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Generations

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★★★½☆
(67 Reviews)

Journey Biography - Journey Discography - All Heavy Metal Bands

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Japanese pressing of Journey’s 2005 album will include an exclusive bonus track ’It’s Never Too Late’. Nexus. 2005.

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  • While this doesn’t have the same feel as past Journey endevours it does have some fabulous tracks. Overall I love the idea of having each of the members of the band singing lead on this album. I will agree that Ross Valory’s Gone Crazy is so different that most folks will cringe when they hear it but what I did was purposely listen to this particular track over and over and it actually is a catchy tune.

    I applaude Journey for stretching the envelope with this effort. It was well worth the wait and I do recommend this album.

    Today’s music is so lame that it is refreshing to hear one of my favorite bands (yes I’ve been a fan since their inception in 1974) coming out with such a quality album. I only hope we don’t have to wait years again before the next release.

    Posted on February 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This release from Journey had me completely surprised and caught off guard. I knew the band was releasing a new album this October, but I hadn’t been to a concert since 2001, and I was a little disappointed with their Red 13 EP in 2002. I had fairly high expectations for Generations, but I was afraid that their songwriting would be similar to Red 13: hurried, lacking creativity, and amateur production (don’t get me wrong, I still liked Red 13 for its energy and hard-edge sound). Then, I listened to a 30-second blurb of “The Place In Your Heart” on the band’s website, and it brought tears to my eyes, it was so good! Last night, I finally bought this album and all I have to say is…

    WOW!!!!!! HOLY S*#T!!!!

    Are you kidding me?! This Journey album is by far one of the best albums Journey has ever made, and yes, I realize what that statement is truly saying. I firmly believe this is one of the best albums since Frontiers. It severly beats any of the albums made since then, from Raised on Radio to Arrival, their first album under the band’s current line-up. The reason(s)? Neal Schon’s sheer virtuosity in his solos and playing, Steve Augeri’s incredible performances, Deen’s blistering drummer skills (and sensational singing!), Jonathan Cain’s songwriting, and Ross Valory’s solid bass work.

    The album first starts with an amazing song called “Faith in the Heartland” where it begins slowly with synthesizers from Jon, then it explodes with a rocking beat. Throughout the song, Neal makes his guitar sing with gracefulness in his solos, then switches to playing a fist-pumping rhythm riff. Next is “The Place In Your Heart”, which is a true classic. I have to disagree with another person’s review saying the song was weak; this rock song has an edge to it but contains smooth tones that usually accompany a melodic rock anthem. The drummer Dean sings the next song “A Better Life” along with the last track on this version of the album “Never Too Late”. The former song is a mellow rocker with a great message, and the latter is a fast-paced rocker with superb guitar work from Neal. Deen truly shows his versatility with great drumwork, and he has a fabulous voice with stark similarities to Steve Perry.

    Every song on this album literally demands your attention from each beginning. Steve Augeri has blossomed as Journey’s frontman with his contributions in “Butterfly”, an excellent ballad, and “Believe”, a mid-tempo rocker, in addition to other songs he co-wrote with Jon and Neal. This guy is phenomenal in another ballad “Knowing That You Love Me”…he hits high notes that Perry would now shy away from in the song. I was literally amazed! Other great rockers are songs like “Every Generation”, sung by Cain and “In Self-Defense”, sung by Schon. Even bassist Valory gets in on the action for lead vocals with a hard blues-rocker “Gone Crazy”. “Out of Harms’ Way”, a surprising political song from this band, thankfully avoids any agendas about the War on Terror, and is another hard rocker along with “Better Together”.

    In Generations, the band got very creative and bold with the distribution of lead vocalist responsibilities to its other members, but it greatly shows how diverse the members in this band are. The album has been fused with the energy of Red 13, yet it contains far more creativity, and the production quality is far superior. If you are a Journey fan, you NEED to get this album! If you are a classic rock fan, you SHOULD get this album. Generations is one of the best offerings of rock ‘n roll by Journey since the mid-80s. Hopefully, it will become an essential classic for any rock listener.

    Posted on February 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’m not sure what a couple of these glowing reviewers were listening to, but this CD doesn’t sound like the Journey I’m used to hearing. The Arrival had some decent tracks intermixed with so-so ones, but this CD is just riddled with bad soundalikes that might as well as be on the 4th CD of a 3-CD box set somewhere. I like Steve Augeri, but there’s nothing on here anywhere close to “Remember Me,” “Higher Place” or “We Will Meet Again”. Save your money and download the first 4 songs. “Better Life” is by far the best track… and it’s not even Augeri singing it.

    Posted on February 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Before I get into the review…

    PERRY ISN’T IN THE BAND ANYMORE. Hasn’t been since 96. That’s nearly 10 years! He’s NOT coming back. Those of you that want to live in the past, go put on “Escape”. Don’t dog this album simply because your hero (and one of mine quite frankly) doesn’t appear here. Look into the future! While I’m at it, I don’t think Dennis DeYoung will be taking over as Journey’s singer either (just to cover all the bases!).

    This is Journey 2005 and it’s a GREAT band with a GREAT new album. Harder edged than their last album “Arrival” (another great album, though a bit ‘ballad heavy’), “Generations” finds the band striving for something a bit different. Everyone in the band sings this time around and the results are sometimes missing the mark (bringing the album rating down to a 4 instead of a 5) and sometimes brilliant. I don’t remember other band members singing lead since “Departure”.

    Journey did this album without the support of a major label… “Support” might be a subjective word here. While major label support is great for getting the music out to the masses, they really hampered Journey’s creativity on “Arrival” which SHOULD have been a blockbuster album. However, Sony kept at them to add more ballads to the album creating an album that was just too soft for Journey to use as a comeback statement. It’s still a good collection of songs though.

    On “Generations” the band is a lot more free and it shows. The rocking songs are really rocking and the ballads have a bit more of a bluesy touch to them rather than the power ballad feel of “Open Arms” and “Faithfully”.

    It must also be said that Steve Augeri is one HELL of a singer. His voice really comes alive on this record where on “Arrival”, there might’ve been more nods than necessary to his predecessor. His songwriting is also featured on the album with (I believe) 3 tracks that he wrote on his own. Hey, look at that! Another hero! Cool.

    The good:
    “Faith in the Heartland”- A great rocker song with some good guitar from Neal Schon. Augeri turns in a great vocal here as well.

    “The Place in Your Heart”- Another good rocker. This song seems to actually have a bit of Motown thrown in. Some of the backup vocals in the chorus and the rhythm in the chorus is very “Four Tops”. Not that the song sounds like Motown, but the influence is clearly there.

    “A Better Life”- This song is sung by drummer Deen Castronovo. WOW. This guy’s got a great voice and turns in a very soulful performance here. Perryheads will like this as Deen’s voice sounds like “Raised on Radio”-era Perry. Actually sounds more like Perry than Augeri. Great lyrics on this one too. I don’t know, since Ringo, I always expect mediocre vocals from drummers. This guy blows that myth away. Good job Deen.

    “Believe”- Augeri’s second self-written tune on the record. I really like the piano and string arrangement in this upbeat tune. It’s got a positive message and is a good song. I think it could’ve had a stronger chorus or at least used different chords there, but I still like it.

    “Knowing That You Love Me”- This is THE ballad on the album and it stands along side “Open Arms” and “Faithfully” but does them one better by having a much more bluesy feel. I believe this is a Jon Cain song. It’s absolutely brilliant. I’m not much of a ballad guy, but this one is truly great. Steve’s voice kills on this song. If radio is looking for a good ballad PUSH THIS TRACK. It’s really good and deserves to be heard. Great lyrics Jon! Great string arrangement. I love this one.

    “Out of Harm’s Way”- This one’s about a guy who goes and comes back from Iraq. It definitely rocks. I like the verses better than the choruses though. It gets into the war thing without telling you how to think but just kind of explains the character in the song’s trials. Neal Schon turns in some good guitar solos in this one. I wish the lyric was “Keep them out of harm’s way… AND GET THEM THE F**K HOME!” but they’re not that kind of band.

    “In Self Defense”- Sung by guitarist Neal Schon. Neal’s voice actually reminds me of Jimi Hendrix. Cool. This song kick’s MAJOR tail. Killer guitar riff from Neal and great playing from Castronovo. Neal recorded this one for his solo album in 83 (actually all of Journey played on it back then too) but it was redone for this record. Not sure why they did that, but I’m glad they did. This version’s backup vocals fit the song better than Perry’s did. Perry’s were intrusive. These are much better and help the song. Good job Neal!

    “Better Together”- Great bluesy rock track with Augeri on lead. This song is really good and rocks. Good guitar from Neal as well. I also like when Cain moves to the organ for the harder rock songs. Reminds me of his playing in the Baby’s. Great chorus. This song sounds kind of like “who the hell cares, we’re Journey and we’re going to kick your a$$”. Good song.

    “Beyond The Clouds”- I think this might be another Augeri-written one. Not sure. It’s been said to be about the 9/11 stuff. Good ballad with good lyrics. It doesn’t hold a candle to “Knowing that You Love Me”, but it’s still a good song with a good chorus. Similar to “Trial By Fire” but a much much better song.

    “Never Too Late”- Another Deen Castronovo vocal here. This song was going to be left off of the American release. THANK GOD someone came to their senses. This is a great song and definitely should be here. Good rocking tune.

    The not so good:

    “Every Generation”- Jonathan Cain sings this one. The song is a good song with a great chorus. I find myself humming this one a lot. However, Jon’s voice just doesn’t make it for me. It’s not horrible or anything, but it’s very tight sounding on the higher notes. I think it’s a bit out of his vocal range. Steve would’ve done this song better and I wish that he had. If you like Jon Cain singing, buy “Back to the Innocence” his solo album. It’s pretty good.

    “Butterfly”- This is an Augeri-penned tune. Decent song, but definitely different for Journey. I think this would’ve been a better song for Augeri’s solo album. There’s just not a strong enough chorus here. However, having said that, this one could’ve been on “Dream After Dream”. This one has grown on me, but it’s still not one of my favorite tracks. Also, the lyrics remind me of “Something Corporate’s” song “Me and the Moon”. Similar lyric ideas of an oppressed woman that wants to be free, both with butterflies in them. I think “Something Corporate” pulled the idea off a bit better, yet a bit more on the dark side. A LOT of Journey fans love this song. So I could be wrong…

    “Gone Crazy”- Bassist Ross Valory sings this one. The music on this song is so un-Journey like. It’s actually like Van Halen’s “The Full Bug” from “Diver Down” which is very cool. It’s a great rock song with awesome guitar – BUT- Valory’s voice just isn’t Journey and is more like George Thorogood or a bit like David Lee Roth. Imagine how cool this song would’ve been had Augeri sang it. It would’ve been a good B-side. I actually like the song quite a bit, but it doesn’t fit that well here.

    All in all, a really solid effort from a band that really deserves some respect. I mean, if friggin’ Bob Segar, James Taylor, and Jackson Browne (?!?!) can get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, why not Journey? Journey is one of America’s great bands and they deserve to be doing better than they are these days. Major labels and radio- Get a grip and push this album!

    Posted on February 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Journey finds its footing again and shows signs of its newly-found confidence by taking some chances throughout “Generations.” The album is a quantum leap forward from “Arrival” and certainly miles ahead of the uninspired “Raised on Radio” and “Trial By Fire.” After twenty years, this album shows Journey returning to the energetic form of “Frontiers” and “Escape.” And while not matching the fresh brilliance of “Escape” or “Evolution,” on the whole this album is qualitatively the equal of “Frontiers.”

    What keeps the album from breaking through to brilliant is that perhaps the boldness was tempered TOO MUCH. Taking a few more chances songwriting-wise and incorporating a few more interesting production techniques could really have a huge difference at the top end. If Amazon had decimals, this album would get a 4.3.

    The current Journey lineup, which remains a highly successful touring act, is now in its seventh year and the Steve Perry-esque Steve Augeri remains at the mic, supported by the entire band on this release: for the first time in Journey’s thirty-year history, every band member gets a turn to sing lead on a song.

    Although Augeri develops his own vocal style toward a harder rocking Robert Plant-like edge on this release (“Believe”), Augeri’s delivery can nevertheless steer eerily close to Perry’s (“The Place in Your Heart”).

    “The Place in Your Heart” could be “Separate Ways, Part II,” and, in fact, seems to be a reflection on the theme of separation, but this time from the perspective of the process of reconciliation.

    “Butterfly” is a beautiful power ballad, solo-penned by Augeri, which is straight out of the Journey-swoon playbook and shows that Augeri has absorbed the “Journey-system” of songwriting very well.

    Augeri also wrote “Believe,” an energetic Zeppelin-esque rocker that shows off his harder-edge to maximum advantage and incorporates a more interesting structure and set of time signatures than most traditional Journey rockers. Kudos for this.

    One of the best tracks on the album is “Out of Harms Way,” a searing rocker that could be taught in classes on how to write good lyrics. Thematically it addresses military service and the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, yet without casting a cloying political gloss to the song that is so common among so-called political rock. In any case, it’s a performance tour-de-force by both Augeri and Schon.

    Augeri’s best vocal performance on this album is arguably the gorgeous “Knowing That You Love Me,” a soul and gospel-infused ballad that shows Augeri’s independent vocal identity from that of Perry’s imprint.

    Drummer Deen Castronovo, who sings lead on two tracks, is even closer to many traditionalist fans’ breathy Steve Perry vocal ideal that they will swoon (“A Better Life,” and “Never Too Late”). “A Better Life” is too close to the mid-80s (Raised On Radio ear) production and vocal gloss, that even with the fabulous vocals, it simply lacks the passion and warmth of Castronovo’s other track, the fiery “Never Too Late,” which is easily one of the top three tracks on the album.

    Jonathan Cain’s vocals on “Every Generation” are perfectly adequate and reminiscent of Gregg Rolie’s vocal tracks during his Santana and Journey days in the 1970s. The track itself is a strong bluesy jaunt with beautifully sleazy guitar work by Neal Schon that recalls Keith Richards and Joe Walsh. Lyrically, Cain infuses the song with self-referencing humor and a tribute to rock traditions prized by boomer rockers. Despite Cain’s middling vocal delivery, its other merits make it one of the strongest tracks on the album.

    Undervalued for his vocals, bassist Ross Valory lends a gritty lead vocal to a ZZ-Top-evoking dirt-rubbed shuffle (“Gone Crazy”) that is also a fabulous showcase of Schon’s guitar technical prowess and breadth of musical inspiration. At times Schon manages to sound like both Billy Gibbons AND Zakk Wylde on this track. For Perry fans, Valory’s vocals may be a step too far, but there is no questioning the song’s energy and awe-inspiring guitar work on this track.

    The two weakest tracks on the album precede this song. “In Self Defense,” revived from the 1983 Frontiers sessions and tracked on a release by Schon and Mahavishnu Orchestra alumnus Jan Hammer, is a blistering guitar track but isn’t sufficiently interesting beyond hearing Neal Schon take lead vocal duties and hearing him shred. “Better Together” is a funk-rock track too close to “Arrival”’s “Nothin’ Comes Close” and “To Be Alive Again” to merit a reprise of the same theme on this album.

    The songwriting on this album, with a couple of exceptions, is superb and occasionally topical (another new wrinkle to the band). Avoiding the clumsiness and heavy-handedness of other artists’ efforts, Journey manages to deliver a hopeful and positive message for those emerging from tragedy through “Beyond the Clouds,” a song written about 9/11, specific reference of which only becomes obvious through the figurative subtext of the song. The musical structure of the song breaks no new ground for the band, but is nevertheless a classier tribute to 9/11 than that of other pop artists.

    Finally, and not to be overlooked, is the lead track “Faith in the Heartland,” which pays tribute to British hard rock by musically (and not lyrically) invoking The Who’s “Pinball Wizard,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and “Baba O’Riley” (later generations may also find shades of U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” here). It is a fabulously energetic track and a good introduction to the “New Journey” that a listener is about to hear.

    This is a solidly strong album, even if not ground-breaking. Hopefully this band will be able to harness its newfound energy and confidence to blaze even bolder trails on a subsequent release.

    CHOICEST CUTS: “Faith in the Heartland,” “Every Generation,” “Believe,” “Knowing That You Love Me,” “Out of Harms Way,” “Never Too Late.”

    Posted on February 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now