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No, this isn’t about something serious. Rarely will I discuss serious things on my blog. Drastic Measures is the title of my favorite album by the band Kansas. My guess is that their most popular album is either Leftoverture or Point of No Return (both of which I love), and so perhaps in that way they’re in some odd sense objectively better albums, but the value of an album is always subjective, and this blog isn’t about your opinions. 😛
Sure this album’s hits weren’t as popular among their 18 hits. None of its songs are in VCR’s top ten list of Kansas songs. In fact, Leftoverture and Point of No Return are the only two albums with more than one entry. The same can be said for Louder’s list, Classic Rock History, Return of Rock, and Chaospin. I think there’s a clear consensus, but just like with my favorite Rush album, Grace Under Pressure (also an unpopular choice), the heart wants what it wants, and as far as Kansas is concerned, mine wants Drastic Measures.
Being that this is a subjective issue, there’s no point in providing an argument, but there is something that I can say about the album that I find interesting. First, an anecdote. The first concert I ever attended was Billy Joel on The Bridge tour. Among many great aspects to his show was his ability to reduce the intensity at exactly the right moment (ordinary among true pros). His first three songs were high energy, followed by a slower song, Piano Man (which nowadays he reserves for the final encore), and then he ramped it right up again. Once we got to Only the Good Die Young, no one sat down again . . . but I digress.
Drastic Measures mirrors this technique on a smaller scale. The first three songs (Fight Fire with Fire, Everybody’s My Friend, and Mainstream) are high energy, with the first two being the songs released as singles. After that, they slow it down a bit with Andi. Andi is a song that’s either ahead of its time or a prediction of the end of the world, depending on your politics. I’ll let all of you dopes argue over that one.
In any event, Andi has a wonderful sound to it. After Andi, everything picks up again. Don’t let Dust in the Wind fool you. Kansas has always been a high-energy band, and Drastic Measures is no exception.
I know we no longer listen to 8-track tapes, so we can listen to songs in whatever order we want, but even today you may sometimes just want to put on an album and let it ride exactly how the artist intended. This is the best way to enjoy my favorite album, Duke by Genesis, and it’s certainly the best way to listen to Drastic Measures.
. . . which I’ve been doing an awful lot lately.