Evolution (1979)


 
1. Majestic 2. Too Late 3. Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' 4. City of the Angels 5. When You're Alone (It Ain't Easy) 6. Sweet and Simple 7. Lovin' You is Easy 8. Just the Same Way 9. Do You Recall 10.Daydream 11.Lady Luck

 

It was pretty amazing to see how this band was able to take such a radical left turn on the previous record, Infinity, and do it in such a powerful, warm, well received way. If anything, this album finely replicates its predecessor. There's a new drummer - Steve Smith (Ansley Dunbar wasn't too crazy about the band's new direction), and his presence is definitely noticeable, but other than that, this record seems have a message that their latest sound would be the same sound they would be anchored. Perhaps, then, the title of this album is bit of an misnomer, since they haven't really "evolved" from their last album that much. As mentioned, though, they've definitely became a new creature.

Also ironic is that when one glances at the album tracks, they really don't reveal that many well known favorites. Apart from the defining, excellent Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin, there aren't any "hits" here, and one may be inclined to skip the album and get the above mentioned song on one of the many "best of" compilations. I would advise against this, since the album is almost immaculate. Every fan is bound to have their select favorites, and, yes, obviously some songs stand out significantly better than others, but the album is a carefully crafted exercise of great song writing and musicianship.

Steve Perry has now won the hearts of millions (well, maybe not quite that many yet) and the brand of the band had changed to perhaps define the term "arena rock" that would dominate the next several years. Every song on here has the band's unique stamp of professionalism and should please everyone that considers themselves a "fan". Yes, they would be accused a few years later of "going commercial" and/or "selling out" with their radio friendly top 40 ballads, and even though the music put out by these guys around this time isn't that different, this should please those, who for whatever reason, were turned off by the band's massive popularity in the 1980s.

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