Subject: "The Essential Journey" Album Review
Date Posted: 13:42:47 09/13/03 Sat
It seems to me, The Essential Journey, this 32-song collection was a way for Journey to stay true to their “corporate rock” image with the exception of including 3 “Trial By Fire” tracks. The 15 track “Journey’s Greatest Hits” collection isn’t needed here as on disc one the first 13 tracks are exactly the same as the first 13 (out of 15) on “Greatest Hits” and the other two “Greatest Hits” tracks are in this collection (one on this disc and the other on disc two).
The 16 tracks on disc one are as follows:
1. “Only The Young,” S. Perry, N. Schon and J. Cain, is a really good tune. It’s got great vocal harmony and an awesome guitar solo.
2. “Don’t Stop Believin,’” S. Perry, N. Schon, and J. Cain, has a cool piano intro, awesome vocals by Steve Perry and a “killer” guitar solo by Neal Schon
3. “Wheel In The Sky,” by N. Schon, D. Valory, R. Fleischman, is good. Steve Perry’s lead vocal is too high, Neal Schon’s guitar solo is good, but the vocal harmony is the best.
4. “Faithfully,” by J. Cain, is the most heart-wrenching ballad. Jon Cain’s piano is intro is nice, Perry’s vocals are great, and Neal’s guitar solo is awesome.
5. “Anyway You Want It,” S. Perry, N. Schon, has great lead vocals by Steve Perry and flawless guitar work from Neal Schon.
6. “Ask The Lonely,” S. Perry, J. Cain, has a funky keyboard from Jon Cain and rockin’ guitar from Neal Schon on the intro with a guitar great solo. Perry’s vocals are flawless too.
7. “Who’s Crying Now,” by S. Perry and J. Cain, has a cool piano intro from Cain, a great guitar interlude by Neal Schon before his solo and terrific vocal harmony from Perry.
8. “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” by S. Perry, N. Schon, J. Cain, is a kick-butt rocker with a keyboard intro that got me pumped, “killer” vocals from Steve Perry, and a “chilling” guitar solo from Neal Schon.
9. “Lights,” by S. Perry, N. Schon, has phenomenal vocal harmony, excellent lead vocal from Steve Perry and a great guitar solo from Neal Schon.
10. “Lovin,’ Touchin,’ Squeezin,’” by S. Perry, is OK. I love his vocal, but the bluesy backbeat is just so, so. I always get a kick out of the theme of the song. It’s universal. Neal’s guitar solo is cool, and the vocal harmony at the end is great.
11. “Open Arms,” by J. Cain, is a gorgeous tune. The narrator of VH1’s “Behind The Music” was right when he said, “It may be the best known rock ballad ever written…a backdrop for decades of long dances and slow kisses.” It is because it has great piano from Cain, and Perry is in top form on lead vocals.
12. “Girl Can’t Help It,” by S. Perry and J. Cain, is probably the only really good tune out of the three from “ROR” here. I love the backbeat from Randy Jackson, Perry’s vocals are cool, Cain’s keyboard work is OK, and Neal has a good guitar solo.
13. “Send Her My Love,” by S. Perry and J. Cain, has a cool, rhythmic intro by Jon Cain and Neal Schon. Schon’s got some cool guitar. I like Steve Smith’s rim shots too. Perry’s vocals are smooth.
14. “When You Love A Woman,” by S. Perry and J. Cain, is great. It’s the best ballad on “Trial By Fire.” It’s reminiscent of “Faithfully.” It has good vocal harmony, and a strong rhythm section, but Perry has lost some vocal range. Still awesome. Good guitar solo.
15. “I’ll Be Alright Without You,” by S. Perry and J. Cain, is OK. It’s not a favorite song because of the replacement of Valory and Smith. It has good harmony and an OK guitar solo.
16. “After The Fall,” by S. Perry and J. Cain, is a cool mid-tempo rocker. It has great vocal from Perry, cool guitar from Neal Schon and a nice keyboard vamp in the background of Neal’s solo from Jon Cain.
The 16 tracks on disc two are as follows:
1. “Chain Reaction,” by S. Perry, N. Schon, J. Cain, is OK. I like Perry’s lead vocal and Neal’s guitar solo, but the backbeat is too “stiff.”
2. “Message of Love,” by S. Perry, N. Schon, J. Cain, J. Bettis, is a “kick-butt” rocker for a reunion (it’s like they never broke up). Great guitar from Neal Schon and gruff, heartfelt vocals from Steve Perry.
3. “Somethin’ To Hide,” by S. Perry, and N. Schon, is fabulous. Perry’s vocals are a bit too high, yet still amazing, Neal’s guitar solo is cool. The vocal harmony is nice too.
4. “Line of Fire,” by S. Perry and N. Schon, is the best on this disc. It’s live, it’s raw, and it’s amazing. I love Perry’s vocals, the backbeat is bad (bad as in really awesome), and Neal’s solo is great. I love the cannon firing for the gunshot.
5. “Anytime,” by G. Rolie, R. Silver, Fleischman, N. Schon, R. Valory, is cool. Rolie’s vocal is OK, but Neal’s solo and the vocal harmony are cool. I like when Perry sings, “Oh, anytime at all…. anytime at all…anytime at all!” That’s really the only verse he has in this tune.
6. “Stone In Love,” by S. Perry, N. Schon, J. Cain, is good. I like Neal’s guitar intro. Perry’s vocal is “kick-butt.” I love the vocal harmony and Neal’s solo.
7. “Patiently,” by S. Perry and N. Schon, is the first tune Perry and Schon collaborated on. I love Neal’s acoustic intro. It compliments Perry’s gorgeous vibrato. Neal’s solo interlude with Perry’s “One…one in a million…oh…oo…oh…oo…oh…oo…oh!” is cool before they wind it down with the acoustic guitar.
8. “Good Morning, Girl,” S. Perry and M. Schon, has an OK guitar, but Perry’s vocal is what sticks out here. Awesome.
9. “The Eyes of A Woman,” by S. Perry, J. Cain and N. Schon, is nice. Perry’s vocal is cool. It has a lot of feeling. I like the rhythm of this tune.
10. “Be Good To Yourself,” by S. Perry, J. Cain and N. Schon, is cool. I like Cain’s keyboard intro. Perry’s vocal’s are “wailing,” Neal’s solo is good, and the vocal harmony isn’t bad.
11. “Still They Ride,” by S. Perry, N. Schon, and J. Cain, has great lead vocal by Steve Perry. It has a good guitar solo and good piano. Neal’s guitar work and Perry’s vocal work stick out here.
12. “Baby I’m A Leavin’ You,” S. Perry, J. Cain, and N. Schon, is OK. I think it was included to get a cross section of material. It’s neither a rocker nor a ballad. It has a Latin/reggae feel. It has good vocal from Perry and cool guitar from Schon. I certainly didn’t expect this of Journey…it’s OK.
13. “Mother, Father,” by S. Perry, N. Schon, J. Cain and M. Schon, has good vocal harmony. I like the piano intro from Cain over Neal’s acoustic guitar. Neal’s got a good rhythm going behind Perry’s vocal on the first two verses with good harmony on the chorus.
14. “Just The Same Way,” by G. Rolie, N. Schon and R. Valory, is good. I think Gregg Rolie’s piano intro with the drum shuffle is cool. Rolie’s vocal nice. Perry’s “echo” is awesome with the vocal harmony, and Neal’s solo is good at the end.
15. “Escape,” by S. Perry, N. Schon, and J. Cain, is sort of reminiscent of “Chain Reaction” at the beginning. On “Escape,” Perry’s vocal is great, the vocal harmony is good, Neal’s guitar solo is “soaring,” and Valory has a good rhythm going on bass guitar.
16. “The Party’s Over (Hopelessly In Love),” by S. Perry, has great vocal, and the rhythm section is good. Neal’s guitar riff is good, and Perry’s vocals are outstanding. I like the guitar playing behind the rhythm. It’s cool.
Overall, this album is a good cross section of material from the Perry years, although, it seems as though this “Essential” collection didn’t need to go beyond the “Trial By Fire” material here. The 15 songs featured here from the “Greatest Hits” disc and three “Trial By Fire” tracks are enough. The 14 others are “filler” material.
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