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Revelation by Journey


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Let me preface this by stating that I have been a Journey fan since as far back as I can remember. I have no allegiance, however, to Steve Perry. I was very disappointed when he fired Ross Valory and Steve Smith to make the Raised on Radio album. Ross was a founding member of the band, and RoR was a relatively weak album.

This is the first album by Journey to be advertised since Raised on Radio over 20 years ago. Trial by Fire, Red 13, Generations and Arrival all were released with little or no marketing, and few if any songs released as singles. In the Revelation package, you receive three discs: one has all new songs, one has old hits remade with the current lineup performing, and one is a concert DVD with the current lineup. The price was under $12.

Arnel Pineda is new to the band. He has a great voice. He would make a good frontman for any rock band. The other performers in Journey continue to be excellent.

So the question is, why is this an average album and not a superior album? The answer is simple: it lacks the songwriting diversity of the previous albums. Journey used to be an undefinable band: are they hard rock, pop, blues? Departure and Trial by Fire are a couple of the most musically diverse albums of the 20th century: hard rock, soft ballads, punk, blues, raggae, etc. Now they are simply soft rock, AOR type. Only the final song, an instrumental, really sounds different. In short, the ballads aren't soft enough and the rock songs aren't rockin' enough.

To test my point, I scanned the first few seconds of all the songs on disc 1 and then on disc 2. I don't think there's a comparison. These are the same performers, but the songs on disc 2 are much better. True, that's something of a "greatest hits" type, but that's not the difference.

When I listen to Infinity or Frontiers, when I think 'what song is next?' the answer is: oh yeah, another great song. With Revelation, the answer is 'oh yeah, another average song.' Can tell the difference, after two listens, between "Like a Sunshower" and "Change for the Better?" [not really]...versus Can I tell the difference, after two listens, between "Just the Same Way" and "Do You Recall?" [absolutely]

So I give this album a C+. I like the performers, I like the music, but I don't want to keep thinking that this band is underperforming.

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