Journey - Arrival

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Columbia
Catalog Number: CK 69884
Format: CD
Total Time: 73:45:00

When it comes to Journey, there are two schools of thought: "Journey RULES!" and "Journey SUCKS!" I.e., you're a fan or you're not. (Rushians understand this principle very well.) Me? I'm a Journey FAN. As far as I'm concerned, there's not much Journey can do wrong, and even when they are doing something wrong, the things they're doing right always overshadow the shortcomings.

It's been three weeks since I picked up Arrival, and I'm glad I took the time to really - and I do mean REALLY - listen to Arrival. I wasn't immediately impressed with the album - not like I was with Raised On Radio way back in '86 - but Arrival has grown on me in a big way. So big, in fact, that: 1) Arrival has not left my cd player(s) for a single day since I bought it (except for one unfortunate evening when I dropped and destroyed my Walkman and my first copy of Arrival!), and 2) I'm declaring it as my Favorite Album of 2001. Period. I know, "It's not even May!", right?

I have read some reviews of Arrival, and the reviews - like fans - definitely fall into two categories: "Love It!" (Fans) or "Hate It!" (Journalists who get free promo cds.) The two biggest complaints that the critics has voiced are: "Steve Augeri is just a Steve Perry knock-off and Journey are mercenaries for hiring Augeri" and "Arrival is uninspired and lacks heat." Okay, so Augeri's voice does bear a nagging resemblance to Perry's, so what? Augeri's singing is not as vibrant as Perry;'s, and he often ends up sounding more like John Waite. (Besides, getting a free promo copy of a band's new release and then getting paid to slam it in the press is also mercenary, isn't it?) As for the lack of inspiration, I personally don't hear any workmanlike performances here. "Maturity" is a word that I normally avoid, but it absolutely applies here. The playing is strident, the vocals confident, and the songwriting inspired in the way that only a band as seasoned as Journey can muster. The songs resonate with rocking passion, most of which is provided by the always-fired-up Neal Schon, Ross Valory, whose bass is more powerful here than I've ever heard it before, and Steve Augeri, who - like Perry before him - sings every word like he means it A potent recipe for great rock 'n' roll, and Journey has certainly cooked up some tasty tidbits on Arrival.

As with every Journey album, the songs are a nearly equal mix of rockers and ballads. Naturally, some of the ballads get pretty damned heavy. And it's when Journey hits that perfect mix of beauty and beast that the classic tunes emerge. On Arrival, the three monsters that cannot be ignored are "Loved By You", "Live And Breathe," and "Kiss Me Softly". Built around a guitar-piano duet and Augeri's impassioned vocals, "Loved By You" is a powerful expression of appreciation for somebody's special someone. Kicking in hard on a Ross Valory bass groove, and highlighted by Augeri's raspy vocals and some particularly inspired guitar-slinging from Schon, "Live And Breathe" resounds through heart and mind, magically - and almost cinematically - evoking the joy and the joy-inspired pain love brings with it. "Kiss Me Softly", features a sensual, breathy Augeri vocal, an unusual acoustic guitar solo from Schon, and some nicely understated ivory-tinkling from Jonathon Cain. The emotional equivalents of riding every coaster at Magic Mountain ten times in an hour, "Loved By You", "Live And Breathe" and "Kiss Me Softly" by themselves make Arrival an album worth owning.

But, let's not overlook the rest! Great hard rock is abundant, with "Higher Place", "Signs Of Life", "All The Things", and "World Gone Wild" being my picks for best of the bunch. "Livin' To Do" is a moody blues that addresses the finite nature of life, and "All The Way", "With Your Love" and "Lifetime Of Dreams" are class Journey ballads built around Cain's piano and infused with Schon's passionate guitar solos. "We Will Meet Again" brings Arrival to a suitably rocking close with the hopeful message that if it's meant to be, we will meet again. That's a meeting that I personally am already looking forward to!

I haven't said much about Deen Castronovo and Jonathon Cain here, but their contributions here must be acknowledged. Castronovo's drumming, while simplistic and straight-ahead, provides a sturdy foundation for the other players to build upon. Cain contributes a lot of what sounds like acoustic piano that, together with Castronovo's drumming, adds an organic feel to the music I seem to have missed in Journey's earlier work. Credit must also be given to John Kalodner and Kevin Shirley for their great mix and production.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: Are you a fan or not? If you are, then you'll probably agree that Arrival is a great album from one of America's true rock icons. If you're not, oh well, you're missing out as usual. Journey RULES!

Higher Place (5:09) / All The Way (3:35) / Signs Of Life (4:54) / All The Things (4:22) / Loved By You (4:02) / Livin ' To Do (6:24) / World Gone Wild (6:00) / I Got A Reason (4:18) / With Your Love (4:25) / Lifetime of Dreams (5:29) / Live And Breathe (5:12) / Nothin ' Comes Close (5:41) / To Be Alive Again (4:21) / Kiss Me Softly (4:48) / We Will Meet Again (5:05)

Neal Schon - guitars, background vocals
Ross Valory - bass guitar, background vocals
Jonathon Cain - keyboards, background vocals
Deen Castronovo - drums, background vocals
Steve Augeri - lead vocals

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: April 25th 2001
Reviewer: David Cisco

Artist website:
Hits: 912
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]