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LOOK INTO THE FUTURE

Journey

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Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars Journey's second album is far more commercially-oriented than their debut, but there are still moments (however brief) of progressive rock genius here. The lyrics are largely typical classic rock fare (one can look at the titles and determine that much). In terms of its predecessor, though, this is one album that is practically forgettable.

"On a Saturday Night" A straightforward rocker, "On a Saturday Night" has a verse-chorus structure followed by a guitar solo. It's a decent song, but rather unremarkable. Like always, the rock and roll guitar playing does what it's supposed to do.

"It's All Too Much" This one sounds like something Fleetwood Mac might have done with Lindsay Buckingham. There is (as always) plenty of pleasing guitar work, but as with the first number, this one is undemanding, although the short guitar interludes between verses are interesting. The back masking at the end is pointless.

"Anyway" Not to be confused with the Genesis track, "Anyway" takes us back to the previous album. It has velvety guitar and lush keyboards, but even in a relatively short song, there are changes in the music to enjoy. As with much of this album, there is little inspiration in the lyrics, but the melody works well.

"She Makes Me (Feel Alright)" Kicking off with a heavy guitar riff doubled by bass guitar, the shortest song on this album is akin to Foreigner, standard arena rock, complete with guitar soloing from the middle until the end. It could have had a place on classic rock radio.

"You're on Your Own" Using a basic chord progression, the electric piano gives way to dual lead guitars and eventually a short ascending then descending bass line. The whole introduction builds, adding new parts each time around before suddenly changing to a 12/8 time signature. As with several early Journey songs, there is a fascinating vocal melody. There are varying sections to this one, making it more complex than anything that has come before despite the simplistic chord progressions. For the first time on this album, we're treated to a solid organ solo before heading back into the 12/8 section for a guitar solo.

"Look into the Future" Here is one of the longest songs Journey has ever created, and it begins with a clean electric guitar before Rolie begins singing. But what starts off to be promising quickly gives way to too many lyrical clichés to count ("I'm coming home" and "There you are my shining star"). The song does not even begin to get interesting until almost halfway in, beyond the cheesy power rock ballad, and it is there that we find some of the best music this album has to offer. This time, one almost wishes Rolie refrained from singing anything further. The song ends with a lengthy (and clearly Jimmy Page-inspired) guitar solo.

"Midnight Dreamer" Something that's first ninety seconds might have been played in a bar, the song quickly gives way to jazzy electric piano soloing, and finally, a synthesizer part comparable to that on Camel's early albums. The guitar solo is played at a frantic pace, but is one of the better ones on this album.

"I'm Gonna Leave You" The riff that starts this one sounds similar to the second half of that heard in Kansas's "Carry on Wayward Son." Rolie's vocal work is not mellow at all, and for the first time, we really hear him sound like a gritty howler in a southern rock band. There are some complex time signatures midway, however, supporting a well-performed organ solo and later some rollicking guitar work.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#182600)
Posted Tuesday, September 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The second album of Journey from 1976 is maybe less enjoyble than the first, but is no doubt a strong release. While in this period Journey isn't at the peak of their career, they are at the top of musical creativity. This is an excellent album, in fact one of the best Journey ever done, with very strong guitar riffs and solos, very smooth keyboards solos made by Gregg Rolie, and very intristing druming by Aynsley Dunbar who keep the rythmic section very tight along with his mate Ross Valory. All the pieces has same level, i can't choose one to be the best, every track is a weener and is not a step down from previous work. This album is maybe less prog than the debut, but worth investigate for sure. I like very much the rough voice of Gregg Rolie and smooth if the mood changes in calm zone. All in all a great album with strong and tight composition, Look into the future might please every fan who enjoy hard rock with blues/jazz leanings. 4 stars for sure

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#183385)
Posted Wednesday, September 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Second album from the now-quartet Journey and still on the CBS label, who was disappointed by the sales figure and pressed the band for more commercial material. With a rather ugly artwork and enigmatic title (hence the crystal ball I guess), the Tickner-less journey wrote some shorter songs for radio airplay and retained their jazzy prog rock for the other half of the (longer) songs, hoping to please their label executives. While the albums sees Schon's guitar soar up in the stratosphere, Rollie's organ is still an excellent feature, although by the album's date of release, it was sounding a bit too close for comfort

It's hard to understand why an obvious would-be-hit misses the target, but the opening On A Saturday Nite, could've pleased both the AOR radio audiences and the sales-hungry CBS label, but it didn't. It's certainly not from trying hard as the following It's All Too Much could've filled that hit-single ambition although the song's aura is lesser, but it's got most of the ingredient including a catchy chorus line. After two obvious radio shot, it was high time for the quartet to come up with a real savoury track, which Anyway reaches no problems.. Vallory's bass shoots a gentle line, until Schon's superb guitar crunch chords fills the pores of your speaker's cones, while Rollie sings one of his best and most dramatic track ever. The following She Makes Me has Schon firing from his six strings

The second part of the album is much more rewarding fr the proghead with You're O Your Own, starting on a cool piano ostinato as Schon and Vallory start a descending riff and finally inducing a descending vocal line and plenty of dramatics from the guitar to the organ, this almost 6-mins scorcher is directly looking at their debut album. The 8-mins+ title track is another winner (again on a descending pattern), but overstays a bit its welcome due to its repetitive nature, even if the middle section holds its own as well. Midnight Dreamer sounds a bit different than the rest of the "better " tracks of the album, and it's certainly faster than most. In its stronger moments you'd swear you're not far from Mahogany Rush's World Anthem album as Rollie prefers using synths. The track slowly dies and leads into the Gonna Leave You closing tune, where the Hammond returns in all its glory. Again it's another thrilling piece of music and one can't help but wonder if an edited version of this song as a 45 rpm.. Sometimes you'd swear you're almost on Santana's first three albums.

Although not quite as successful and thrilling than its predecessor, LITF is still a very good album, that does come up to its older brother's shoulder height and should've the band scored a big hit with either of the first two songs, we'd probably been saved from a vile and hostile take-over and a horrible coup from their label and the industry in general. Well worth a spin or eventually you could just settle for that In The Beginning compilation.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#187221)
Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars A markedly more accessible and song-oriented album than its predecessor, slipping down a mark for me due to its emphasis on lyrical verse and choruses rather than creative musicianship from the fine instrumentalists. There are several catchy melodies here-- would be FM anthems that slipped through the cracks (think Boston/Kansas)-- but little that will perk the pretentious ears of a prog-loving listener. Schon's guitar work remains excellent (especially in the monstrous title track), but is less varied and not very ambitious. Rolie's singing takes more than its share of the spotlight.

I have fun with this album because I am Journey die-hard that fell in love with their early stuff when I was 15; it has a few memorable guitar bits and sing-alongs, but non-fans will likely be left wanting something more.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#202810)
Posted Sunday, February 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars By 1976, I was less orphan of Gregg and Neal. They had made their own choice and recorded their second album under the "Journey" umbrella. Probably more pop-rock oriented than their debut but still very good.

The powerful and catchy opener "Saturday Nite" is a perfect example of this switch. But it rocks alright, holds a fine melody and Neal is superb in his lead guitar play. I won't be as laudatory about "It's All Too Much" which is too much AOR oriented to my taste. Gregg's vocals aren't really great, and it is only thanks to a few very good guitar lines that this song is saved from misery.

Some soul insight during "Anyway" reminds me some "Black Magic Woman" feel of whom you might have heard. At least in terms of vocals. The warm, low pitched and effective Gregg is back again! He was actually only gone for a very short while. It is so great to listen to his charismatic voice! A real pleasure indeed.

The wild "She Makes Me" also have a deep "Santana" feel. The excellent "Hope You're Feeling Better" certainly served as some sort of a model for this powerful rock song. Neal has again a wonderful attack with his guitar. But this is no big news of course: the guy is so gifted?

This album holds some very good tracks to tell the truth. Another one is "You're On Your Own" which combines again the strong voice together with so clever guitar breaks and superb rhythm. This is one of the best pieces from this album. To complete the picture, I can just add that Gregg is fabulous on the keys and that this song reminds me of "She's So Heavy" from the Fab Four. A highlight.

But there are plenty of great moments available on this album. The long and title track is another killer. Song writing is full of talent, the interpretation is of course fabulous and all musicians are soooo gifted?This song is a real pleasure to listen to.

Some more jazzy feel is concentrated during "Mighnight Dreamer". It is another occasion for Neal to shine. HE is the highlight in this song which is not the most elegant of the whole but shows the deep talent from this incredible guitar player!

This album is quite good and holds the comparison with their debut IMHHO. The closing track is another showcase for both Gregg and Neal. When these two perform at such a level; there is nothing to do: I just succumb.

Seven out of ten, but upgraded to four stars for emotional reasons.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#244262)
Posted Sunday, October 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Well this is a "Journey": perhaps their unique strange music path, a mix in the middle between the best Santana and Uriah Heep, to have got a certain attitude for a kind of simple jazz rock and a very personal sound too, also after a repetitive listening to it...ok actually a splitted episode it was, in comparison to the rest of their production. In fact in the early eighties They chose a different music path (when the sound turned to a mainstream classic rock, "reminiscent" of the typical commercial music, regarding a few bands like Boston, Styx and other melodic bands like those ones...). Otherwise, already by means of "Saturday Nite", you get an inkling of their next easy pop rock, which let me stand here a bit perplix, but nevermind...the "polished" production was good (especially regarding of the remastered version) and the clever vocalist Gregg Rolie performed a good job here!!.

Ok, his insteresting vocalism was not as much "stunning" as the best vocals inside the most famous hard rock albums and- above all- not reminiscent for instance of Ronnie James Dio or the best Glenn Hughes...,but Gregg could emerge as a very interesting artist anyway, in the international scene!! And talking about another interestig tune- precisely entitled "Anyway"- this latter one is really in the vein of Santana and in general all the tracks are all song-oriented, but never disturbing me so much after all!!

Well, I would have appreciated that also the new tracks by Asia (a band supporting the Journey's American Tour very well in 1981), after their reunion with "Phoenix" and "Omega", could be song-oriented, but with the same excellent attitude as within the present "Look Into The Future"; instead it has not happened in the recent times (neither the new songs by Asia have got the same strong impact as in the eighties albums by Journey, despite of the commercial attitude of these latter, that I don't like very much!!). However, at the end, by escluding the easy moments inside (fortunately a few ones), this work probably remains as the best album by Journey, which is worth checking out at least... so take it easy and- perhaps by adding an half star- make your own choice once again!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#282871)
Posted Friday, May 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The future ain't what it used to be

About a year after their eponymous début release, Journey returned with this follow up album. In the interim, second guitarist George Tickner left the band without being directly replaced. The unforeseen nature of his departure is evidenced by the fact that he co- credited with writing two of the songs on this album. Still essentially a prog/fusion based band, "Look to the future" is nonetheless more commercial than its predecessor. Do not assume though that this is the start of the AOR years, the music here is quite different.

The opening "On a Saturday night" is certainly the most pop orientated song from the band thus far, the Elton John like rock beat and trite lyrics adding up to a decent but prosaic toe- tapper. "It's all too much" is a rare cover version by Journey, the song having been written by George Harrison. This version is highly enjoyable, but not a patch on the definitive rendition by Steve Hillage. Ironically, it is the vocals which are the weak point here, in part due to some poor mixing.

"Anyway" is decidedly heavy, the slower tempo and softer/louder structure resulting in some good dramatics. The track actually reminds me a bit of Thin Lizzy's finest hour with "Still in love with you". "She Makes Me (Feel Alright)" has a Led Zeppelin feel to it in the muddled Plant like vocal and Page-esque guitar. ""You're on Your Own" borrows from the Beatles again, but this time uncredited; the chiming lead guitar riff is straight from "I want you/she's so heavy". The song certainly has a more progressive arrangement, although it remains based on a basic rock foundation.

If side one of the original LP sees the band moving in a more commercial direction, side two confirms that they still have ambitions beyond the shorter rock song formula. With only three tracks in total, the side includes two of the band's longest tracks. At over 8 minutes, the title track is the longest recorded by the band for a major release. The song starts out as a Nektar like prog ballad with pleasant organ sounds ebbing and flowing behind the vocal. Neal Schon's lead guitar work is particularity strong on this track, which is for me the best on the album by some way.

The cowbell tapping intro and Leslie West like vocals on "Midnight Dreamer" remind us again of Mountain, although the song soon transforms into an electric piano then lead guitar improvisation. The track also features what sounds like the first overt use of synthesiser by the band. The album closes with the 7+ minute "I'm Gonna Leave You" (not the similarly titled Led Zeppelin song, they were "quitting"!). This slice of offbeat blues rock seems rather out of place alongside its peers, with something of a George Thorogood feel to it. Not a bad song, but rather weak as a closer.

In all, an enjoyable second album from Journey, which sees them exploring a more diverse range of influences than on their début. Sometimes it works, sometimes less so, but overall this is an album worthy of investigation.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#421683)
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
1 stars In order to find Journey's best albums you should indeed look into the future

Look Into The Future was Journey's second album and as such it is closer in style to the self- titled debut than to the later Steve Perry-led albums. However, one can notice a slight shift in style away from the longer jazzy jams of the debut and towards a more song-based approach. The compositions are rather middle-of-the-road funky Rock 'N' Roll. Personally, I don't like this music much at all and even the debut was more interesting to me even if I generally prefer the later, more well-known Journey albums.

The relevance of Journey to progressive Rock can probably be debated in infinity, but as far as this reviewer is concerned Look Into The Future is not a very interesting album from a Prog point of view. Even the longer tracks are pretty much devoid of any progressive tendencies, the band preferring to settle into a rather straightforward groove and solo on top of it. The lyrics are very banal too. Without any strong melodies to speak of it all becomes a rather tedious affair of rambling and generic Blues and Funk Rock. The most memorable song is a cover of The Beatles' All Too Much.

If you want to check out Journey, you should indeed look into the future

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#439425)
Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The second of Journey's original trio of progressive-flavoured albums, 'Look Into The Future' picks up pretty much where 1975's self-titled debut left off, only with a cleaner and more focused sound that sees the group starting to inch their way towards the blockbusting pop-rock sound that made them household names during the 1980s. With rhythm guitarist George Tickner having departed, Journey were now slimmed down to a four- piece, the group's overall direction still very much dictated by the dominant ex-Santana contingent of Gregg Rolie(vocals, keyboards) and Neal Schon(guitar). However, there are still strong progressive and fusion elements to be found on 'Look Into The Future'. After a poor start - feeble opening track 'On A Saturday Night' sounds more like Elton John than hard-rock - things do pick up, with both the impressively-serene 'Anyway' and the highly-emotive title-track showcasing the Bay Area group's strong melodic instincts and consumate instrumental abilities. As an album, 'Look Into The Future' lacks the overt experimentation that flecked the classic rock of their debut, though it's a much more accessible album as result. Often unfairly derided by many as the group's artistic low-point(much like their debut and follow-up album 'Next') this may not be progressive rock per se yet it is by no means the dreadful album it is meant to be. All three of Journey's 'prog' albums have their merits, and the blend of classic rock riffs, carefully-crafted ballads and fusion-intoned improvisation shows that there was much to Journey than just radio hits and sell-out stadium tours. And compared to the outfit's 1980s output this is, simply out, streets ahead in almost every department.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#653881)
Posted Sunday, March 11, 2012 | Review Permalink

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