Dennis DeYoung spent a fair chunk of his solo career denying the very sound of Styx (not quite the same thing as denying their songs, which he would continue to sing), going as far as Broadway to distinguish himself from the band and writing concept albums. One Hundred Years from Now, initially released in Canada in 2007 and appearing two years later in the States, retains some dramatic elements, but despite some heavy themes, it's more notable for its sound.
Like most Spanish maestros de capilla, Puebla, Mexico, Padilla composed a great number of chanzonetas or villancicos. These charming and melodious works encompass exquisite charm and refined elegance to unabashed humour; they are frequently framed with dance rhythms, often in a characteristic uneven triple time with abundant syncopation. All the words in this gender have melodic instrumental lines and accompaniments with great variety of possibilites: from a solo voice to a full choir.
The instruments were characteristic of Renaissence music: recorders, dulzian, shawms, cornets, voils, organ, crumhorns, etc. In Mexico, villancicos achieved such popularity that they were published even when paper was very scarce, and important works such as some writings of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz could not be printed.
Other than being their first platinum-selling album, The Grand Illusion led Styx steadfastly into the domain of AOR rock. Built on the strengths of "Come Sail Away"'s ballad-to-rock metamorphosis, which gained them their second Top Ten hit, and on the high harmonies of newcomer Tommy Shaw throughout "Fooling Yourself," The Grand Illusion introduced Styx to the gates of commercial stardom. The pulverized growl of "Miss America" reveals the group's guitar-savvy approach to six-string rock, while De Young pretentiously struts his singing prowess throughout the title track. Shaw's induction into the band has clearly settled, and his guitar work, along with James Young's, is full and extremely sharp where it matters most. Even the songwriting is more effluent than Crystal Ball, which was released one year earlier, shedding their mystical song motifs for a more audience-pleasing lyric and chord counterpoise. Reaching number six on the album charts, The Grand Illusion was the first to display the gelled accomplishments of both Tommy Shaw and Dennis De Young as a tandem.
The Ferrarese Luzzasco Luzzaschi, a pupil of Cipriano de Rore and teacher in turn of Girolamo Frescobaldi, much admired and praised by the self-same Gesualdo da Venosa, has passed into history as the principal musical inspiration for the Concerto delle Dame, that vocal trio with instrumental accompaniment (for which Glossa has very recently produced a new recording).