When Styx released The Grand Illusion in 1977, the words “Facebook,” “Instagram,” or “Twitter” meant nothing to the world.
The band’s seventh studio album had nothing to do with predicting future flaws of society. Social media wouldn’t storm onto the scene until the 21st century. Somehow, the message of the title track applied to the dangers of social media about as accurately as anything written 30 or more years later.
The Grand Illusion
According to Classic Rock Review, lead singer Dennis DeYoung wrote the lyrics to “The Grand Illusion” about “the struggle to overcome self-deluding superficiality in order to affirm one’s genuine value” based on the culture of the United States in 1977.
The lyrics denounced capitalism and the seemingly constant financial and social competition to achieve more than others in all walks of life.
The Grand Illusion became a huge commercial success. The wealth pushed DeYoung to point out the irony of his own lyrics. He never meant to imply that rock stars were above the grand illusion that ruled the American public.
After all, Styx and other bands turned huge profits from their own albums, concert tickets, and merchandise. They were no different than capitalists in professions that weren’t supposed to be the voices of dissent and rebellion.
Wisdom in Lyrics
The age of social media allows for anyone, anytime and anywhere, to parade the glamor of their lives on the internet for the world to see.
The narrative, however, is controlled by the person who posted it. More often than not, it’s all just an illusion.
It’s downright bizarre that these particular lyrics align so closely with the modern problems surrounding social media.
However, the depth to the lyrics of The Grand Illusion provides the type of strength and inspiration that can make music an artistic expression of reality.