Arrival (2001)


 
1. Higher Place 2. All the Way 3. Signs of Live 4. All the Things 5. Loved By You 6. Livin' to Do 7. World Gone Wild 8. I Got a Reason 9. With Your Love 10.Lifetime of Dreams 11.Live and Breathe 12.Nothin' Comes Close 13.To Be Alive Again 14.Kiss Me Softly 15.We Will Meet Again

 

Journey was one of my favorite bands back in high school in the early 80s. Another one of my favorites was the group Styx. As the 21st century started, it was amazing how similar the paths of both of these bands took. They both disbanded in the 80s, mostly due to personal differences, both reunited with their "classic" lineups in the mid 90s, both put out mediocre, disappointing "reunion" albums, both lost their frontman (in less then friendly fashion), and then both managed to carry on and put out a much stronger album without their "leader".

The main difference was that Journey wisely decided to find a "copy" of departed singer Steve Perry. This was a smart move, because if the band was going to keep performing, audiences obviously wanted to hear the old favorites, and new frontman Steve Augeri delivers quite well. No, he's not an exact replica of Perry, and side by side he does come up a bit short, but who wouldn't? Strangely, the songs themselves don't suffer at all from Perry's absence (he was a key writer as well), and this album is undeniably better than anything they've put out in almost two decades. Also gone is drummer Steve Smith, who apparently only wanted to stay if Perry stayed. In his place is another alumni (as was Jonathan Cain) of The Babys, Deen Castronovo.

All the band's key elements are here - from radio friendly rock/pop, harder edged tunes, and some sweet sappy ballads that really turned into the band's trademark and was their highlight despite what some naysayers say. Side by side next to their best albums in their heyday, this album obviously doesn't quite compare, but under the circumstances, it was a quiet, major achievement. Like most discs that have 15 songs, this one sounds like it could have been shaved by two or three tracks, but this record leans much more to the "positive" side and definitely makes you feel like your twenty years younger and enjoying this band when they did what they did best.

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