Happy Journey day¡¡¡
Posted by: ADOLFO ()
Date: April 03, 2001 10:53PM

by Michelle Murray
"Escape 2000? – that?s what it said on the Journey website. Fans were curious what the new album being recorded would sound like, and the band replied with ?Escape 2000?. My initial reaction – kiss of death. No way, no how could a new album live up to that level of expectation. Escape was the biggest album Journey ever recorded. This is a new album, nearly 20 years later, with a new singer and a new drummer – to expect another Escape was too much to ask.

So we waited to see what came out, and most of the world is still waiting. Fortunately, the album was released in Japan in October 2000, and the import has helped soothe the nerves of those anxious for the April 2001 release date for the rest of the world. So, now after living with this CD for nearly four months, what is the verdict? Journey is back!

So, is it ?Escape 2000?? No. I still hold the belief that Escape is a target too high to reach. That said, however, Arrival comes pretty darned close, and in my opinion, is the album that should have been released after Frontiers. While the Japanese version of the CD may be a bit mellow for some, at the heart of it is everything we have come to know and love about Journey. It rocks, it?s fun, and the ballads are timeless.

With all the hype surrounding Steve Augeri and his first Journey album, a little thing has been overlooked – there?s a new drummer too! As someone who never notices the drums one of the first things that I did notice was that this version of Journey was most definitely following the beat of a different drummer! Deen Castronovo definitely adds a different flavor to this album. There are some very powerful and primal beats going on all over this album, and, personally, I can?t get enough of them. There is just something in the power of Deen?s drumming that has gotten under my skin and made this album extremely enjoyable.

...World Gone Wild is another response from the band to the opinions of the fans...

...Nothin? Comes Close, and, according to reports from the band, is another rocker. Look for these tracks on the US release on April 3. (Look for an update to this review sometime in mid-April!)

Ultimately, though, what has kept this album spinning in every CD player I own almost non-stop since it landed in my mail box, is that it feels so familiar (and no, not because of Napster!) Whether it?s the lift from Who?s Crying Now that shows up in Signs of Life or that Live and Breathe has gone from an introduction to Wheel in the Sky to a complete song or if it?s just the feel that runs through so many Journey songs over the years, this is a collection of songs that feel as though they?ve been around a very long time.

So, on to a track-by-track commentary:

Higher Place is the opening track, and belongs in this number one spot. It brings in an energy that you want from an opener. It is also the first rock single (so bug your local radio stations for airplay!) Here is the first chance for listeners to notice the beat going on in this album. Deen supplies the power to this track and really drives it home.

All The Way is the big single for the album. A traditional Journey power ballad that is very reminiscent of When You Love a Woman from Trial By Fire. This is the song that shocked me the most. After 12 shows in 2 years and countless replays of bootlegged shows, I was extremely confident that I could tell Augeri from Perry instantaneously. I was wrong. The first time I played this track I had to stop what I was doing, rewind, and play it again. I couldn?t believe my ears. Now, after countless listens, I have a hard time identifying just what made my jaw hit the floor and think that somehow Steve Augeri was channeling Steve Perry (well okay it was the ?woah-oh-oo-oh? towards the end that is just freakishly Perry-like), but this is something the casual fan will not pick up on unless they are told.

Signs of Life – one of my favorite tracks. Lyrically, it is thematically similar to I?ll Be Alright Without You and the lift from Who?s Crying Now adds a little twist of irony into the mix. Unlike I?ll Be Alright, however, there isn?t that ?woe-is-me? feel to the song as it is much more upbeat in presentation.

With all the hype surrounding Steve Augeri and his first Journey album, a little thing has been overlooked – there?s a new drummer too!

All the Things (I Love About You) is a very guitar-heavy track that some listeners may find difficult to get in to. For better or for worse, Journey is associated with power ballads and mid-tempo songs, and this track is neither of those. Fans who enjoy the harder edged songs in Journey?s history will enjoy this one, but those who prefer the likes of Don?t Stop Believin? and Lights are going to find this track too far from what they expect from a ?typical? Journey song.

Loved By You is a song I had the good fortune to hear in 1998 and have been waiting not-so-patiently for ever since. Jon performed this song at a couple of Bay Area appearances in the spring of 1998 (a few months before it was announced Steve Augeri would be joining the band) and I fell instantly in love with it. To have it finally show up on a Journey album 3 years later has me jumping for joy. It is an utterly romantic ballad that is classic Jonathan Cain – he can melt anyone?s heart with complete ease.

Livin? to Do is another track that is going to be hard for some listeners to enjoy. It?s a very moody song that starts off very slowly. Personally, I really enjoy it, but I am often partial to moody songs with sweeping panoramas such as this one. With Neal?s late father Matt Schon getting a songwriting credit on this song (which is also about him) it doesn?t surprise me that it?s a track I enjoy. Matt Schon contributed to Winds of March and Mother, Father two of my all-time favorite Journey songs that also have a very majestic feel about them. Lyrically, I think this song has a message that everyone can relate to though – life is short and should be lived to it?s fullest.

I Got a Reason is not a song to be listened to sitting down. In fact, I dare anyone to try. This song has ?get up and dance? written all over it. It?s very up tempo and just a real feel-good song. And Deen is pounding all over the place. (Why do I feel like using that tired American Bandstand line – ?It?s got a good beat and you can dance to it???)

With Your Love is another classic Jonathan Cain ballad. So much so, in fact, that an instrumental version of this song was released on his 1997 solo project Body Language. If this song isn?t played at every Journey-fan?s wedding in the coming years, then someone isn?t paying attention. Adding a full band and vocal to this song changes it dramatically from the original instrumental, but at the heart it?s the beloved Whale we find on this track.

Lifetime of Dreams is a runner-up for wedding-song-of-the-year (and actually, this album has a good three way tie in that department with the aforementioned With Your Love and Loved By You) and is one of many examples of the happiness that seems to be flowing among the band right now. Unfortunately, I think the placement of this song immediately after another ballad causes it to suffer some. By this point in the CD, the listener is looking forward to the tempo moving up. Perhaps the US track list will rectify this somewhat.

Live and Breathe is the song that many fans have been waiting for. It?s been part of the Journey shows since 1998, and waiting to see if it would develop into something other than an introduction to Wheel in the Sky has been subject of speculation. Astute listeners will recognize the link to Wheel, however the stand-out on this track is Ross?s bass. Another instrument I really don?t notice much (what can I say, I live in the melody, not the rhythm section!) the bass on this song is stellar and it makes all the difference in transitioning it from an introductory piece to a full song.

Kiss Me Softly – having recovered from my problem with the grammar in this song, I am able to revel in Neal?s amazing guitar work – acoustic no less! His solo on this song is a thing of sheer beauty. It?s a different sounding ballad for Journey with a haunting vocal, and the growth in the style of playing by the long time members of the band is apparent. This is definitely something that has evolved over time and not something we would have heard from the band twenty years ago.

I?m Not That Way is probably the weakest track on the album. It?s a sentimental ballad that would normally sucker me in, but for some reason it just didn?t grab me the way I would expect. It has a bubblegum feel that would work well with one of the ?boy bands?. The general reaction to this track has been much the same as mine and the voices of the fans have been heard – it has been removed from the US version of the CD.

We Will Meet Again opens with such fanstastic rhythm and it flows through the whole song. The drums are very heavy on this track and have a feel that just grabs you in the gut and doesn?t let go. Lyrically, it is a constant reminder of ?the one that got away?.

To Be Alive Again is hands down, no doubt about it, my absolute gaurantee of a winner favorite song on this album. If all the other songs on this album sucked, I would hang on to it just for this song – that?s how strongly I feel about it. Originally slated to be the bonus track on the Japan release, the voices of the fans were heard once again and it was kept (yay Journey fans and double yay Journey!) As I have adopted this song as my new personal theme song, I can?t possibly be objective about it. The energy in this song is just amazing and is such an overt celebration of life that I can?t help but smile from beginning to end. This is another track that just makes me want to get up and dance and have a great time living.

The US version of Arrival will have two additional tracks. One, World Gone Wild is another response from the band to the opinions of the fans. World Gone Wild was played early on in the 1999 tour with Foreigner and was loved by many who heard it (including me). The second is a track called Nothin? Comes Close, and, according to reports from the band, is another rocker. Look for these tracks on the US release on April 3.

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SubjectViewsWritten ByPosted
Happy Journey day¡¡¡176 ADOLFO 04/03/2001 10:53PM
Canadian Journey fans get the shaft! 124 koogles 04/04/2001 12:50AM
Re: Canadian Journey fans get the shaft! 109 Rich 04/04/2001 05:49AM
Re: Canadian Journey fans get the shaft! 150 Tinger 04/04/2001 06:20AM
Re: Canadian Journey fans get the shaft! 119 koogles 04/04/2001 10:12AM

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