Generations (2005)


 
1. Faith in the Heartland 2. The Place in Your Heart 3. A Better Life 4. Every Generation 5. Butterfly (She Flies Alone) 6. Believe 7. Knowing That You Love Me 8. Out of Harms Way 9. In Self Defense 10.Better Together 11.Gone Crazy 12.Beyond the Clouds

 

Journey made a very respectable attempt to move on with new vocalist Steve Augeri on 2001's Arrival, an album that tried its hardest - and mostly succeeded, in replicating the band's classic sound. However, like most classic rock bands that were around in the 21st century that were popular 30 some-odd years ago, that didn't necessarily translate into a lot of record sales, so not surprisingly, they were dropped from their record label. After putting out an experimental, internet available only EP titled "Red 13", they finally received a (much smaller) record deal to continue, and the band tries to push a bit in a different direction.

Sadly, this experiment mostly fails, mainly because no one, not even the band probably, could tell what direction the band was trying to go. There are elements of the classic Journey here, but they're scattered a bit too far and too infrequent. For some reason, the band tries to have at least one song with everyone in the band taking a turn singing lead vocals. This, again, mostly fails. Drummer Deen Castronova is the most successful at his two songs, probably because he sounds very similar to Perry/Augeri. Cain doesn't do too bad on Every Generation, and to be honest, it's not his singing that brings the song (and album) down, but it's the fact, like most of the material here, just isn't very good.

The less said about the Neal Schon and Ross Valory songs (which would be In Self Defense and Gone Crazy, respectively) the better. The songs actually sound like they're trying to copy Van Halen or ZZ Top. Again, it doesn't matter about the style necessarily (even though I personally wish they would just try to sound like Journey) when the songs just don't sound memorable. It's not that the album doesn't try. This thing is so immaculately produced, with every detail spent on making sure the instruments and singing resonate what the producer feels as though it should. No, the problem is that it sounds like nobody bothered to listen to the finished product and determine if anyone would actually listen to the songs repeatedly. On this same note, they seem to also try too hard to make these songs as long as possible. I would guess the average song length is at about five and a half minutes - which is far too long to listen to mediocre numbers. It's a bit disheartening when your listening to the album, and thinking you might be almost through with the mammoth record - only to find out the album is still on the fourth or fifth song.

Fortunately the whole record isn't a total disaster. The record has two very strong tracks in Faith in the Heartland and Beyond the Clouds. Sadly, the latter is very close to the end of the record, and it shouldn't surprise anyone that many people probably aren't familiar with the song because even the most relentless fan may have given up on this record long before they can get that far. Not surprisingly, the band was dropped from their label after this one album, and the band would soon find themselves in need of a new singer (actually two - one right after the next) very soon. The band wisely decided to sound like its old familiar self on its next record.

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