Steve Perry/ Greatest Hits + 5

Steve Perry is an American Singer/Songwriter best known as the lead vocalist of Rock Band Journey from 1978-1987/1995-1998. Perry was a successful solo artists during the late 80’s and early 90’s, releasing two platinum selling albums in 5 years. Rumors continue to circulate of a new Perry release, although they have yet to come to fruition.

Oh Sherrie—-From the onset, you have to notice that this is not much different from the heyday singles of Journey. This is all out hard rock that is pleasing to the palate and fitting the soaring vocal of Perry magically. Perry has a masterful way of conveying emotion and tenderness, depth and sincerity is a soaring blend that rivals any of the classic rock singers of the era. this is so nice to hear and sounds amazingly fresh even as I listen to it today. This was, I must add, a HUGE chart and video hit!

Foolish Heart—-an even more successful single than the above, the song is light on guitar and heavy on emotional sounding instrumentation. the voice soars with a purity and clarity that few artists have ever managed to muster.This is beautifully constructed, full of every broken-hearted emotion you can imagine feeling in a lifetime and a beautiful melody that sticks to your brain…all in three minutes….classic.

She’s Mine—-With an instrumental sound almost identical to the previous song, the mainstay is the accelerated range of the vocal and the intermittent guitar that manages to shine above the voice. the song delivers a slight blues edge to it that allows a certain sexiness to shine through. This is nice…what you would expect but different enough to keep you from being bored with the ‘sameness’ of the track.

Strung Out—-This literally has the journey sound stamped all over it. the guitars are not as aggressive, but the catchy chorus is recipe made chart fodder that would play well even today. Perry is fine in form and hits some notes that takes you back to the very early days of the band. The amazing part is that he does this with purity and clarity. this is so nice it gives me goosebumps…classic!!! I had forgotten all about this song!!!

Go Away—-Full of the sound of the late 70’s/early 80’s AOR fodder, this is nice but has a strong overtone of melancholy. The voice is overlayed or bolstered by a background vocal which is unneccessary and only muddies the sound. This guy needs no help. A nice song, but it drowns in a mellow feel that is boring.

When You’re In Love [For The First Time]—-This is a nice surprise, the song has a breezy and almost pacific feel that makes you actually think of first love and the delirious happiness you feel when you get the first pangs of a new fling. Perry is at a moderate tone, with little of the vocal histrionics you expect, but the song plays amazingly well despite the age of the track. Still wonderful!

Against The Wall—-While the vocals are most excellent on this track, the music falls flat for me. At times the track seems uninspired and lackluster. All the added voices are not necessary when you are dealing with one of the premier rock vocalists of our times…leave him alone and let him sing. This comes across as a Styx styled song…..not necessary.

Forever Right Or Wrong [Love’s Like A River]—-Yet another deep ballad style track that makes you want to reach for your nearest Journey CD and hear the man really belt the way you know he can. The vocal is beautiful….a slight blues tinge makes the groove danceable in a slow romantic kind of way and you are left with a certain sadness that sticks in your membrane…nice but too much of the same all at one time.

Summer Of Luv—-From the onset, you are given the promise of a huge sounding song…you are not disappointed. the funk of the bass and the fast pace of the vocal is just different enough to make you step back and shake your head yes…this is what you need. just different enough to make your faith in the collection again raise its head. This is wonderful…almost fun. Thank you!!!

Melody—-Yet more mundane AOR balladry that would appeal to the masses. What is up with the Kenny G styled saxophone…not for me…maybe on a really dark day when my meds are not working.

Once In A Lifetime, Girl—-Beginning like most of the other tracks on this release, you are happy to hear a more aggressive guitar and upfront drum sound. the voice is odd…not as clear or soaring but there are moments of brilliant clarity that make me smile. this is a mixed bag that still manages to win for me. the surprising thing for me is the sometimes hoarse sounding voice…odd but kind of nice to know this guy is human.

What Was—-At the onset, the piano is heavy and the swirls of atmosphere make you believe there are actual strings playing. the voice is crystal clear, but the song content is a real downer. This is almost a tortured song of lost love and loneliness. It will leave you devastated if you are in that mood and will have you clicking FF if you are not. I guess…it serves it’s purpose.

You Better Wait—-This is a bit more upbeat, the guitars are much more present and Perry seems to have regained his mojo on this track. the voice soars and matches the high soaring melody of the guitar despite the slower and more quiet verses. This is nice…much more my style.

Missing You—-Full of a tremendous sadness and an orchestrated delivery, this is crushing to the listener who might be in a bad place at the time of the first listen. the voice is perfect…full of emotion and sadness that you cannot ignore. this is nice minus the layered voices during the chorus…this is not necessary….let this guy sing on his own….it works best that way. This is wonderful, but still suffers from the mundane sameness of the earlier material.

I Stand Alone—-Piano driven and stripped of any rock mentality, this almost sounds like a filler song from a broadway play. I remain disappointed with the second half of this release.Tthe fodder is heavy, the hits are few. Nonetheless, it is nice to have this all in one place.

It Won’t Be You—-A bit livelier, but still retains that classic late 70’s sound of AOR radio, you cannot deny the voice or the magic quality of it. This is a wonderful example of why Perry had a great solo career…these gems are pieces of history i would like put in my time capsule. this is nice…unforgettable and timeless.

If You Need Me, Call Me—-Much more guitar based and with a blues leaning, this is nice. Reminds me of classic Journey with the magical Perry touch. At this time my ears and my brain scream for new material from this master of vocals and songwriting…waited this long…we will see what the future holds.

**** out of 5


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