Access To Rock

Access To Rock

Access To Rock

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.


  • Verse 1

    Welcome to the Grand IllusionCome on in and see what’s happeningPay the price, get your tickets for the showThe stage is set, the band starts playingSuddenly your heart is poundingWishing secretly you were a star

    People scroll through Instagram looking at the lives of the rich and famous. They feel an unexplainable allure to see things that aren’t present in their own lives. Most of them secretly wish they lived the lives of the stars.

    They sometimes feel nervous and inadequate with the perception that they can’t measure up to the people at the supposed top of society.

  • Verse 2

    But don’t be fooled by the radioThe tv or the magazinesThey show you photographs of how your life should beBut they’re just someone else’s fantasy

    The mediums might’ve been different in 1977, but the ideas on the radio, the tv, and the magazines transferred pretty directly right onto social media platforms.

    Despite what modern culture might suggest, photographs on social media don’t define any one person. Don’t be fooled.

    Does a picture tell 1000 words? Not really. Try to write 1000 words in a social media post. You’ll quickly run out of characters on Twitter, or you’ll lose the incredibly short attention span of viewers on other platforms. Pictures might get much more attention, but they don’t always tell an accurate story.

    The person who posts a photograph of how your life should be is pushing an intentional narrative. More often than not, you’re meant to assume the ideal circumstances portrayed in someone else’s fantasy.

  • Verse 3

    So if you think your life is complete confusion
    Because you never win the game
    Just remember that it’s a grand illusion
    And deep inside we’re all the same
    We’re all the same

    Life isn’t a game, and there is no scoreboard. Someone with more followers than you isn’t winning.

  • Verse 4

    So if you think your life is complete confusion
    Because your neighbors got it made
    Just remember that it’s a grand illusion
    And deep inside we’re all the same

    Your neighbors might look like they have it all figured out. They might post Facebook pictures of their smiling children and their wonderful accomplishments. Be happy for them, but never buy into the perception of something meant to look completely glamorous without any flaws.

    People have no incentive to expose their own inadequacies in social media. If you compare the confusion in your own life to someone who seems happy in every social media post, you’re not seeing the big picture properly.

    Deep inside, we’re all the same. That includes the parts of you that are a little messed up. Nobody’s life is free of problems, regardless of how hard they try to convince you that’s the case.

  • Verse 5

    America spells competition, join us in our blind ambition
    Get yourself a brand new motor car
    Someday soon we’ll stop to ponder what on earth’s this spell we’re under
    We made the grade and still we wonder who the hell we are

    How do you really make the grade in life? Hundreds of thousands of followers might land someone a big-time check with enough money to pay for a brand new car. However, that blind ambition only creates a race to nowhere.

    Styx told you a long time ago that this perceived competition was all just a grand illusion.

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