I am planning on doing a tribute radio show this Sunday August 16th at 10am EDT, dedicated to Asia and all variations of the band. So that means: Wetton era, Payne era, GPS and also Dukes of the Orient. This had me thinking about how I would rank all of these albums. For this list, I am only including studio albums credited to the band Asia.
So it requires Geoff Downes for it to be included here. I love the GPS album and both Dukes albums but for this, I’m excluding them. I am also excluding “Now and Then” since it’s partially a greatest hits album. So that leaves 12 albums! Here’s my list!
These three “final” albums of the second Wetton era just never quite connected with me. There are some good songs on each but each have filler. Honestly the placement of them is really interchangeable. “XXX” probably has a few more stronger songs on it.
The first two albums of the Payne era are both very good overall. I like them about the same and each do have a few throwaway songs. But the lead singles on each album are two of my favorite songs by any era. “Aqua” gets a slight nod for having a bit more connection to the classic Asia sound.
The first album of the second Wetton era is easily the best of that bunch. I love quite a few songs on this one: “Never Again, “Sleeping Giant,” “Parallel Worlds,” and “An Extraordinary Life.” The problem for me is that the drums are buried in the mix! There’s no snap at all. This one would land much higher if not for that.
6. Silent Nation
I like these two Payne era albums about the same. I love both! “Silent Nation” has an awesome band lineup with Gutherie Govan and Chris Slade (each were on the “Aura” album too). There are some really good songs on each album. “Arena” has the title track plus “Heaven,” “Falling,” and “Never.” “Silent Nation” has one of my favorite Asia songs “Midnight” plus “Blue Moon Monday,” “Ghost in the Mirror” and “The Prophet.” Each could easily overtake “Alpha.”
At the time it came out, this album was a bit of a let down. Years later, I have a better appreciation for it. The hits are well known but my favorite songs are “Open Your Eyes,” “The Heat Goes On” and the bonus track “Daylight.” It doesn’t rank higher than 4 because my top 3 are solid.
These two albums are essentially equal, although they couldn’t be more different. “Aura” is by far my favorite Payne era album and is highly recommended if you love great songs with amazing hooks. The album is packed with some of my favorite Asia songs like “Awake,” “Ready to Go Home,” “Under the Gun,” “Wherever You Are,” “Hands of Time,” and so many more.
“Astra” is so underrated. The band had so much fire with the addition of Mandy Meyer on guitar. He gives this album serious TEETH! “Go” is my favorite Asia song and then you also have “Rock and Roll Dream,” “Hard on Me,” Voice of America” and the phenomenal “Too Late.” These two albums are essential in my opinion and probably overlooked. Love both!
Well duh. The first album stands out as one of my favorite releases of all time by anyone. This was a game changer for me. Every note on this album is fucking perfect and that includes the b-side “Ride Easy.” This is an album that was impossible to top and I think that is one reason why the band fell apart. It’s an iconic album that merges prog with radio friendly rock. No one did that better.
So there you have it! I should mention that I do love the new songs that were on “Now and Then” but there’s no good way to compare 4-5 songs to full albums. How did I do? Let me know what your Asia list looks like!
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