Raised on Radio (1986): Journey

Lovin’, Touchn’ Squeezin’.  Lyrical gold.  Journey is a popular band. Since they formed over 40 years ago, they’ve been through many lineup changes. Their breakthrough album was Infinity, the band’s fourth album, released in 1978.  This was the album when Steve Perry joined the band.  “Wheel in the Sky,” “Lights” and “Feelin’ That Way” were the huge songs from that album. It was platinum albums and stadiums.

the-three
Perry, Cain, Schon

I never saw the Steve Perry-Journey in concert, but I have the more recent version. Journey without Perry is like Yes without Jon Anderson. It might be good, but it ain’t great.

The album was produced by Steve Perry.  With the success of his solo album, and uncertainty of his solo career, he gained a lot of power in the band.  Two members were fired, so it was Perry/Cain/Schon.  A minimum of the 1980s slick production, some but not overdone.  Number four on the album chart and 2 million units sold. Not bad.

 

Journey_Girl_Can't_Help_It“Girl Can’t Help It” – A swinging song to start the album,, a killer piano riff.  My favorite Journey song. Soulful and rocking.  The girl can’t help it, she needs love. Only Journey could get by with this lyric.  A number 17 charting single.

“Positive Touch” – Uptempo, pounding bass, riffing guitars and driving piano.  Steve Perry full throttle vocals.  This song has hit written all over it.  It moves and grooves, has a big Schon guitar solo, keen piano work by Cain, and thumping rhythm section, and big Perry vocal send-off.

“Suzanne” – Another uptempo, thumper, piano fills, guitars riffing in the right places.  Perry’s vocals seem to disappear into the stratosphere, he goes so high on the chorus.  Screaming solo by Schon.  A number 17 charting single.

“Be Good to Yourself” – The prototype Journey summer-stadium tour anthem.  Big guitars and keyboards, with layered Perry vocals.  Look out radio, here it comes.  If there is a Journey type song, this is it.  A number nine charting single.

“Once You Love Somebody” – A great funky bass vibe, it establishes the music spine for the song.  A love song, like a power ballad, forceful guitars, soulful vocals by Perry. Synth riffs, then a searing solo by Schon.  It follows the pattern, but they make it sound fresh.

“Happy to Give” – A power ballad, silky musical sheen, the most 1980s sounding song on the album.  Perry pulls out some old Journey vocal tricks to give it a familiar sound.  A bit of a Journey retread.

“Raised on Radio – A blues harp, then a dirty guitar, and a driving bass/drums.  A bit different from the typical Journey song, something that starts bluesy but turns into rock.  The theme of the song is appreciation of past genres of music.

 

“I’ll Be Alright Without You” – One of the two best songs on the album.  I’ve loved this I'll_Be_Alright_Without_Yousong since I first heard it.  Less echo and production gloss, more of a straight forward, funky, rock song.  Worth the price of admission.  A number 14 charting single.

“It Could Have Been You” – A great guitar riff into by Schon.  A pretty darn good song, very original groove.

“The Eyes of a Woman” – The least interesting song on the album.

“Why Can’t This Go On Forever” – A power ballad.  A very sweet song, although the guitar shreds in the background. A killer song in concert. Why can’t this night…go on forever, Without love, we won’t survive, Run together, we rule the night. Did very well on the Adult Contemporary Chart.

 

Perry would make one more album with the group before departing, but fans would have to wait a decade to get it.  Trial By Fire (1996) sold well and spun several hit singles but it seems overproduced an less creative than Raised On Radio. Since then, Journey has been through two lead singers with Arnel Pineda currently with the band.  They remain a huge concert draw.

In 2017, Journey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Steve Perry was in attendance, but declined to join the band in any musical numbers, or consider any future work together.

 


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