Journey - 2001 Arrival


ARTIST: Journey
ALBUM: Arrival
LABEL: Columbia
YEAR: 2001


LINEUP: Steve Augeri - vocals, guitars * Neal Schon - guitars, vocals * Jonathan Cain - keyboards, guitars, vocals * Ross Valory - bass, vocals * Deen Castronovo - drums, percussion, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Higher Place * 02 All The Way * 03 Signs Of Life * 04 All The Things I Love About You * 05 Loved By You * 06 Livin' To Do * 07 I Got A Reason * 08 With Your Love * 09 Lifetime Of Dreams * 10 Live And Breathe * 11 Kiss Me Softly * 12 I'm Not That Way * 13 We Will Meet Again * 14 To Be Alive Again * 15 Remember Me * 15 Remember Me


It's always a day of reckoning when a Journey album gets released. I feel that the gods of AOR are shining down on me when I get my hands on any new stuff from our premier AOR band. A day of reckoning indeed, in many ways.

Firstly, life after Steve Perry with replacement singer/guitarist Steve Augeri (ex Tall Stories and Tyketto). Secondly, where are they at after 1996's 'Trial By Fire' album? Which many people (excluding me) thought was an overly disappointing effort.

Sure it had a lot of ballads but come on people, with tracks like 'Forever In Blue' and 'If He Should Break Your Heart' and the luscious 'When I Think Of You', class will always prevail.

And thirdly but most importantly, how relevant are Journey in the 21st Century? In a musical world populated with the likes of Enimem, Westlife and Ricky Martin?

In a nutshell, 'Arrival' is a solid mature release, with something there for all melodic rock fans. Their songs drift effortlessly upon Jonathan Cain's predominant keyboard/piano based motifs while Schon's guitar as always provides the perfect foil, with ease, grace and taste.

At times, Augeri's vocals come oh so close to Perry's timeless warblings, but you'd be forgiven for thinking he was a clone. No, but there are some definite influences, but not enough to say 'rip-off'.

The Songs

The opener 'A Higher Place' is pretty impressive stuff I gotta say. Big booming stuff, with a bridge and chorus to die for! Very much like some of the guitar cutting stuff they did on 'Frontiers' or 'Escape'. What a way to open an album!!

The balladic brakes immediately come on with 'All The Way', melodic nonetheless but I can't help thinking that this could be a recent Aerosmith ballad. Actually no - this is pretty good. Augeri's voice picture perfect.

'Signs Of Life' has all the hallmarks of previous Journey tracks, in which you can hear trademark signatures all the way through.

'Live And Breathe' is a smooth syncopated piece, grooving along like an AOR version of Seal. I like this one a lot.

There's quite a lot of melodrama on the rather cool 'Kiss Me Softly', a ballad with an edge, so to speak. Cain's piano work is quite jazzy while Schon's guitar has that Spanish acoustic flavour from his recent solo albums.

Other tracks which stand out include the upbeat AOR histronics of 'To Be Alive Again', the commercial radio friendliness of 'Remember Me' (which had been released earlier) and a Cain influenced ballad called 'With Your Love'.

Unfortunately, the rest of the tracks (and there are a few of them) don't quite do it for me. It's well done, but it's also plain-jane, compared to the dizzy heights of their previous achievements.

In Summary

A pass mark? well, just. Some great songs, but no real killers. I think Augeri does a wonderful job, but perhaps in the lyrics and arrangement department possibly there's a let down of sorts.

I remember Jonathan Cain saying once in reference to Journey and Steve Perry on their prior break-up. 'We didn't want to leave this great big beautiful Harley Davidson we had customized sitting in the garage. Neal and I thought we could ride it. But we knew who had the keys.'

And on that note, I'd say that Perry is indeed missing somewhere in action, and still has those damn keys in his back pocket.

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