Journey - Arrival

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Columbia
Catalog Number: CK 69864
Format: CD
Total Time: 73:45:00

When I was compiling the album release listing for May some time back, I saw an entry for Journey. Although I knew they had acquired a new vocalist, Steve Augeri (their third after Steve Perry and Greg Rollie), I didn't think that Arrival was a new album, having not heard anything about their being one in the wings. Given the titles of past classics - Departure, Captured, Escape, etc., I figured this for a reissue of an earlier work. I wasn't really thinking about their catalog and where exactly it fit. So, when David Cisco sent in his review of Arrival, I was surprised to learn it was a brand new release.

The fact of this being a new album means that Journey aren't going to be merely a nostalgia band - playing all the hits in Las Vegas or on the fair circuit. Though I rather suspect they will anyway, as the big venues here have moved on from AOR for the most part - though Aerosmith seem to do pretty well. Get yourself on a major movie soundtrack, and have that song play an important role, and your career is guaranteed for another year. Keep playing that song, promoting it...and hey, you could be singing at the half-time show of the Super Bowl (lackluster though you may be), or the national anthem at the Indianapolis 500 (as Aerosmith did this past weekend). Anyway, I doubt that Journey will be playing at Staples Center here in L.A. or Madison Square Gardens, or any one of another big-time venues here in the US. I could be wrong ... I hope I'm wrong ... since they're sure to get some backing from Columbia Records. And, of course, Europe and Asia may be different stories.

Having seen the VH-1 Behind The Music special on Journey, I knew about the vocalist change. But I have to tell you, had I not, and had I only heard this album, not looked at the sleeve or anything, I would have sworn that Steve Perry was still the vocalist. I mean...Collins didn't really sound like Gabriel, Hogarth doesn't sound like Fish, Hagar didn't sound like Roth, and...Perry didn't sound like Rollie. What am I getting at? Augeri really sounds like Perry... all of which leaves the well known Journey sound intact. Helping with this continuity is Neal Schon on guitars, Ross Valory on bass and Jonathan Cain on keyboards. Deen Castronovo is behind the drum kit, joining the band some time after the release of 1996's Trail By Fire, meaning the exit of Steve Smith (it's the last with Perry as well).

Given all this, Journey sound like the same Journey most remember. This is the Journey of pretty much everything post-Rollie through to Frontiers, which leaves out Raised On Radio and Trial By Fire. Unlike my cohort David though, I was not impressed with Raised On Radio. So, that this is a return to their AOR sound versus the blip of MOR makes me happy. Oh, not that ROR was bad, but it was such a recursive reference intended.

So what is Arrival like, now that I've spent most of a page telling you everything but what it sounds like, Augeri aside. Well, "All The Way" is the power ballad that would have felt right at home on Frontiers, but also sounds a lot like a Bryan Adams tune by way of Michael Kamen - in other words, "Everything I Do" comes to mind, but many a Adams ballad. More on point, "When You Love A Woman" (Trial By Fire) also comes to mind as the melody is quite similar. Oh, on a note by note comparison they probably aren't, but the overall impression is such that they do. You'll think of "Faithfully," too. In fact, there seems to be more than a fair share of ballads and mid-tempo rockers here ... and so many of them make me think of "Faithfully." The sentiments in each seem the same, saying the same things, using the same imagery. One might go so far as to say there is only one song on this album, but the lyrics have been rearranged to make them seem different, the tempo is tweaked and Schon plays a different guitar lead. The tracks are all written by different members, or members and guests, which makes it seems strange. The band does nearly kick out the jams on the memorable "Live And Breathe." Here, as elsewhere on the disk, Schon gets to play some beautiful leads with lots of feeling. "All The Things" is a beefy rocker, with a big, open sound that takes no prisoners as it stomps its way along. It's a come-on that you can't help but respond to. On "Loved By You" Augeri sounds like a blending of Rod Stewart and Sting (and Perry), and a song that is more characteristic of latter day Stewart. "Livin' To Do" is dark, bluesy, gospelly number that Schon has dedicated to his father.

"Nothing Comes Close" is a strutting rocker with a sassy guitar lead opening the proceedings. And although I've been playing this over the last week, there is something very familiar about this track - perhaps it was part of the VH-1 special, but from the moment I heard the chorus on my first play through, I felt as if I had heard it before. It's certainly got single potential, but that's just about true for everything here. It seems so much more energetic coming as it does after a series of those mid-tempo ballads. "To Be Alive Again" keeps things rolling, "Kiss Me Softly" shimmers with tinkling piano notes from Cain. It's another ballad of a sort, something a little more than mid-tempo. Oddly, with "We Will Meet Again," which closes the album, I thought of Marillion, and of "Man Of A Thousand Faces" -- perhaps it's just the tight harmony over a rolling beat, but if you think of the outro to the Marillion track (those of you familiar with Marillion) you'll have an idea of what I mean (the part were the band almost chant "voice of command,...").

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: Rock

Origin US

Added: June 5th 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 727
Language: english


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