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New Journey album = 80s win

Posted by David on June 12, 2008

Such is the current name of my iTunes shared library at work, as I have just picked up a copy of the new Journey album, “Revelation.” It’s rare that I actually publish a substantial review of something on this site (or this blog, or news section, or whatever), but I dig this new album enough that I have some things to say.

First off, there’s the obligatory preface to explain that this Journey is not the Journey we know and love from the ’80s; at least, not quite. Sadly, classic Journey lead singer Steve Perry and the rest of the band went their separate ways (my apologies) in the mid-to-late ’90s, after which a bunch of relatively forgettable frontmen tried to take Perry’s place without much success.

Enter Arnel Pineda. The 40-year-old singer with the Filipino cover band The Zoo was first seen by a lot of folks performing Journey tunes like “Faithfully” and “Don’t Stop Believin’” on YouTube, and gained attention for having a voice that sounded almost identical to Steve Perry. Journey guitarist Neal Schon apparently saw these videos and thought the same thing, as he later contacted Arnel and asked him to audition for the band. Needless to say, Pineda got the job, and joined Journey in December of last year.

But onto the album — Revelation is a three-disc set, and is the band’s first studio release with Pineda as the lead singer. I’m actually going to do this out of order, because

Revelation: Disc 2 is a compilation of classic Journey songs remade with Pineda on vocals. There’s no denying that Pineda and Steve Perry have virtually indistinguishable voices. “Virtually” because there’s something a little bit off about these songs, as Pineda does have some vocal characteristics that set him apart from Perry — he holds notes a little bit longer than Perry would, and has a tendency to pronounce perfectly words that Perry would slur. But he’s a solid singer, and the sound is undeniably Journey, even if a few of the remade songs fall flat on their face.

Recommendations: Only the Young, Stone In Love.
Stay away from: Any Way You Want It, Separate Ways.

Revelation: Disc 1, on the other hand, is an album of new material. And when I say “new,” I mean “some of these songs sound eerily familiar.” Here’s a conversion chart:

Like a Sunshower = Stay a While, with slightly more subtlety
After All These Years = Faithfully, written by the same guy 10 years later
Where Did I Lose Your Love = Separate Ways (Sort of)

Yeah, there’s no denying that some of these songs are pretty close to some of the classic Journey songs we know and love. But then again, it is a Journey album, and I suppose I can’t blame them for trying to stick close to their signature sound — they are who they are. Kind of reminds me of Livin’ In The Future off the last Springsteen album, which was kind of Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out plus Cover Me.

I should also say that it’s on the first disc that Pineda’s voice really shines, as he doesn’t have any Perry-worn shoes to fill, and is free to do what he likes with the vocals. Despite the somewhat throwback-y sound, I do really dig the album. There are some great songs that definitely fit into the Journey catalog.

Recommendations: Never Walk Away, Where Did I Lose Your Love, Turn Down The World Tonight, Faith in the Heartland
Stay away from: eh, I wouldn’t stay away from any particular songs. The whole album’s pretty good.

Revelation: Disc 3 is a concert DVD, which I haven’t watched yet. Maybe when I get around to that, I’ll post an addendum to this review.

But yeah, it is unfortunately a Walmart exclusive, but at 3 discs for only $12, it’s not too unfortunate. Came out to around $15 with shipping and tax — still not bad. I definitely recommend you go check it out.

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From → Music, The '80s

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