Song Of The Day - 21 Nov 2008: Eyes Of A Stranger (AotY 1988)


Dic 1 2008, 3:22

Queensrÿche / Eyes Of A Stranger / Operation: Mindcrime (15) / May 1988

sablespecter's Album of the Year for 1988 (RDF: 93%)

I cannot think of another concept album that I enjoy more than Qÿ's defining masterpiece (and that includes Maiden's SSoaSS). THis one has it all: compelling storyline with a mystery at its core for the fans to debate, great songwriting, effective storytelling with a level of theater that avoids schlock, great background effects, awesome musicianship, and emotive vocals from a frontman made for the role. The songs, of course, take it from good to great, and the timelessness of the sound - that it holds up so well after 20 years - is what makes it a masterpiece.

I think my favorite element of the story is that it's not so hard to empathize with the lead character. The story/songs do a good job of laying out the story arc of this erstwhole radical BUT they also offer up a biting criticism of The System and the way the game is played for the greedy self-interests that write the rules. It makes it easy to understand the WHY behind Nikki's actions in the first place. Not only has the sound aged well, but so have the topics.

Look at this complete list: the thinnest list of the entire decade. A sad way to honor a graduation year!

Rounding out the Top Five of 1988 (in order of descending RDF):

Metallica: …and Justice for All (89% RDF): A lot of people were turned off by the song lengths, but I love long songs. If it kept more of them off the radio, the better. With the title track just under ten minutes and the shortest well over five, this one rewards focused listening. And this one got lots of it. The first single "Eye of The Beholder" is the only one that I didn't fully like. (The UK got the better end of the deal, since the much-better "Harvester of Sorrow" was the selection over there.) I like the 12/8 chorus, but that's not enough to keep my attention for the whole 6:25. I actually like the B-side Budgie cover better.

Iron Maiden: Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son (87.5% RDF): Two concept albums in a single year! But this one took second place. Only "The Prophecy" failed to receive a dot, though there are only two infrared dots on this. I think the thing I like least about this album was the continued use of the synth on here in follow-up to the last album. Fortunately they abandonded that with the next album, though the 90s brought a host of other problems.

Suicidal Tendencies: How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can't Even Smile Today (82% RDF): ST's most metal album, and chock full of good songs. Then again, it wouldn't have made the Top 5 in previous years. They were able to move to the front of the pack in a year with a weak field.

Ozzy Osbourne: No Rest for the Wicked (78% RDF): More of a return to form - and less of a glam look, sheesh! - than the previous album. I didn't mind The Ultimate Sin as much as some (though it hasn't aged well), but it was just a bit too far afield. The songs here are much improved, and so is the music. That's mainly because of the best thing about this album: the appearance of permanent partner Zakk Wylde!

Honorable Mentions (in not-entirely-correct alphabetical order by band/artist name):
Bathory: Blood Fire Death
Candlemass: Ancient Dreams
Danzig: Danzig
Judas Priest: Ram It Down
Kingdom Come: Kingdom Come
Megadeth: So Far, So Good... So What!
Slayer: South of Heaven
Testament: The New Order

Is your favorite album from 1988 on this list? Are there any others you would add?

\m/ (ò_ó) \m/
Commenti accettati
Progressive Metal


  • GrantRS

    Obviously I can't comment on the ones I don't know, but I do know five you've listed, including the top 3. Biggest surprise is the inclusion of Ram It Down - not their strongest album by a long shot, is it? Would be lucky to score 50% dot factor from me. Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II and Skyscraper would comfortably make my top 5.

    Dic 1 2008, 17:28
  • sablespecter

    If you like Zakk Wylde (something tells me no?), then listen to Ozzy's album. [i]Keeper...II[/i] just wasn't as solid as the first one. As for [i]Ram It Down[/i], it's not their strongest, though "Blood Red Skies" is wicked good. This is the "heavy half" of the double album that had originally been planned with [i]Turbo[/i] (notice that one was absent from the 1986 listing). And it does score a 50%, but that is just enough to get them onto the HM list in this weak year.

    Dic 7 2008, 7:49
  • GrantRS

    [quote]If you like Zakk Wylde (something tells me no?),[/quote] Actually, it's more to do with not really being a huge fan of Ozzy. The man's just not a very good singer. That, and he's married to a she-devil who makes all his decisions for him. (No one gets to pick a fight with Bruce Dickinson and escape my silent spite!) I've simply not got round to BLS yet. They're not high on my to buy list, but I've not really got any knowledge base to explain that. Zakk features in my library as a frequent guest of Derek Sherinian, where he does some great stuff, particularly on Evel Knievel which serves mainly as a ZW spotlight. He's also good on Day Of The Dead and God Of War where he plays alongside Allan Holdsworth and John Sykes respectively. With all the guest appearances on Derek's solo albums you'd be forgiven for forgetting they're even the solo albums of a keyboardist. Fair comments on Ram it Down, but I'm determined to find some other '88 releases that will knock it off the list. I notice you declined to comment on Skyscraper though, don't like it?

    Dic 7 2008, 12:15
  • sablespecter

    RE: Skyscraper. Ah, no, forgot to address it. I just don't know much of it since I quit buying DLR after [i]Eat 'em and Smile[/i]. And I've never been a huge fan of Steve Vai. Objectively great and technically amazing, but subjectively not up my alley. Yeah, I feel the same way about Sharon. What bugs me most is how she's always pimping him out for commercial purposes and he just goes along with it. However, that being said, this was the first commercial that I have seen (probably in years, since I HATE commercials) that actually made me laugh out loud: [youtube][/youtube] I try not to be too vocal in my criticism of Sharon because: (1) she did basically save the man's life and (2) he wouldn't want me to any more than I'd want him ranting about my own wife. So out of respect and gratitude for Ozzy, I'm like you...silent spite.

    Dic 9 2008, 21:09
  • GrantRS

    I'd like to urge you to consider giving Skyscraper a chance. After the opening pairing of California Girls and Just A Gigolo / I Ain't Got Nobody it really is a much less wacky album than Eat 'Em and Smile. Other than California Girls, the songs are all over 3 minutes, which makes them sound much more like fully realised songs than most of the tracks on the first album which, at times, sounded incomplete (5 of the 10 tracks being under 3 minutes as they were). They're still a bit happy-go-lucky and zany, but hardly any more than the majority of the Van Halen material. There's also fewer bass solos, which, isn't necessarily a good thing in my view but it probably added to the songs as songs rather than a full-on attempt to outstrip Van Hagar, who, let's face it, weren't putting up much of a fight on the technical side at that time. I don't really consider not being a fan of Vai much of an excuse because as a big fan, I don't think his influence on the DLR sound was particularly big, though you're going to expect me to say that - no doubt. Maybe there's nothing as memorable as Ain't Talkin' Bout Love, but the tracks Vai did co-write here were, IMO, geared toward assisting DLR's performance rather than stealing the spotlight (very much unlike Yankee Rose on the first album). If you absolutely hated the first one, then maybe it's just not for you, but if you're on the fence I've tried pointing out some of the major differences between the two. Who knows, it could be like that time you thought all Thin Lizzy songs were gonna be like Jailbreak? If there is such a thing as looking at albums objectively, it's far better than [i]Ram It Down[/i] anyhow. I hope your jaw didn't hit the floor too hard when I admitted to not being a huge fan of Ozzy by the way. Don't get me wrong, I've still got/heard most of his stint with Sabbath. There are some absolute classics in there but for me I'm listening for Iommi's riffs, not Ozzy. I just have very little respect for Ozzy after having seen him in reality TV and this kind of thing. The fact that he's not even a particularly good singer and reportedly doesn't really deserve his songwriting credits on the majority of his Sabbath recordings just gives me an excuse to not follow his solo career. Plus, in addition to Sharon's falling out with Bruce, they also managed to fall out with Steve Vai in the middle of a project in the 90s. How many of my top 10 artists does he want to fall out with? Anyway, it's always been one of my policies/internal hangups (that I've probably mentioned at some point, though I'm not sure I can pinpoint exactly when) that I have to respect and admire the artists I listen to in order ot enjoy their music, and just about everything I know about Ozzy makes me lose respect for him, and I've heard stuff like he used to drag a shoe around with him at the time he was recruited for Sabbath. Anyway, I'm blabbering on probably insulting someone you have a reasonable outlook on. I don't mean to try and convert you, if anything I envy you for having the opportunity to know the stuff before the Osbournes tv series was on and being able to hear it without a little voice in the back of your head telling you how much of a failure Ozzy is as a person. lol! I hope we don't fall out over that, but I think psychologically it must be very difficult for anyone who's seen even a small part of that series prior to listening to Sabbath to hear it the same way as someone who did those two things the other way round.

    Dic 9 2008, 23:42
  • sablespecter

    [quote]I don't really consider not being a fan of Vai much of an excuse...the tracks Vai did co-write here were, IMO, geared toward assisting DLR's performance rather than stealing the spotlight[/quote] Now *that's* an interesting insight, especially considering we're talking about Steve Vai. Very useful. OK, OK! I'll give it a go, although my not giving it a listen before has mainly been just because it's been on the long list of "should listen someday" and has had nothing to make it a priority over tons of other things on the list. Not because I absolutely hated the first one (I didn't) But now you have successfully bumped it up the list. As for better than [i]Ram It Down[/i]...once I've listened I'll post both RDF and we'll have a look. [quote]I hope your jaw didn't hit the floor too hard when I admitted to not being a huge fan of Ozzy[/quote] No, not at all. As I say in my sidebar, "tastes are as varied as personalities." And I understand what you mean. Fortunately for me, what the artists do in addition to their music doesn't color my evaluation of the music. (It does not hurt but nor may it help, e.g. Jada Pinkett Smith. As much as I adore her as an actress and for her charitable works, Wicked Wisdom? Ugh...ain't jiggy wit it...) [quote]How many of my top 10 artists does he want to fall out with?[/quote] None of them. He's actually very amicable and respectful of other artists (or is now though he may not have been in the nadir of his drug days...but that's the effect of drugs). That stuff has been business, and that means Sharon. She may have saved Ozzy but she thinks she has carte blanche to say anything/use anyone/act any way she likes toward others. Have you ever read what she had to say about Josh Homme, for instance? Foul. Who talks like that, especially publicly? Ozzy doesn't. Anything that does not go her way business-wise causes her to become vindictive and completely unrestrained in her personal attacks on others. (Apple never falls far from the tree, despite what she says...) "Falling out" just isn't Ozzy's way. Hell, it was him that got Sharon and Don to reconcile! [quote]I hope we don't fall out over that[/quote] Not at all! Remember, I respect the views of others and don't judge. I'm definitely not a Sharon who can only talk with those who see things the same way I do. I especially respect that you have the balls to tell me what you really think, even if it is an opposing view of an artist that ranks high for me.

    Gen 27 2009, 7:46
  • GrantRS

    [quote]Fortunately for me, what the artists do in addition to their music doesn't color my evaluation of the music.[/quote] Basically, I envy that. I can say that for most stuff, but for people whose reputation for their non-musical endeavours precedes their actual music to my ears, I can't listen in the same way. I reckon if I'd had years of Black Sabbath when to the majority of the population Ozzy was just 'some guy that bit a head off a bat' (or prefereably before that) I'd be able to have a different outlook, but...well you get the picture. I didn't hear what Sharon had to say about Josh. I'll probably google it in a minute. I could believe there is some genuine dirt to dig up on Josh though. I didn't even know Will Smith's wife had a music career. On that point though, you can bet, for example, that charitable works do help the artist's bank balance. Who would even remember who Bob Geldoff was today if it weren't for his charitable work?

    Gen 27 2009, 10:57
  • sablespecter

    [quote] could believe there is some genuine dirt to dig up on Josh though.[/quote] Nah, in this case she was just pissed about his attitude over being screwed by the Fuh-ree Ozzfest. What she said, though (if you haven't googled it) is just a nasty personal attack against him and his mother. Whatever, Sharon... [quote]Who would even remember who Bob Geldoff was today if it weren't for his charitable work?[/quote] Those of us who liked and own [i]The Wall[/i]! :D

    Feb 10 2009, 22:35
  • GrantRS


    Feb 11 2009, 10:21
  • sablespecter

    Your "?" meaning, I'm guessing, that you haven't seen [i]The Wall[/i], the film? Starring Bob Geldof as "Pink"? [youtube][/youtube]

    Mar 4 2009, 3:20
  • GrantRS

    Yes, that's exactly what I meant. Didn't even know that existed...but it's very psychedelic near the end. Ok, so perhaps a bad exmple then, but you get the point about charitable works and sales.

    Mar 4 2009, 12:54
  • sablespecter

    So did you watch the whole movie on youtube, or just watch that montage of parts above? If you haven't seen the whole movie, I think you might enjoy it even if you're not particularly a fan of the album. This is the one I've got, the 25th Anniversary Edition. I'm not sure what options are available over there.

    Mar 9 2009, 4:42
  • GrantRS

    Oh, just the one clip embedded there. Meant in the politest possible way: I don't think I'm going to be putting that at the top of my to-do list. I'm not a huge fan of visual art, particularly if it's dealing in metaphors for feelings and drug-use. Some former flat-mates of mine made me watch [i]Requiem For A Dream[/i], telling me it was 'a masterpiece' and 'genius' and that 'the soundtrack is superb', but I can honestly say it was my least favourite film ever. I'm almost exclusively a comedy person when it comes to film choices, making exceptions for Star Wars/George Lucas-type things and light-hearted action/comedy hybrids mainly. Might come as a surprise to you that I'm so uncultured in that sense, but that's just the way I am.

    Mar 11 2009, 12:02
  • sablespecter

    [quote]I don't think I'm going to be putting that at the top of my to-do list. I'm not a huge fan of visual art[/quote] Ah, I see. That's a useful bit of insight to have before I get too far along with the [b]Music on Film[/b] selections. A fair share of those will be documentaries, though. [i]Requiem For A Dream[/i]...meh. I wouldn't have led you to that one. "Star Wars/George Lucas-type things" - I already have one queued up for you. It's going to be the next [b]Music on Film[/b] selection, in fact. I just like [i]The Wall[/i] because of the way it brings Roger's imagined story and visions to the screen. Also a big hit when you're a rebellious youth, which I was when I saw it, and it's just stayed with me.

    Mar 13 2009, 4:18
  • GrantRS

    I'm okay with documentaries, just not psychedelic visual metaphors.

    Mar 13 2009, 13:00
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