JOURNEY

"Eclipse" (Nomota LLC; 2011)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

The last Journey CD I reviewed was "Generations," and that album was fronted by Steve Augeri. My, how things can change, but in a good way. Arnel Pineda is now the lead and hopefully last singer for Journey and, after watching a special on how Arnel got that gig, I'm sure he'll be around for a long time. "Revelation" (2008) was the first disc with Arnel. It was also a double disc with original songs from Arnel and Journey's previous albums, a bunch of soundtrack songs and a DVD. It was a huge launch for Arnel. I think it was two-part for people to know where Journey came from and how far they are looking ahead with Arnel. "Eclipse" is Journey all on their own and, being a fan of their music, it leads me to state that I don't care who is singing for Journey. I'm just glad that they are still making music.

This disc is a hard-rocking one and it seems like Schon feels like he has something to prove and I think he does it with his incredible playing. His "slow burn" is on full display here and people need to recognize his continuous contribution to music. Arnel sounds just like Arnel (notice I didn't compare him to Steve Perry). Steve Perry has been gone for a long time, let's just give credit where it's due! The tracks on "Eclipse" are well-written and I feel that having Arnel at the helm is just what Journey needs to keep their fans happy and their musical legacy alive. The rest of the band rounds our Journey's sound: Cain on keys, Deen on the drums and Ross with his cool bass. "Eclipse" is Journey's fourteenth album.

Journey: Arnel Pineda - lead vocals; Neal Schon - lead guitars, backing vocals, co-producer; Jonathan Cain - keyboards, rhythm guitar, backing vocals, co-producer; Ross Valory - bass, backing vocals; Deen Castronovo - drums, percussion, backing vocals.

For more information check out http://www.journeymusic.com.

"Generations" (Sanctuary; 2005)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

I know what you're thinking: Journey without Steve Perry is like Van Halen without David Lee Roth. Well, give props to Journey for finding a sound-a-like in the form of Steve Augeri and pressing on. We should give props to Mr. Augeri as well; he had retired from music and was working in the maintenance department for The Gap in Manhattan. In 1998, he was chosen to replace Steve Perry as the lead singer for Journey.

The thing that made Journey so versatile is that all the members, like The Eagles, were vocalists. Each member here belts out tunes of their own. Augeri sounds like Perry but doesn’t try to copy him; he has his own voice and style and adds his personal touch to each song he sings. Sometimes you think Perry is behind the mic and what’s wrong with having a set of pipes like Perry anyway? (Although my music teacher once told me that girls always swoon over the tenors but go home with the baritones). 

Even though they replaced Perry here, the music doesn’t change. It’s some of their more solid work; Schon rips out the riffs and solos while Cain bangs the keys. It’s still Journey -- just updated. The lyrics are standard and with each vocalist singing you can tell them apart and they each sing songs fit for any Journey tune. “Every Generation” is sung by Cain and it’s a classic sounding Journey song.

The final track, “Beyond The Clouds,” is a fitting Journey song in that Steve Augeri outshines Steve Perry and comes into his own.

I was lucky enough to see Journey on their "Generations" tour. They played for two hours. Steve Augeri sang half the songs and Dean Castronovo sang the other half. Dean sounded more like Steve Perry that Steve Augeri did on a few tunes!

The best tracks here are: “Faith In The Heartland,” “Place In Your Heart,” “A Better Life,” and “Beyond The Clouds.”

Journey: Steve Augeri – vocals; Neal Schon – guitar; Ross Valory – bass; Jonathan Cain – keys, vocals; Dean Castronovo – drums, vocals.

For more information, check out http://www.journeymusic.com

"Arrival" (Columbia; 2001)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Journey is one of my favorite groups and I hated to give them only 2 guitarsaws -- it’s like scolding your grandparent, but sometimes it has to be done. After I woke up from my nap spanning tracks 2 - 6, I had to check my MP3 player to make sure it was still Journey. They just started off so strong and then tended to fluff my pillow after that. The third song, “Signs Of Life,” has a recycled solo from days gone by. Okay, enough rebuking.

Since Steve Perry left, Journey had to continue on, and they found Steve Augeri as the next vocal leader for a band that should never call it quits anyway. Steve does a good job of fooling you to think about what Perry sounded like, but it’s the new Steve who just sings and doesn’t put as much emotion into the songs as the original Steve did. The guitar is very retro on a few songs and Neil Schon pulls out a few vintage tricks to spice up each track. Jonathan Cain is the seasoned keyboard player in my opinion; he really shines throughout the disc.

One of the highlights is the song “World Gone Wild.” It has a Joe Satriani sounding solo. My buddy and I think Schon should request a few dates on the G3 tour so he could post the proof that he can axe sling with the best of 'em. Short of the familiar guitar and strong rhythm section, the songs (except for a few) are really watered down. I wanted to champion the return of Journey with its new voice but I hope the next release is just that: a release of the real talent that Augeri has to offer.

The disc boasts fifteen songs and over 80 minutes of music. I’m not going to fling this one at the wall because it has a lot of Journey to absorb. It may just be an off day for me but I remember what Journey can sound like and I’m hoping that they have arrived with a new flair and are now going to be in flight again soon.

Journey: Steve Augeri – vocals; Neal Schon – guitar; Ross Valory – bass; Jonathan Cain – keys, vocals; Dean Castronovo – drums, vocals.

For more information, check out http://www.journeymusic.com

"Greatest Hits" (Columbia / Legacy; 1990)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

There are sixteen tracks on the latest incarnation of Journey's "Greatest Hits" and, if you don't know fourteen or fifteen of them by heart, then you must have been living under a rock for the past twenty years or so.

Journey was king of AOR radio for a long, long time and "Greatest Hits" is an encyclopedia of why that was. For the most part, the songs on this CD hold up really well. "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" and "Open Arms" are two of them. Others sound really dated. Track #1, "Only the Young" sounds like an ancient Chicago track (and actually seems to match the photos inside, featuring the band in various afros and clothing that comes dangerously close to looking like costumes from a dinner theater version of The Pirates of Penzance).

Journey didn't sell a kazillion records because they sucked and "Greatest Hits" is ample proof of that. These songs may have been played to death on the radio but, for the most part, they're good songs and you'll be hard-pressed to find a band with this many genuine hit singles collected on one Greatest Hits collection.

Journey fans don't have to add this remastered version to their collection, although the re-mastering here is very well done and this edition includes a bonus track from 1996's "Trial By Fire" -- "When You Love A Woman" (yes, that's one of the songs you may not have heard before). Those who just want a single CD with all of the band's biggest hits need look no farther.

For more information, check out www.journeymusic.com.

"Raised on Radio" (Columbia; 1986)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Steve Perry produced this disc and many think that he took too much control by firing Steve Smith and Ross Valory and then changing the name of the album from "Freedom" to "Raised on Radio." Randy Jackson (of American Idol fame) played bass as a session musician and Larrie Londin played drums. Despite all the line-up changes this disc still produced four Top 40 hits and many of them can be heard anytime of the day on various classic rock stations.

The music does sound a little like Steve Perry's first solo disc, "Street Talk," which isn't a bad thing because nobody croons like Perry. The music is unmistakably Journey though; the guitar, keys and drums have that sweet Journey sound we all recognize when we hear it being played. If you want to hear Journey before their ten year break, cue up "Raised On Radio" and sing along.

Revisit these classics, "Girl Can't Help It," "Be Good to Yourself," and "I'll Be Alright Without You."

Journey: Neal Schon - guitars, backing vocals; keyboard, guitar synth; Steve Perry - lead vocals, producer; Jonathan Cain - keyboards, backing vocals; Randy Jackson - bass, backing vocals; Larrie Londin - drums, percussion; Bob Glaub – bass; Steve Smith – drums; Mike Baird – drums; Dan Hull – saxophone; Steve Minkins – percussion.

For more information, check out http://www.journeymusic.com.

"Evolution" (Columbia / Legacy; 1979)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Journey's fifth album is a collection of mostly harder-edged tunes than those found on their previous CD, "Infinity." Stronger, more upfront guitars (courtesy of Neal Schon) and a bigger style of songwriting give "Evolution" more oomph than its predecessor and ballads like "Lady Luck" benefit greatly from crashing guitars and infectious solos.

Having heard virtually every track from this CD on FM radio on a regular basis for the past twenty-eight years, it's surprising how fresh and potent "Evolution" sounds after all this time. It's still hard not to wince at the lyrics during "Lovin', Touchin', "Squeezin'" but that song, and the others on this CD, show surprising longevity.

Journey: Steve Perry - lead vocals; Ross Valory - bass guitar; Neal Schon - lead guitar; Gregg Rolie - keyboards; Steve Smith - drums.

For more information, check out www.journeymusic.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

 

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Copyright © 2011 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 15 Mar 2017 23:14:52 -0500 .