Journey / The Essential Journey

The Essential 3.0 Journey (Eco-Friendly Packaging)

Journey is an American rock band formed in 1973 in San Francisco, California, with former members of Santana. The band has gone through several phases, but its strongest commercial success came in the late 1970s to the early 1980s. During this period, they had hits with a series of power ballads and rock songs, including “Don’t Stop Believin’“, “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)“, “Faithfully“, “Any Way You Want It“, “Open Arms“, “Send Her My Love”, “Wheel in the Sky”, “Who’s Crying Now“, “Stone In Love”, “Lovin,’ Touchin,’ Squeezin;'”, and “Lights“. The group enjoyed a successful reunion in the mid-1990s with a major Grammy-nominated hit, “When You Love a Woman“. Sales have resulted in two gold albums, eight multi-platinum albums, and one Diamond album (including seven consecutive multi-platinum albums between 1978 and 1987). They had 19 Top 40 singles, six of which reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Their signature song, “Don’t Stop Believin’“, is the top-selling catalog track in iTunes history, at more than three million downloads.[1][2][3]

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Journey has sold 47 million albums in the United States, making them the 28th best-selling band. Their worldwide sales have reached over 75 million albums.[4][5] A USA Today opinion poll in 2005 asked respondents to weigh in on who they thought was the best American rock band in history; Journey came in fifth place.[6][7]

Journey has been eligible for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame since 2000, but Gregg Rolie is the only current or former member of Journey who has been inducted — as a member of parent band Santana. Steve Perry, the band’s best-known lead vocalist, has been eligible for induction as a solo artist since 2009.

Chain Reaction—-With huge Schon guitars from the very first note, the vocal enters more as a gang chant than a Perry showcase. This single, from later in the band’s recording career, while still damn accessible, marked a changing sound for the band as the progressive 80’s sound was a bit misplaced. This is a great song to revisit…Perry could and still can sing like a mother…this is a nice reminder.

Only The Young—-Perhaps one of my three very favorite tracks from this band, it is all about the vocal for me here. Although the band delivers a great performance…it reeks heavily of the manufactured 80’s style AOR release that it was. Perry is masterful…his voice is crystal clear and soars above the music..claiming the song as his own. This is masterful and really great to hear again…this is a special memory for me and like great music. it never fades from your brain.

Don’t Stop Believin’—-Although the band had huge success in the 70’s, the later decade proved almost if not even more successful for this band. Relying heavily on ballad styled singles, this song was huge for the band. The vocal is still crystal clear and holds up under the time and torture magically well. filled with majestic rock piano, the song builds and builds until Schon and Co. release the classic Journey sound on the listener. This is indelible.

Message Of Love—-This later single begins with some interesting electronic sounds before the band enters in and welcomes the vocal as well. This seems a bit uninspired..lacking a true emotion. The drums are pretty incredible and Perry manages some notes that are really incredible…but overall, this lacks the energy and commitment of many of the band’s songs. This is soaked in classic 80’s rock sounds.

Somethin’ To Hide—-Heavy on the sap, this begins with a a nice drum intro that slowly fades away to allow for a quasi-blues piano based ballad that promises numerous times to really open up…but settles back again…just teasing with promise. The vocal is excellent, but at this point it was as if the band had reached a peak, needed a break and was trying way to hard.

Wheel In The Sky—-One of the biggest hit singles for the band and the later 70’s, this was present on every emerging FM radio station for a solid year and still is on playlists today all over the world on classic rock stations. This is raw and rather addictive, the hooks of the song will stay in your brain for quite sometime. Perry delivers his best rock vocal…this guy could sing like no one’s business…this is steeped in loneliness and a nice drum track that sets the pace of the song. A true standout in the band’s career and for FM radio.

Faithfully—-When the band really started to saturate the ballad market in the early 80’s, it seemed as if they could do wrong. Does anyone besides myself remember that every teen alive had a Journey T-Shirt..proclaiming their devotion to the band. This track is steeped in the magic recipe that the band hit upon….piano based with a huge infusion of Neil’s guitar and a lonely and soaring vocal from Perry….a wondrous recipe that spelled success for many years. The track tells of the loneliness of life on the road…this band toured constantly and you can actually feel the pain that Perry wants you to. This is magnificent.

Line Of Fire—-This live track has a magnificent level of energy that transferred to CD really well….the slight blues feel to the song and the boogie sound of the piano really fit well into a live setting. The vocal is the same as always…damn near perfect…reminding you that Perry was the real deal…when he hits some of those notes I just shake my head in amazement…still after all of these years.

Any Way You Want It—-Another huge mega-hit from the later part of the 70’s decade, this song still has a shelf life as well…on a pretty regular rotation on many classic Rock stations. For me, the song never gets old…there is a power in the song that the band lost in the early to mid 80’s..this had a true rock feel to it…nothing sappy about this one. Perry literally soars, the whole band joins in the crowd pleasing chorus and the lyrics drip with a sex appeal that is irresistible. Fantastic!

Anytime—-This is just classic from the word GO! Beginning with a nice harmonious gang vocal, the ensuing vocal is odd…sounding nothing like Perry at all…not sure who has singing credits on this track. Obviously Perry is there, but this is way different but remarkably familiar. The music has a nice rougher sound…the guitars much more present. Perry finally makes a true cameo on the song and brings the entire thing full circle…this was a time when songs had guitar solos and powerful drums…this song lacks in neither region. Brilliant.

Ask The Lonely—-This has that classic 80’s style journey sound to it…heavy synths and a more laid back guitar alongside a drum track that keeps the whole damn machine together. Steve sings his ass off in his comfortable rock/ballad delivery that showcases him in only the best way. This is a remarkable memory…it is amazing how well these songs have stood the test of time.

Stone In Love—-This is another of those Journey songs that I mark as being one of my favorites…mainly for the wonderful warm summer memories that go along with it. This is just classic AOR Rock that soars above the requisite requirements and delivers more than even you expected. The vocal on this track is out of this world!!!

Patiently—-Coming from the silence with a nice solo from Neil, this pays very nice but is steeped in the mellow a bit to deeply. This is a track that borders on cheesy…not sure why it is one this nice compilation….perhaps filler…but unnecessary. The track does open up nicely but the vocal seems a bit manipulated and takes away from the purity focus of the track. Leave perfection alone.

Who’s Crying Now—-A mega-huge-super hit for this band in the early 80’s. This was the second life of the band…coming out of the success of the 70’s and still riding the wave well into the early 80’s before Perry started recording solo records. This is classic…the song features the whole band harmonizing wonderfully on the chorus with Perry singing his ass off in the in-between. I could never ask for more…great memories.

Good Morning Girl—-Ugh….this is lackluster and really unnecessary on this compilation. This is a huge exercise in cheese and really does not work for me with the progressive nature of the band. To me, the ballad is way to syrupy and only exists to show us what we already know…Perry can sing.

Separate Ways [Worlds Apart]—-With huge synths, monstrous drums and a vocal to DIE for, this was a bona fide huge mega hit for this band at the time of its release and remains one of its most enduring hits. I love this…whether this is a band effort or vocal over lays, the harmonies are fantastic. The energy is damn contagious and the true rock element is well intact.

The Eyes Of A Woman—-This is nice, but the musical sentiments begin to get old after a bit. This is a quasi-orchestrated track that is heavy on synths and light on the rock element from the word go. Although the guitars open up the song a bit as it develops, the synths are overpowering and drown out everything except the vocal and the drums. The voice, as usual, is to die for.

Lights—-Another of those huge bona fide stadium sized hits from the 70’s, this band did really well with this type of music when FM radio was really coming into its own. Based on the bass guitar and magnificent drums, coupled with the quivering vocal from Perry, this can still inspire goosebumps from me even now. This is exquisite…magnificent and steeped in real feelings…yet again around the travails of constant touring and being away from home…but if it works…leave it the hell alone.

Be Good To Yourself—-Perhaps my second favorite track from this band, you can’t ignore the message of the song or the pure and real sentiment. The guitars and keyboards coupled with the drums are a powerhouse of energy. Steve sings like a man driven and the my opinion….is one of the best songs that band ever managed to produced. This is a feel good track that everyone should take to heart.

Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’—-Truly one of the biggest FM hits of the late 70’s, this song seemed to catapult this band to the iconic range…even back then when mass media was much smaller and gentler. The track has a nice blues overtone…with full on sexy piano and a bass line that reeks of sex and lust. This played so well in concert…causing huge sing a longs that will no doubt still fill the minds of many people to this day. although the track goes on a bit too long, live this could never be long enough. Truly a highlight!!!

Open Arms—-Another stellar single from the Escape release, this further cemented the legend of the band for turning out ballad style rockers that played as well live as they did on the radio. This is magnificent, catching the band in their very heyday…working together like a masterful well oiled machine. The piano adds just the necessary lonely feel to the song and the vocal reaches in and twists the hurt in your heart up just a notch more than needed. This is brilliant…a band at its apex!!!!

Still They Ride—-Steeped in the by now familiar ballad style, this track finds the band delivering the backdrop in an almost acoustic nature as Perry again delivers tales of sorrow about being on the road and the travails of loneliness. The voice is remarkable…saving this song from nothingness…Steve…truly we miss you……

Baby, I’m A Leavin’ You—-This is a nice surprise!!!! The song is steeped in a basic yet damn contagious three beat reggae delivery that is infectious and just different enough to know that this band is not a one trick pony. this is poppy and fun..with Perry actually being the bad guy rather than being on the receiving end of a broken heart. This is awesome.

Girl Can’t Help It—-Returning to an almost MUZAK styled sound that you would hear in restaurants and elevators in the breaking days of the 80’s, the song is rather gentle for the most part from the onset. Schon does deliver some nice guitar as the song progresses and as usual the drum track is rather loud and prominent. Perry sounds like Perry…flawless and damn near perfect.

Mother, Father—-What a remarkable story song…I think I had forgotten all about this. This is fantastic…the guitar chords and delivery are epic and the staggered vocal only adds to the emotion of the song. When the chorus opens with the entire band harmonizing together I almost shit myself…this is pretty damn genius. It is so nice to go back and discover things that you had forgotten about…this is a true mini-masterpiece of a song. Fantastic!!! This song is gorgeous!!!

Send Her My Love—-Lush while still maintains a certain rock element thanks to the backdrop of Schon guitar, this is another of those ballads that seemed written to allow Perry to shine and left the rest of the band in the backdrop. The drums are present and the harmonies are amazing, but you never really get that soaring guitar from Neil that you did in the 70’s. Still…really great to hear again.

Just The Same Way—-This was just what I needed at this point in this collection…the upfront vocal does not belong to Perry….he is relegated to the soaring harmonies in the backdrop…but it all works wonderfully well. This is a barn burner…the drums are huge…the melody is so damn catchy and the guitars are close to blistering. This is classic…I wish the band would have used this recipe a bit more often…it works wonderfully well. This is freakin’ amazing.

When You Love A Woman—-again piano based with a nice guitar hum that runs through the backdrop, Perry delivers another of those quivering lip vocals that provokes lighters and turns the entire arena into a sea of swaying bodies. this plays much better live than it does on record..classic none the less.

Escape—-This is much more like it…full of straight on Rock guitar and a drum track that burns up your CD, Perry delivers a vocal that actually seems pushed to the back of the mix…allowing the slight blues delivery to come right out of the speakers at you. This is phenomenal..I had forgotten how powerful this could sound…I love this shit. This is remarkable…both for the music and the vocal which only seems to get better as the song continues. A true gem!!! When the true chorus of this song hits…you will be blown away!!!

I’ll Be Alright Without You—-Seeped in the recipe driven ballad style of most of the bands catalog, this is never the less full of emotion and feeling. Perry again delivers that kind of vocal that is quivering and close to tears. The band joins in on the chorus and provides a remarkable harmony to the base of the song. This is saved only by the ‘gang’ vocal….truly wonderful.

After The Fall—-Reaching into the top 40 market with this track, the band did fairly well on the charts with this one. Perry sounds remarkable…never missing a note…never telling the fact that he had been singing like this for 20+ years. This is pitch perfect and the result is an emotion laden track that you never get tired of hearing. when the band joins in and supplies the harmonies, you will be amazed. Wonderful!

The Party’s Over [Hopelessly In Love]—-Call me odd, but this still remains my favorite song from this band…how appropriate that it was saved for last! I love the energy, I love the vocal and I love the music that drives it…too me this was a nice throwback to the old days when the band still had a true rock sensibility to it. The bass line is incredible…..the drums are right in your face and Perry sounds as good as he ever did. This is fabulous!!!

****3/4 out of 5


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