Concept albums are great sometimes. I think. I mean people like The Wall, Tommy, and I’m a fan of Quadrophenia. But sometimes a band just fucks up so badly because they can’t fucking write. Well, I’m coming back to Styx because that band is horrible. Kilroy was Here is no exception. Made in 1983, I painfully listened to the brainchild of nerds with instruments trying to critique the politically correct figureheads that were going after metal and rock. The message isn’t hidden well at all; in fact it’s more ham-handed than a butcher fisting his livestock.
The Story: Kilroy is a musician who’s been thrown in jail for being a rockstar. He escapes from jail disguised as one of the guards, a Japanese robot. Then it all goes downhill from there.
This album made me cringe every few seconds, because even the music itself isn’t good, let alone the lyrics. But the lyrics are still atrocious.
“Thank you very much-o Mr. Roboto…” Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto, aka stereotypes the song.
The album already starts off weak, with lyrics being constantly repeated in a nearly 6 minute song. SECRET SECRET, I’VE GOT A SECRET. I’M KILROY! KILROY! KILROY! KILROY! KILROY! The dude hides and then just starts yelling to the listener who he is in the last minute or two. Tactful. It’s also vaguely racist. Why were the robots Japanese? Why does the singer go “thank you very much-o.” That’s not the only word he tacks a vowel onto in the end. Why is this song half of the album’s story content?
The next song, Cold War, lacks any tact. Saying that the message is like a bull in a china-shop underestimates a bull’s ability to be graceful; it’s closer to a drunken war elephant running from the battlefield into a civilian town, and destroying everything in sight. The use of the term “cold war” in that song also makes no sense. At least it didn’t hurt as much musically as Mr. Roboto.
Don’t Let it End doesn’t fit the album story at all. We went from prison to bashing politicians, and now we’ve landed on the main character missing somebody. It literally has no relation, but I guess Styx figured they needed a romantic song to become a single later on. I also hate how often they repeat lines in this album.
High Time has the worst start on this album. The band synthesized their voices and go “bum-bum-didi” for a few seconds, before Dennis De Young starts singing. Lord do I wish he didn’t start singing. But after the non-sequitur of Don’t Let it End, we get back to the story; another tactless message where they start poking at the religious moralists of the time. The first few verses go on about a TV evangelist basically, and then like a failed ballerina doing a jump, we go to our next topic in the song.
It’s high time to start a revolution! I’m so fucking high.
Then we get a fucking dialogue scene between Kilroy and Roboto. Where else would I hear the line “up yours Roboto” besides in this shitty concept album?
There’s scatting, stuttering, unveiled messages, they literally use the term “mind police,” can I shoot myself? This is only halfway through this album.
Heavy Metal Poisoning is one of the heaviest songs on the album, but I could’ve taken a shit on a scale and it would’ve been heavier than this album. Do I even need to say the message was more thinly veiled than a horny belly dancer? The character speaking here is called Dr. Righteous. The amount of times you hear “sex and drugs” in this song makes you want to OD.
They also make fun of the trend of playing songs backwards to prove they’re Satanic, which is about the only thing I can appreciate in this album. And I guess the solo isn’t too bad for once, could’ve fooled me that it wasn’t Styx.
Just Get Through This Night starts off with a vaguely Eastern Asian/Indian/Middle Eastern instrument. I feel like it’s supposed to be a guzgheng but I have no clue. This song is supposed to be more serious than the rest of the album. It’s supposed to feel imperative in some way, but it just isn’t. The message is horrible. They’re saying that if they can weather through the storm of musical crusades, then they can do anything. And the song is so painfully sappy. I feel like they were trying to rip off David Gilmour with that solo.
Double Life. Where do I start with Double Life. Well there’s a synthesizer solo. There’s a schizophrenia joke that falls flat. Now don’t get me wrong, I condone making risqué jokes, but they need tact. Just saying “I’m schizophrenic and so am I,” isn’t a joke. Still funnier than family guy, but there’s nothing clever or funny about it. It’s just a shitty joke. This song is just shitty. Like this album.
Haven’t We Been Here Before? is much like Don’t Let It End in the sense that is doesn’t have anything to do with the album. It’s another sappy song meant to be a single I guess. This sounds like the song that makes me turn off the radio for five minutes.
Don’t Let It End. Didn’t we see this already? Yes. We did. There’s two of these. It’s not like Wish You Were Here where there’s Shine on you Crazy Diamond parts 1-6 and 9-15. No, this one has the title, but it sounds like Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto, with different lyrics, and it’s just bad. Flat-out bad. There’s scatting, weird lyrics, bad music, it makes a two minute song feel like six minutes.
So I never thought I could say “I listened to a whole Styx album,” and I’m ashamed that I did. But now it’s analysis time.
This concept album can’t decide what it wants to be. It falls somewhere between The Wall by Pink Floyd and Joe’s Garage by Frank Zappa. It has the zany music and obscene lyrics of Joe’s Garage, but it’s trying to tell a political message like The Wall, all in the form of following a rockstar. But it’s not close to either of these iconic albums, it’s not original, I’d compare it to The Crimson Idol by W.A.S.P. A nonsensical story that follows a rockstar for no good reason other than it’s the trend.
The story sucks dog dicks, the music ranges from boring to “turn this shit off you’re giving me a headache,” and the band is just terrible in general. It’s no surprise everyone forgot about this album, save for the opening song. Can we forget about Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto from any repertoire in existence as well?