Alright, so I guess it’s my turn. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go this route, because Journey was the first band I thought of and I didn’t want to select such an obvious candidate. Nevertheless, I decided to go with my gut and here we are. Behold!- My contribution to “What?!”:
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Journey. In my humble opinion, the combination of Steve Perry’s vocals, Neal Schon’s guitar work and Jonathan Cain’s keys alone, make for an unearthly experience, incomparable to any other band of musicians, past, present or future.
I chose their 8th album, Frontiers, for two reasons. This album comes with my favorite Journey album cover (it’s got the cool sci-fi vibe I always go for) and two of my favorite songs of all time: “Separate Ways (Words Apart)” and “Faithfully”. Now, before you get up on your high horse and bash me for liking the singles, please have mercy. I’m only 31 years old and all my favorite Journey songs and albums came out before I was born. So, growing up in a “Journeyless” household, I was exposed to the singles first. But getting away from the hits, another standout moment on this album for me is the main riff in “Edge of the Blade”. If you really listen to everything Journey released up until 1983 especially, you’ll find that Schon wrote some of the most driving rock riffs ever, and while his lead work wasn’t the most intricate (at least not on the albums), he provided just the right amount of “emotional shred” in every song that called for it.
A lot of people just write Journey off and lump them in with the “arena rock” crowd of bands, saying that they’re just another version of Europe, Foreigner or others of the like. But still to this day, I think Journey did it differently and remains untouched in that regard. Just listen to the song, “Troubled Child”. Perry’s vocals in the chorus have this raw, almost aggressive emotion behind them, which only adds to the overall hook in the song. I’ve never quite heard anything like it in the genre or on another Journey track (and I’ve heard a lot of arena rock by now!). “War with yourself makes you feel better, Caught behind the lines, Troubled child, Faith finds a cure, It makes you feel better, You know you can shine, Troubled child”
“Back talk” is another fun one. It starts off with one of the heaviest riffs in Journey history, then goes into Steve Perry’s infamous rant: “I work all day to make a livin’, No one needs, Your kind of attitude, Your sharp tongue, It cuts me like a razor, Lip service gets you nowhere, No, no, no, Back talk, I don’t need it, B-B-B-back talk I don’t need it, No, no, no back talk, Don’t want to hear it, Don’t give me no back talk” In fact, now I’m all giggly over it, so I need to share:
The way he sings “Back talk” makes me laugh every time, but that’s another reason I love this album as a whole. I’m sure most of you can admit that you often find yourself making fun of your favorite bands. I think it just adds to the enjoyment.
Well, I won’t bore you any longer with this. I’ve said my piece. I’m just hoping that at least a few Journey fans read this that I can have a conversation with! Thanks for checking this out!
Steve Perry- Vocals
Neal Schon- Guitars
Jonathan Cain- Keys
Ross Valory- Bass
Steve Smith- Drums