Journey - Look Into The Future

Year of Release: 1976
Label: Columbia
Catalog Number: PC 33904
Format: LP
Total Time: 41:50:00

Journey released their sophomore effort in January 1976, less than nine months after their brilliant, yet poor selling debut. Instantly a huge concert attraction in Northern California, Journey again gave the fans what they wanted. This album continues in much the same direction as their first, providing all the thrills and chills any lover of 1970s jamming hard rock could ever ask for. This rousing disc would provide a glimpse into the inspiration of the band members beyond their obvious ties to the sound of early Santana. Two cuts off this album owe a debt to the Beatles and George Harrison in particular. They give us a spirited remake of Harrison's "It's All To Much," and the band borrows the unmistakable arpeggiated chord progression from the Abbey Road number "I Want You, (She's So Heavy)" on their song, "You're On Your Own."

This second offering from Journey is some seriously heavy rock. The sound of Santana's first album, turned on its side, with the ability to call down the heavens, to add fire to the belly or strength to the heart, that was the Journey I remember. Gregg Rolie's lion like voice and Neal Schon's unapproachable mastery of the guitar, combined with what was the tightest, most bone crunching, yet nimble and soulful rhythm section in rock music, Ross Valory and the maestro of the double bass kit, Aynsley Dunbar, gave us everything we wanted and more.

This release would present a more bluesy band than the self-titled debut, and evidence of a band in search of validation from their record company. It was not enough to sell more concert tickets than any act on the West Coast. Columbia wanted an act that would write hit singles, period. Depending on your point of view, this demand would either strangle the best live act of the day, or force them down the path that led to success no one could have imagined.

Neal Schon shows another aspect of his six string brilliance on Look Into The Future. He proved his mettle on Journey's first release. On this LP he would show his regard for the blues, and Hendrix's style, matching some other notable guitar stars of that era. Robin Trower and Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush were filling halls across America in 1976, bringing the spirit of Jimi to life again. Journey's second LP was split evenly between blistering, up tempo numbers and slower paced blues and R&B influenced tunes that showed off both Schon and more of Rolie's keyboards and vocals. The star of this band was still Neal's Les Paul, and for a little while longer the group would still be known for their instrumental prowess, and not for their frontman.

The highlights of this release are too many to detail, but George Harrison's "It's All Too Much" will give us a preview of the style that would, more and more, be the focus of the band and their label, Columbia Records. They were exploring territory more apt to give them national radio airplay, and they proved that it would be a profitable venture. Just a few more adjustments here and there was all that it would take, they believed, although another try, the following years release, Next would still fall short of Columbia's ambitions, if not the band members themselves.

The first cut, "On A Saturday Night," bore the marks of the search for airtime as well. This song would not be out of place on one of the huge sellers of the time, 1973's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Yes, Elton John was once a rock musician, too. The cut had some similarity to "Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding," and even "Benny And The Jets." Rolie pounds the ivory keys good and hard here, and Neal contributes another powerful solo. The fifth track, or side two's opener, "You're On Your Own," is the bands homage to The Beatles, appropriating a well known chord change from the heaviest cut on Abbey Road.

If I were not such a fan of the band, I might describe this in other terms, but Neal makes up for the pilferage with mind numbing licks that nearly melt the vinyl grooves of my LP.

This excellent release ends with another example of Journey's mixture of styles. Lightning fast guitar interpolates with jazzy electric piano in "Midnight Dreamer," and this slug fest segues into the albums finale, "I'm Gonna Leave You." This one provides some sort of karmic payback for the stolen Beatles melody. The main riff of this song would be lifted in whole by Kansas for their best known work, "Carry On Wayward Son." This track is the closest Journey would get to heavy metal, a term that was still not widely used at the time, believe it or not. Schon sounds like he is going to rip the strings off his axe by the close of this shred fest. If you love the sound of the mighty Hammond B-3, as I do, then you will have your fill with this feast for the ears.

This album really should have a place of honor in your collection, as it does in mine. Soon the recording industry would, for the most part, stamp out bands that played this style of rock. Journey straddled the line between the psychedelic era jamming bands, like Cream and Mountain and the newer wave of groups that would really make the term "heavy metal" mean something very specific and narrow. The imminent addition of Steve Perry would change the character and the very soul of Journey, to most of their fans approval, I would suppose. There would be one last, almost desperate, attempt to correct course without major surgery, their third album, Next. But in the end, the operation was a success, although the patient died.

On A Saturday Night (4:01) / It's All Too Much (4:06) / Anyway (4:12) / She Makes Me (Feel Alright) (3:12) / You're On Your Own (5:55) / Look Into The Future (8:12) / Midnight Dreamer (5:13) / I'm Gonna Leave You (6:59)

Gregg Rolie - keyboards, vocals
Neal Schon - guitar, vocals
Ross Valory - bass, vocals
Aynsley Dunbar - drums

Journey (1974)
Look Into The Future (1976)
Next (1977)
Infinity (1978)
In The Beginning (1978)
Evolution (1979)
Departure (1980)
Dream After Dream (OST) (1980)
Captured (1981)
Escape (1981)
Tron (OST) (1982)
Frontiers (1983)
Raised On Radio (1986)
Greatest Hits (1988)
Ballad Collection (1992) Time 3 (box set) (1993)
Trial By Fire (1996)
Greatest Hits Live (1998)
The Journey Continues (2001)
Arrival (2001)
The Essential Journey (2001)
Red 13 (ep) (2002)
Generations (2005)
Revelation (2008)

Live: 2001 (DVD) (2001)
Greatest Hits DVD 1978-1997: Videos And Live Performances (DVD) (2003)
Live In Houston 1981: The Escape Tour (DVD) (2006)
With Love From Japan (DVD) (2008)

Genre: Melodic Rock-AOR

Origin US

Added: March 22nd 2004
Reviewer: Tom Karr
Artist website:
Hits: 864
Language: english


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