That whole MTV-image culture ("have you seen this or that band's new video" became a question I dreaded being asked by friends), and the fact that most of the bands I'd grown up listening to and going to see live in the 70s no longer existed affected me deeply in the early 80s. I was taken by a friend in 1984 to my first classical concert. I remember it very well: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Simon Rattle. They played Schubert's 5th Symphony, Rodrigo's Guitar Concerto, a new piece by Toru Takemitsu, and Debussy's Images. The soloist for the Rodrigo was John Williams.
                  A short time after that I lost my job, and started working my way through the classical record collection in my local public library, reading all their books on the history of classical music, classical musicians and composers, orchestras, anything and everything. Tickets for classical concerts could be had very cheaply if you didn't mind an obscured view. I went to my first live opera, Puccini's Tosca, in 1985.
                  With the preferred media format, particularly for classical music, transitioning to CD in the mid-80s, classical record companies began reissuing their older catalogue recordings on budget-priced LPs. That meant I could buy repertoire even though I was living on unemployment benefits, and by selling off my rock albums to a second-hand shop (the proprietor was a good friend, and also my hash dealer), I could get more cash to buy more classical records....
                  I didn't go to any rock concerts between 1985 and 1989, when ABWH happened. I saw Neil Young in 1984, and Joni Mitchell the same year, both at a 16,000 seat arena. I enjoyed the concerts, but I've never liked those big arena rock shows much. That's why I skipped Year's 35th Anniversary Tour in 2004.

                  Around the early 90s, maybe mid-90s, I started listening to a lot more rock music again. There seemed to be something of a renaissance going on in progressive music..... Much of it proved to be derivative, but a lot of it wasn't.
                  It's all just music now to me. Lot of jazz too. Still can't be doing with all that 80s stuff though..
                  Sometimes the lights all shining on me, other times I can barely see.
                  Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it’s been.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Ash Armstrong View Post

                    I'm not sure it has much to do with the personnel on board.
                    At the time they started I had no idea of their existence. I'm sure they must have been mentioned in the popular music press somewhere, but it was like there was an embargo at the time on 70s former progressive rock bands.
                    My brother (4 years my junior) bought the LP, and of course I spotted the Dean cover, and then noticed the line-up. A new band made of Steve Howe, John Wetton, Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes! On listening to it I was massively disappointed.
                    Starless and Bible Black was my introduction to King Crimson back in 1974, still one of my favourite albums today, I got into ELP with Brain Salad Surgery, Yes with Close to the Edge, buying both in 1973.
                    Asia were just a pop-rock band, courting arenas and MTV. Despite the stellar quality of the musicians involved, and the part they'd played in redefining what was possible for rock bands willing to push the boundaries, take chances, the music of Asia made bored me rigid. I'm sure managers and record company executives played a part in urging them to go down the path they took, but I had no intention of going with them.

                    That whole MTV-image culture ("have you seen this or that band's new video" became a question I dreaded being asked by friends), and the fact that most of the bands I'd grown up listening to and going to see live in the 70s no longer existed affected me deeply in the early 80s. I was taken by a friend in 1984 to my first classical concert. I remember it very well: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Simon Rattle. They played Schubert's 5th Symphony, Rodrigo's Guitar Concerto, a new piece by Toru Takemitsu, and Debussy's Images. The soloist for the Rodrigo was John Williams.
                    A short time after that I lost my job, and started working my way through the classical record collection in my local public library, reading all their books on the history of classical music, classical musicians and composers, orchestras, anything and everything. Tickets for classical concerts could be had very cheaply if you didn't mind an obscured view. I went to my first live opera, Puccini's Tosca, in 1985.
                    With the preferred media format, particularly for classical music, transitioning to CD in the mid-80s, classical record companies began reissuing their older catalogue recordings on budget-priced LPs. That meant I could buy repertoire even though I was living on unemployment benefits, and by selling off my rock albums to a second-hand shop (the proprietor was a good friend, and also my hash dealer), I could get more cash to buy more classical records....
                    I didn't go to any rock concerts between 1985 and 1989, when ABWH happened. I saw Neil Young in 1984, and Joni Mitchell the same year, both at a 16,000 seat arena. I enjoyed the concerts, but I've never liked those big arena rock shows much. That's why I skipped Year's 35th Anniversary Tour in 2004.

                    Around the early 90s, maybe mid-90s, I started listening to a lot more rock music again. There seemed to be something of a renaissance going on in progressive music..... Much of it proved to be derivative, but a lot of it wasn't.
                    It's all just music now to me. Lot of jazz too. Still can't be doing with all that 80s stuff though..
                    Gotcha!

                    You know. When it came out (Asia) , And back in those days for me anyway, Everything was a surprise, and I was confused. “Oh no - is this is the end of Yes and no hope for ELP again, etc.....”. I was in HS, it had some of my fav guys, it had hooks, we played it at every party 😁, I could now see ‘old’ guys I liked on mtv, and I grew to love it to be honest. And I too can listen to Wetton all day long and never get tired, even if Some lyrics are cheesy.

                    The video with time as Indiana Jones type characters could be the worst ever. Lol. I can’t recall which tune off top of my head.

                    Ride Easy My Friend....

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I purchased the first Asia album the day it came out and played it steadily for a few weeks - The album did not get a ton of airplay right away so I had time to consider it outside of thoughts of popular opinion. I remember being very impressed, and I liked the album very much. But I remember having a view that they had purposely avoided being to proggy and I thought perhaps they wanted to first establish themselves with some more user-friendly material. I thought that, for sure, on their next record they would be more adventurous and compose some music which was closer to the style of their predecessor bands.

                      I guess I was particularly enthusiastic about that first Asia record due to my view of the potential the band had for a great record which was more in keeping with my own personal taste!

                      And then the album exploded and the rest is history. But I still love the mix and the sound choices on that album. And I still wonder why Steve Howe played that sunburst ES Artist all the time with Asia but refuses to play it outside of his work with Asia. What a lovely guitar and sound he got with that.

                      Great album cover, BTW.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        On a side note: anyone noticed Roine Stolt’s lyrics have this recurring theme of “It’s the end of the world and I feel terrible”?
                        I mean, it’s all evil money grabbing politicians and truth is dead and so on. Lighten up, Roine!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          There was a time I had 'prog-itis', where I wouldn't have liked something like Asia because they didn't write 15-minute space operas, but thankfully that only lasted a few years. High School for me was smack-dab in the middle of the 80's, so I was keen on stuff like Rush or Tears For Fears, but also discoverd Crimson, Yes, and Genesis(in that order). Didn't have any preconceptions of what Asia was supposed to be, so I was lucky to discover them a few years after the fact and they were eventually good by me. I didn't even know Yes guys were in Asia at first, let alone Palmer. And the way I found out Wetton was a member was a sticker on the cover of his solo album Caught In The Crossfire that said 'Lead Singer Of Asia - His First Solo Album Available In America For The First Time'. And the first Asia album kinda was an extension of the Drama album(first Yes album I bought and probably my favorite) in its razor-sharp future sound. So back then I suppose I was part prog and part Breakfast Club. Also liked some classical as well, but never got into opera. Unless it's Bohemian Rhapsody lol

                          I guess with Asia, or any artist, it up to taste. I can't think of anything to actively despise about them, but I totally understand disappointment if a listener was listening for one aspect of something and didn't get it or got something else instead. For me, I still haven't 'gotten' the bug for Gentle Giant for some reason, though I've tried. One of the classic prog acts I just never got into.

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