Oh, this is a crappy song.
I was twelve when this came out, and I hated it then. I hated the neo-classical piano and the whooshing synthesizers and the whole aliens-and-shit angle, which just comes out of nowhere and...everything about it, basically.
Except. That whole "reflections in the waves spark my memories" bit. "Some happy, some sad/I think of childhood friends and the dreams we had." When I'd hear this song in the middle of the night on the AM radio in my bedroom, those lines seemed authentically rueful, the lament of someone who'd been around, a message to me that everything in life doesn't always turn out for the best--after all, if Dennis DeYoung's friends could miss out on the pot of gold, what hope did the rest of us have?
These days, obviously, I realize that part of the song is just as phony as everything else. But once upon a time it served its purpose--it injected a bit of melancholia into a profoundly stupid pop song, and it made me realize that even the most placid surface could mask troubling depths. Which means on some level I'll always be grateful for a Styx song. My life, consequently, has been lived in shame.