Alpha is the second studio album by British rock band Asia, released on 26 July 1983 in the United States and on 12 August 1983 in the United Kingdom by Geffen Records. Recorded at Le Studio in Morin-Heights, Quebec, and Manta Sound in Toronto from February to May 1983, the album was produced, like its multi-platinum predecessor, by Mike Stone. Guitarist Steve Howe left the band in 1984. Thus, Alpha was the last album to feature the band's original line-up until Phoenix which was released in 2008. The original line-up re-formed two years earlier in 2006.
The cover artwork was designed by Roger Dean, known for his work with Yes, of which Howe and keyboard player Geoff Downes had previously been members.
Alpha has been re-issued numerous times, especially in Japan. Platinum SHM-CD with a DSD flat transfer from original master tapes was released by Universal Music in 2014 and included "Daylight" and "Lying to Yourself" as bonus tracks. In 2017, the album was released on Audio Fidelity hybrid SACD remastered by Kevin Gray.
In comparison with the enormously successful debut album, Alpha focuses more on mainstream pop rock sounds and is less characterized by progressive rock elements. It failed to meet record company expectations, which was reflected by performance that did not match that of the first recording, angering management. The album did reach number 6 on the Billboard 200 chart and has been certified platinum for over 1 million copies sold in the United States. In the United Kingdom, the album peaked at number 5 and has been awarded a silver certification for over 60,000 copies sold.
Alpha spawned two singles. The lead-off single, "Don't Cry", reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and climbed to the top of the Mainstream Rock chart. It was the sole Top 40 entry for Asia in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 33. The B-side of the single, "Daylight", was featured as a bonus track on album original cassette editions. The second single, "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes", reached number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 25 on the Mainstream Rock charts and was the group's last major hit. Along with the singles, "The Heat Goes On" and "True Colours" were quite popular on mainstream rock radio stations.
The album has received lukewarm reception from music critics. J. D. Considine in his review for Rolling Stone described Alpha as "a sort of sonic confection, a concoction of tasty melodies, sweet harmonies and goopy lyrics intended more for greedy consumption than for artistic appreciation". Chas de Whalley of Kerrang! was less than restrained and openly said that "this album is complete and utter rubbish from beginning to end and a waste of the good vinyl it's pressed on". Tom Demalon has given the album a retrospective rating of three stars out of five on AllMusic. "Don't Cry", "My Own Time (I'll Do What I Want)" and "Open Your Eyes" have been selected as three "Track Picks". He has compared the album with Asia and has summarized that "nothing on Alpha packs the sheer sonic force of the band's debut".