This album to me is their best, they were close also with “Infinity” but on “Escape” it is one rock and ballad CD that came out in the early 80’s that wasn’t hair band stuff, but overall is pretty similar and much better if you listen close enough to it.
Nowadays perhaps they are considered a “guilty pleasure” due to perhaps their commercial appeal to teenage girls, women, and perhaps guys who were not really into metal, but were somewhere in between. Journey were I guess according to my sister somewhat attractive guys who made accessible songs, catchy songs with hooks and melody, who rocked enough to annoy your parents, but did those sappy ballads that made them swoon. After many years to me they appeal to a broader range than I remember, and if you think all those hair bands in the mid to late 80’s sounded the same and were embarassingly cheesy, give Journey a chance to give an early glimpse of how it should have been done, and in ‘81 it sets the template in places for the rock and ballad Cd. A Band like UFO had this down, Scorpions also back before this even and all had their own sound. Journey added in a nice dose of melody that would also become the norm in hard rock. Perhaps they were a tad bit softer than your average 80’s hard rocker, but listening to this now it’s a fun CD to jam to, they don’t have a single filler track here, and my fav songs are mostly non singles it seems, and lesser known songs.
Fav song of all time by the band is here in “Stone In Love” which is a classic journey song, hard rock, guitar solo, plenty of melody. Aanother fav in the title track “Escape”, and it rocks plenty also with “Lay It Down”, “Dead Or Alive”, and “Keep On Runnin’”, and I also love one of the 3 ballads in “Still They Ride”. It has plenty of radio singles also with “Don’t Stop Believin’”, “Open Arms” (another ballad), and “Who’s Crying Now” (ballad). Those 3 get the most attention, and if you like those perhaps you should check out the above mentioned songs also for Journey at their very best. Steve Perry could sing too, so it’s not like todays commercial hard rock where they all sound like they were drummers forced to front the band, my apoligies to Dave Grohl…but isn’t it true?
Plus the added Live in Houston tracks are a nice addition to the latest reissue. This is a must CD for not just a Journey fan, but a hard rock fan to me, a guilty pleasur, but a very good one in that and much better than anything put out by those late 80’s hard rock clones. The Beatles had melody, the Beach Boys did too, but when you get to this point where it really begins to turn into a harder sound, to me the natural progression is with a band like Journey, even Boston perhaps with their brief run. I personally like Ratt, Dokken, Van Halen, Motley Crue, and Hanoi Rocks to name a few along with Journey, and eventually progressed into Jane’s Addiction, Saigon Kick, Extreme, Kings X, it all comes back to this CD in my opinion, it’s influential even if nobody out there wants to readily admit it.