Journey - 2005 Generations

ARTIST: Journey
ALBUM: Generations
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2005

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

TRACK LISTING: 01 Faith In The Heartland * 02 The Place In Your Heart * 03 A Better Life * 04 Every Generation * 05 Guttefly (She Flies Alone) * 06 Believe * 07 Knowing That You Love Me * 08 Out Of Harms Way * 09 In Self Defence * 10 Better Together * 11 Gone Crazy * 12 Beyond The Clouds * 13 It's Never Too Late (Bonus)

RATING: image


This album from the 'great ones' has been much anticipated by many of us. There were a few 'ifs' though. Was this going to be a repeat of the 2002 'Red' EP which admittedly didn't do the band any favours. How were they going to be perceived now signed to a label other than Columbia/CBS/Sony who were their bread and butter from Day One. Some would take that as a sign of being over the hill. I can tell you quite categorically.

These guys are definitely not over the hill. But a return to the sort of form which had them swinging in the aisles circa 1978-1983 is probably long gone now. To be fair though, their style of music is now starting to win over a new legion of younger fans. Perhaps the moms and the dads plus the kids in tow can enjoy a Journey concert as a night out of entertainment.

Scary possibility, perhaps a very good reason as to why the album has been titled as it is. Musically, 'Generations' as a body of music is a strong statement from a band that has been together thirty years. Words such as uneven, hot and cold, and erratic don't really pass muster if you've heard every piece of music that they've created.

Yes, it is a mix, but like any album this is a snapshot of their musical creativity at this point in time. Certainly, there will be some 'not so good' moments. Overall, what we get mainly, is 'very good'. There are some great moments. Moment of olde Journey even. The mix of power, melody, and ballads hasn't diminished after all these years. I do like the idea of each band member being able to sing.

Most surprising are the vocals of drummer Deen Castronovo. My god, this guy is more Steve Perry than Steve Augeri. What a talent. If Deen ever decided to follow in the footsteps of Phil Collins and step out from behind the drumkit, then he has a whole new career awaiting him. OK, Let's take a snapshot of all these songs.

The Songs

Faith In The Heartland: An atmospheric intro is the prelude to some stirring Schon power chords. This one rocks as if we are in 1981 reliving 'Escape'. Augeri sounds terrific. Wonderful start, and a song that will go down very well live - particularly if you are living in the Heartland, this song is for you.

The Place In Your Heart: Wow, fantastic stuff. This is an album highlight. The guitars harking back to 'Chain Reaction' from 'Frontiers'. The song is a glorious example of a band who know how to put a decent melodic rock song together. This is the lead-off track for the forthcoming US release during Oct 2005 by Sanctuary Records. Good choice I reckon.

A Better Life: Without doubt my fave track off the album. Deen sings this one. A beautiful poignant song, the delicious keyboard layers soaks this song in abundant melody. Really, this guy can sing amazingly well. Very impressed.

Every Generation: This one fuses Journey's older bluesier sound circa 'Evolution' with a modern approach. The big drums and bashing piano lines fill the sound out. Jonathan Cain sings this one.

Butterfly (She Flies Alone): The first proper ballad. The lyrics are very personal, the sound understated and melancholy, but still the trademark signatures are there for all to hear.

Believe: A mid-tempo rocker which despite some very good qualities, seems to be a contender for the fast forward button. No disrespect, but every album will contain a song like this.

Knowing That You Love Me: Quite liked this one too. Ballad in style, not unlike the power-ballads we've heard from yesteryear. Even the boy-band sounding chorus didn't detract me from this song. Perhaps this is 'Open Arms' or 'Faithfully' recreated for the 21st Century?

Out Of Harms Way: The band harden up for this effort. It has a lot of that 'Frontiers' era sound, a la 'Edge Of The Blade'. Quite a dramatic song when compared to the rest of the material. The lyrics are very contemporary, the mention of war, Iraq etc, so one suspects that this is a Soldiers story.

In Self Defence: Neal sings this one. This is a hard and fast rocker. It has a feel that takes us back to his Schon And Hammer days, though with a bit more velocity. Listen to this one a bit more and you also start hearing 'Dead Or Alive' ('Escape') coming through.

Better Together: Another rocker, but not as interesting as the others, considering the quality of the material we've heard so far. But then again, a 'so-so' Journey song is still exceptional by any means.

Gone Crazy: An all out blues rocker. A good live song and a change-up for sure. Ross Valory sings this one though admittedly, it doesn't sound like Journey at all.

Beyond The Clouds: This one is poignant, sensitive, tender, and warm. Steve Augeri delivers this ballad on a plate, while Schon provides the six-string energy. Definitely trademark Journey, even if Steve Perry is no longer around.

It's Never Too Late (Bonus): Ah take me back to 1980 please. The 'Departure' era sound on this one is a perfect way to end the album. Deen does the honors here again. The stomping rhythm and killer chorus ensure this album doesn't end on a whimper.

As you can see/read, most of these songs are pretty good. A couple don't quite make the grade, I would say that ten good tracks out of thirteen isn't a bad return on your investment. But that's just me, other people will critique this album differently.

In Summary

Look, any day a new Journey album gets released, it has more impact on my life than a swarm of Hurricanes bearing down with a host of family names such as Katrina and Rita saying hello to me and my house. It is for some (myself included) a momentous occasion, enough to generate a years worth of web blogs by just talking about this album.

The album was licensed for release in Europe through Frontiers Records, and then gets a local US release through Sanctuary Records during October 2005. Always worth talking about, always worth listening to. Journey - the quintessential AOR rock band of our time.

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