Remember Styx? Of course you do. As epic as Led Zeppelin, but as clean and sweet as a Broadway show tune, Styx was the sound of your pre-preadolescence, the budding of musical autonomy and the beginning of taste. You were just old enough to ride around in cars with your older cousins, and listen to the classic-rock station while you raked leaves, when you began to bob your head and sing along and look forward to hearing some songs more than others ("Mr. Roboto," "Come Sail Away," and "Lorelei," to be precise) and even got up the nerve to call the DJ and make requests. Styx was your first, a primer, a glimpse of an adult galaxy greater than you could have imagined. Later, you would forget Styx—you would be ashamed that you knew them at all.

You nodded too eagerly when your new friends mocked them. You didn't send a card when Tipper Gore accused them of backmasking Satanic messages into their songs. During those long, fraught years when they fought and broke up and lead singer Dennis DeYoung left the band and announced he had some weird disease that made him extremely tired and sensitive to light, you never called. Not even once. Now Styx is a desiccated shadow of its Paradise Theater days, playing demolition derbies and state fairs, just a few clicks from the livestock auctions and the pig races. You should swing by and say hello. You at least owe Styx the common courtesy. It won't take long. You'll both feel better. recommended