Alpha (Asia album)

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Alpha
Asia - Alpha (1983) front cover.jpg
Studio album by Asia
Released 26 July 1983
Recorded February–May 1983
Studio
Genre
Length 42:16
Label Geffen
Producer Mike Stone
Asia chronology
Asia
(1982)
Alpha
(1983)
Astra
(1985)
Singles from Alpha
  1. "Don't Cry"
    Released: July 1983
  2. "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes"
    Released: October 1983
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[1]

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. Prior to Phoenix (2008), released after the quartet reunited in 2006, Alpha remained the last recording with the original line-up, as guitarist Steve Howe left in 1984.

The cover artwork was designed by Roger Dean, known for his work with Yes, which Howe and keyboard player Geoff Downes had previously been members of.

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.[2]

Reception[edit]

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 music industry expectations, which was reflected by relative decline in commercial performance. The album reached number 6 on the Billboard 200 chart[3] and has been certified platinum for over 1 million copies sold in the United States.[4] In the United Kingdom, the album peaked at number 5[5] and has been awarded a silver certification for over 60.000 copies sold.[6]

Alpha spawned two singles. The lead-off single, "Don't Cry", reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100[7] and climbed to the top of the Mainstream Rock chart.[8] It was the sole Top 40 entry for Asia in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 33.[9] 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.[7][8] 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".[10] 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".[11] 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".[1]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by John Wetton and Geoff Downes, except "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" written by Wetton and "Lying to Yourself" written by Wetton and Steve Howe.

Side one: Alpha
No.TitleLength
1."Don't Cry"3:33
2."The Smile Has Left Your Eyes"3:13
3."Never in a Million Years"3:47
4."My Own Time (I'll Do What I Want)"4:50
5."The Heat Goes On"4:57
Side two: Beta
No.TitleLength
6."Eye to Eye"3:13
7."The Last to Know"4:39
8."True Colors"3:51
9."Midnight Sun"3:48
10."Open Your Eyes"6:25
Total length:42:16

Personnel[edit]

Asia[edit]

Technical personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1983) Peak
position
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[12] 10
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[13] 9
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[14] 11
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[15] 8
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[16] 9
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[17] 18
UK Albums (OCC)[5] 5
US Billboard 200[3] 6

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[18] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[6] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[4] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Demalon, Tom. Asia: Alpha > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Asia :: Alpha". Audio Fidelity. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  3. ^ a b "Asia Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b "American album certifications – Asia – Alpha". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  5. ^ a b "Asia | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  6. ^ a b "British album certifications – Asia – Alpha". British Phonographic Industry.  Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Enter Alpha in the search field and then press Enter.
  7. ^ a b "Asia Chart History (Billboard Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  8. ^ a b "Asia Chart History (Billboard Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  9. ^ "Asia". Official Charts. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  10. ^ Considine, J. D. (15 September 1983). "Asia: Alpha : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 16 January 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  11. ^ de Whalley, Chas (21 September 1983). "Asia – 'Alpha' (Geffen GEF 25508)". Kerrang!. No. 50. London: Spotlight Publications. p. 12. 
  12. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 4327a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Asia – Alpha" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Asia – Alpha" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  15. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Asia – Alpha". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Asia – Alpha". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Asia – Alpha". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Asia – Alpha". Music Canada.