It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these columns. Hell, I haven’t written anything in a while! So it was time. And it was time to focus on one of my favorite bands, Kansas. The band have 15 studio albums. So here we go!
15. Drastic Measures
This is easily my least favorite album by Kansas. It just doesn’t sound like them. Kerry Livgren was clearly out of ideas. John Elefante was running the show and the songs were crappy 80s lite-metal.
14. Freaks of Nature
13. Always Never the Same
The two mid-90s albums are essentially even for me. I suppose the orchestra gives “Always Never the Same” the nod but really neither sound inspired. Steve Walsh sounds pretty rough in general.
11. Vinyl Confessions
Kansas was and then Kansas is now. Another pair of albums that are basically even for me. “Audio-Visions” was split because Walsh and Livgren had two different ideas for the band’s direction. “Vinyl Confessions” suffers from losing Walsh, though Elefante does a decent job on this album. “Play the Game Tonight” is still one of my favorite Kansas songs, but the rest of the album isn’t quite on par with that song.
10. The Prelude Implicit
The band’s last album with new vocalist Ronnie Platt. Platt doesn’t really sing the old material as well as Walsh (who would??) but he sounds solid on the songs on this album. And even without Livgren, the songs are all fairly strong and consistent. I can’t say there are any real classics. I like the album more than I did but this one could slide down on my list but not upward.
9. In the Spirit of Things
I love both albums with Steve Morse. This one COULD have been amazing but the record company fucked with the band. There are 3 songs by outside writers that were clearly designed to get hits. None are bad but they don’t fit the rest of the album at all. This was basically a concept album…with 3 unrelated tracks. Great otherwise.
A very underrated album! I did a review for it on this site and stand by what I said. Sure, it’s not perfect or as great as the ones prior to it but it’s still excellent. It’s a lock at this spot.
5. Song for America
The first 3 albums are all amazing and interchangeable in these slots. For me they are all equal. Each have a mild clunker or two but otherwise they are perfect. All are essential.
4. Somewhere to Elsewhere
The return of Kerry Livgren and what a return. Walsh got what he could out of his voice and did a great job. Other than “Disappearing Skin Tight Blues,” it’s a perfect album. “Myriad” is one of my favorite Kansas songs.
I LOVE THIS ALBUM! And yes that includes “All I Wanted”! “Three Pretenders” is a vastly overlooked song and Walsh’s vocal on “Can’t Cry Anymore” gives me chills every time. This can slide one slot and even be as high as #1 for me. Depends on my mood.
2. Point of Know Return
The two classics. I really can’t pick. To be fair, I do like “Power” about as much as these two. Still, I will give a SLIGHT edge to “Leftoverture” but if I wrote this tomorrow I might go the other way. Why? “Miracles Out of Nowhere” is my favorite Kansas song. Plus, you have “The Wall.” Can’t really go wrong with either album!
So there’s my list. What do you all think? Give me your list and tell me why I am wrong!