Journey - 1981 Escape

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ARTIST: Journey
ALBUM: Escape
LABEL: CBS
SERIAL: TC 37408
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1990, CBS, CK-37408

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Steve Perry - vocals * Neal Schon - guitars, vocals * Jonathan Cain - keyboards, guitars, vocals * Ross Valory - bass, vocals * Steve Smith - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Don't Stop Believin' * 02 Stone In Love * 03 Who's Crying Now * 04 Keep On Runnin' * 05 Still They Ride * 06 Escape * 07 Lay It Down * 08 Dead Or Alive * 09 Mother Father * 10 Open Arms

WEBLINKS: www.journeymusic.com

Background

'Escape', where does one start when reviewing an album like this on a site like this? 1981 saw the commencement of phase three for San Francisco's favourite melodic rockers.

The first phase of course - was their Santana flavoured progressive rock which saw the band release three albums.

Phase two saw the introduction of Steve Perry, and the release of four more albums between 1978 and 1980.

Phase three (this phase) saw the departure of longtime keyboardist Gregg Rolie and the introduction of ex The Babys guitarist-keyboardist Jonathan Cain.

Arguably, the 1981-1983 period was to see Journey reach full flight with this album, plus 1983's 'Frontiers'. No other melodic rock band bar Foreigner could touch the dizzying heights set by the band, as album sales and tour figures would show.

Musically, 'Escape' was more about razor sharp and clean lines. Sinew and refinement rather than muscle and bulk.

The Songs

Within the genre of AOR, 'Escape' stands at the head of the table. I'm certain that all readers who have an appreciation of the genre and its musical history won't have too much disagreement.

Looking at the track lineup, all of the songs (and I mean ALL) are classic songs in their own right. A complete album bar none. It's the sort of the album you can't play with one song in isolation. The whole thing needs to be played from start to finish.

'Don't Stop Believin', is still an anthem for blue collar America to this day. Whether it be on TV commercials or played at baseball games. Go figure!

The band demonstrate their power and precision on tracks such as 'Stone In Love' and 'Lay It Down', but for me, the title track 'Escape' is the absolute winner. Some terrific phrasing, solos and bass-lines underpin what to me is the ultimate Journey song.

Journey have perfected the art of the power-ballad. Perhaps it all started here on this album? Tunes such as 'Still They Ride' and 'Mother Father' epitomise this style. However, it was the efforts of the other ballad pairing of 'Who's Crying Now' and 'Open Arms' that shot the band into the stratosphere. Both of those songs shooting high into the Billboard charts.

Undeniable that Jonathan Cain's input and collaboration with Steve Perry took the band to a new level.

In Summary

'Escape' spent countless weeks at the top end of the album charts. The two aforementioned singles played on radio the world over during the 1981 year.

The touring schedule took them all over the North American continent and to Japan, but strangely, not to Europe or Britain, which was a sore point to many melodic rockers over there in Blighty.

After a hectic schedule was completed, the band rested up in 1982, readying themselves for their next assault. 1983's 'Frontiers'.


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