When I searched online for information about Journey, I came up with a wealth of facts about record sales, platinum albums, billboard chart entries, and even a Grammy nominated hit called ‘When You Love A Woman’. Yet despite all their commercial success in the 1980’s, many people here still utter the word ‘who’ when people speak of the American band. I was initially one of those people, though thanks to an unsigned band covering one of their biggest hits at live gigs, I’ve not only discovered Journey, but embraced them and their music! Their songs have also gained greater popularity in the UK recently thanks to airtime on the X Factor, which although it pains me to say it, is all to the good, when it comes to this band.
I hope that the renewed interest in Journey’s music will continue long term, and that many more bands and music fans will check out their ‘Greatest Hits’ album just as I’ve done. It’s an album that alternates between high energy and high emotion, both things displayed in a variety of chilled 80’s rock, power pop ballads, and heavy rock anthems. It’s a heady mix of styles complimented by Steve Perry’s wide ranging and inspiring vocal.
Common themes and common words appear throughout the album; life is referred to in terms of a wheel turning, and there are references to nature, sleepless nights and city life too. Some songs don’t have many lyrics, and are carried through by repetition, or their style (in the case of the rockier numbers), while others are charming ‘story’ songs.
Although the repetition on some tracks like ‘Lights’ and ‘Only The Young’ didn’t always keep my attention, there were a couple of outstanding ‘story’ songs that swiftly became album favourites. The first of these is perhaps Journey’s best known hit, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’. The interesting lyrics brought on an instant sing-along, and I enjoyed the different lyrical structure, strong beat, and how the subtle bursts of guitar eventually exploded with a drum beat to create an anthemic arrangement. My other favourite was the ballad ‘Faithfully’, which had a beautiful piano led melody and a story of life and relationships when you’re in a band. Other stand out tracks include ‘Open Arms’, the power ballad which Dads everywhere (including mine) will love, ‘Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ which adds some variety and a jazzy/blues vibe to the CD, and final track ‘Be Good To Yourself’. This is a very catchy song, which reminds me a bit of fellow American rock legends Bon Jovi, and although the lyrics in the chorus get a bit lost in the music, it is overall a great way to close the album.
Although I’ve only become familiar with Journey recently, there was a classic eighties vibe to some of the tracks which I could identify with, and a great feel to the anthems and ballads that would work well in todays music scene. I like the way the band switch between rocking out, chilling out, and delivering up an emotive reflective ballad. They’ve got variety in their Greatest Hits, which can only be a good thing. After all, ‘variety is the spice of life’.
Journey: The Greatest Hits is available from all good record stores and download sites.