A remastered collection of Asia’s greatest hits, which is actually pretty great.
Kronomyth 9.0: Then & now & then again.
Then & Now wasn’t a proper compilation of Asia’s classic hits; for that, fans had to wait until The Very Best of Asia. (Geffen didn’t make fans wait nearly so long for subsequent compilations, but that’s another story.) Despite its dubious timing (no one was clamoring for an Asia compilation in 2000), there are several things working in The Very Best’s favor: digital remastering, a generous selection that includes every hit from their first four albums and bonus treats for non-45 collectors (the nonalbum B sides “Lying to Yourself” and “Ride Easy”). Working against it is that horrible cover, the omission of “One Step Closer,” and the fact that the selection technically spans only a few years (“Days Like These” is the lone entry from 1990).
It would be nice to reconcile the Geffen recordings with the band’s subsequent minor-label work one of these days, or at least have a Very Best of Payne in the Asia to go along with this. Now, reading my review of Alpha, you would expect I had nothing nice to say about a compilation that regurgitates a good half of it (a figure of speech, since there isn’t a good half). But I honestly enjoyed those songs this time around. Maybe it’s the digital remastering or the fact that I haven’t listened to Alpha in a really long while, but I didn’t have any problems with “Never in a Million Years,” “The Heat Goes On” or “Open Your Eyes.” As for “Don’t Cry,” you can remaster that turkey all you like and it still won’t fly. Mostly it’s the material from the first album that keeps this compilation afloat, but the remainder doesn’t sag as much as I expected, making this (certainly at the time and probably still today) the very best way to get Asia’s essential early work on a single disc.
1. Heat of the Moment (3:50)
2. Only Time Will Tell (4:44)
3. Sole Survivor (3:40)
4. Time Again (Geoff Downes/Steve Howe/Carl palmer/John Wetton) (4:45)
5. Wildest Dreams (5:10)
6. Here Comes The Feeling (John Wetton/Steve Howe) (3:30)
7. Don’t Cry (3:32)
8. Daylight (3:29)
9. The Smile Has Left Your Eyes (John Wetton) (3:13)
10. Lying To Yourself (John Wetton/Steve Howe) (4:13)
11. The Heat Goes On (4:55)
12. Never In A Million Years (3:46)
13. Open Your Eyes (6:26)
14. Go (4:06)
15. Voice of America (4:26)
16. Too Late (John Wetton/Geoff Downes/Carl Palmer) (4:11)
17. Days Like These (Steve Jones) (4:01)
18. Ride Easy (John Wetton/Steve Howe) (4:35)
Songs written by John Wetton/Geoff Downes unless noted.
Compilation produced by Mike Ragogna.
Panoramic photography by Duff Everton. Design by Drew Fitzgerald for FACET creative NY/LA. Art direction by Vartan.
Released on CD on June 6, 2000 in the US (Geffen, 069 490 554-2).