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Subject: "Raised On Radio" Album Review


Author:
Mike H.
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Date Posted: 19:50:31 09/10/02 Tue

"Raised On Radio," Journey’s tenth release for Columbia Records (the label they were on during the entire Steve Perry era from1978-1996) deviated from Journey’s “root sound.” The “Journey” began in December of 1973 in San Francisco, California when two rock ‘n roll icons, Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie of Santana, began recording for Columbia with their own group. Their first three albums, "Journey" (1975); "Look Into The Future" (1976); and "Next" (1977) weren’t big commercial successes, so Columbia Records, unless the group’s fourth release was successful, was going to drop the group from their label. After Next, a budding California-based singer and songwriter from a group called, Alien Project, by the name of Steve Perry, joined the group; thus, began an era of rock ‘n roll that would respectively change the genre forever. Aside from "Raised On Radio," the group’s six previously released six albums featuring Steve Perry (five studio and one live) were "Infinity" (1978) – a studio album featuring Steve Perry for the first time; "Evolution" (1979) -- one of the three Steve-Perry-era Journey studio albums I don’t have; "Departure" (1980) – the second of the three I don’t have and Gregg Rolie’s “exit” album; "Captured" (1981) – the first of two live albums recorded during the Steve Perry era; "Escape" (1981) – Jonathan Cain’s and Steve Smith’s debut (the group’s “breakthrough” album); and "Frontiers" (1983). Steve Perry and Neal Schon pursued solo careers during this time. Neal Schon and Jan Hammer recorded "Schon and Hammer" in 1984 (a creative venture that slighted Steve Perry); thus, Mr. Perry recorded "Street Talk" (1984) -- an album heavily influenced by soul and pop. And then, two years later, Steve Perry contacted Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain to record this album -– an album in which Steve Perry would tour with Journey for the last time.

The first cut on this record, “Girl Can’t Help It,” with words written by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain and music written by Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon, has a cool mid-tempo rhythm with great vocal harmony from Steve Perry, Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain. It has “killer” guitar work from Neal Schon and a great keyboard intro from Jonathan Cain. It’s the best mid-tempo tune on this album. It’s a great opener. I like its “driving” rhythm, too. I like the vocal harmony line at the end. “Ooo! Nothing stands between love and you.”

The second cut on this album, “Positive Touch,” with words written by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain and music written by Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon, has a great three-bar keyboard intro followed by a guitar intro. I love the keyboard intro at the beginning and Neal’s guitar solo. Mr. Perry does well here, too, although, I don’t particularly care for Dan Hull’s tenor sax solo. I love the sax in general (I’ve played it for fifteen years), but the sound of the horn on this tune is too “dark.” It’s an OK tune. The keyboard intro and lead vocal make this tune. I like Bob Glaub’s bass guitar work and Steve Smith’s drum backbeat on this tune.

The third tune on this album, “Suzanne,” with words written by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain and music written by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain, is a cool tune. It has a “driving” rhythm with a cool keyboard flourishes from Jonathan Cain, it has “killer” vocal from Steve Perry and “rockin’” guitar from Neal Schon. Randy Jackson’s bass guitar work and Larrie Lonin’s backbeat on drums are cool. Mr. Perry’s vocal is what really stands out here. This tune reminds me of the actress, Suzanne Somers, and the “movie star” crush I had on her as a kid watching reruns of “Three’s Company.” I love Neal Schon’s guitar solo and Steve Perry’s “wailing” vocal on this tune. So, far, “Girl Can’t Help It” and “Suzanne” are my favorites. “Positive Touch” wasn’t that good. The backbeat was too mundane.

The fourth song on this album, “Be Good To Yourself,” with words written by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain and music written by Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon, is great. I love the lead vocal from Steve Perry. The keyboard flourishes from Jon Cain are hip, and I love Neal Schon’s “killer” guitar solo at the end of the tune; although, this tune lacks something in another area. It seems to have no substance. It seems to me as though any band could’ve played this tune. No one else could’ve sung this song, but there could’ve been a different keyboard player or guitarist. I didn’t care for Neal’s guitar solo, and the backbeat on this tune lags. The vocal harmony is OK, too. It seems to be an OK closer for the “Greatest Hits” disk though. Steve Perry’s vocal and Neal’s guitar solo are this tune’s only pluses.

The fifth song on this album, “Once You Love Somebody,” with words written by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain and music written by Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon, is a funky tune with so much truth to it. “Once you love somebody, there’s no turnin’ back. It (those feelings) can burn forever. It can haunt you…haunt you in the night.” Once you love somebody, those feelings may change, but they don’t go away. I know the meaning of this tune because I still have feelings for a girl who broke up with me six years ago. I’m not in love with her, but I still care about her. I love Randy Jackson’s bass guitar work, I love Steve Perry’s “wailing” vocal, and Neal’s guitar solo is “heartfelt.” The vocal harmony is breathtaking. Randy Jackson’s work on bass, and Steve Perry’s vocal stand out here.

The sixth tune on this album, “Happy To Give,” with words and music written by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain, is a beautiful ballad. I love Steve Perry’s “soaring” vocal on this tune. Jon Cain’s keyboard flourishes are “magical.” This tune has a lot of heart. I love the lyrics because I believe that’s what love is. I think that love is about each party being ‘happy to give’ to each other. It’s about giving, not taking.

The seventh tune on this album, “Raised On Radio,” with words written by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain and music written by Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon, isn’t that good. It’s corny. Steve Perry does nothing but “shout.” Neal Schon’s guitar solo is good, but the lead vocal, the keyboard work and the lyrics lack in a certain area. It seems as though Steve Perry is trying to hard. I could hardly hear Jon Cain’s keyboard work, and I don’t think the theme of the song has any meaning because all Steve does is make reference to the music he grew up listening to. If there’s anything good about this tune it’s the harmonica intro at the beginning. Larrie Londin’s backbeat, and Neal’s guitar work is cool, too. It’s my least favorite on this album.

The eighth tune on this album, “I’ll Be Alright Without You,” with words written by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain and music written by Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon, is nice. I like Neal Schon’s guitar intro and Steve Perry’s vocal. The harmony is good too. I feel this way right now about my ex girlfriend. If you listen to the song, you’ll know what I mean. I like Neal Schon’s guitar solo at the end, and I like Randy Jackson’s bass guitar work and Larrie Londin’s backbeat on drums. Steve and Neal do a great job here.

The ninth track on this album, “It Could Have Been You,” with words written by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain and music written by Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon, is the best rocker on this album. I think that this is the one tune on this album that is a favorite. If I like anything on this album, this is it. I think that Steve Perry’s lead vocal and vocal harmony is superb. I really think that Neal Schon’s guitar solo is “heartfelt,” and Larrie Londin’s drumming and Randy Jackson’s bass guitar work on the backbeat is cool. I like Jon Cain’s keyboard intro, too. It’s groovy.

The tenth track, “The Eyes Of A Woman,” with words written by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain and music written by Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon, is cool. I like Larrie Londin’s drumming at the beginning before Mr. Perry’s vocal comes in. I think Jon Cain’s delicate keyboard flourishes are “flawless.” Neal’s guitar solo is cool, but the only thing that I don’t care for is the backbeat Bob Glaub and Steve Smith display. It’s too dragged-out, although, I think that Steve Smith is a better drummer than Larrie Londin is. The overall feel of this tune is very sensual though. I like it.

And last, but not least, track eleven, “Why Can’t This Night Go On Forever,” with words and music written by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain, is this album’s “power ballad.” Everything about this tune, both melodically and rhythmically, is top-notch. I love Neal Schon’s guitar solo. I think that Jon Cain’s keyboard line is OK. Steve Smith’s drum work is cool, and Steve Perry burns down the house on lead vocal. In the essence of the “power ballad,” this tune is 100% pure Journey.

Overall, "Raised On Radio" is a nice end to an era that spanned about nine years before Mr. Perry staged a short-lived reunion ten years later. Out of all of the Journey albums from the Steve Perry era (1978-1996), this is my least favorite because of its “sugarcoated” pop façade. “Escape” was a better album because of the music’s “powerful” and “gritty” texture as opposed to this album’s “smooth” and “polished” texture. This album still facilitated a good show from Steve Perry (the group’s lead singer) though, and it made my musical “Journey,” while writing this review, all the more worthwhile.

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