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Journey Frontiers album cover
3.00 | 121 ratings | 9 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1983

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Separate Ways (5:24)
2. Send Her My Love (3:54)
3. Chain Reaction (4:21)
4. After The Fall (5:00)
5. Faithfully (4:26)
6. Edge Of The Blade (4:30)
7. Troubled Child (4:29)
8. Back Talk (3:16)
9. Frontiers (4:08)
10. Rubicon (4:18)

Total time 43:46

Bonus tracks on 2006 remaster reissue.
11. Only the Young (4:18) *
12. Ask the Lonely (3:55) #
13. Liberty (2:54)
14. Only Solutions (3:33) $

* From the soundtrack of Vision Quest
# From the soundtrack of Two of a Kind
$ From the soundtrack of Tron

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Perry / lead vocals
- Neal Schon / guitars, vocals
- Jonathan Cain / keyboards, rhythm guitar (8), vocals
- Ross Valory / bass, vocals
- Steve Smith / drums

- Randy Jackson / bass (4)

Releases information

Artwork: Simon Bell

LP Columbia- QC 38504 (1983, US)

CD CBS- CK 38504 (1983, US)
CD Columbia- 486663 2 (1996, Europe) Remastered by George Marino
CD Legacy- 82876 85895 2 (2006, US) Remaster reissue with 4 bonus tracks

Thanks to Ricochet for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JOURNEY Frontiers ratings distribution

(121 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(26%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (17%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

JOURNEY Frontiers reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Guillermo
4 stars In 1982 there was an economical crisis in my country (again!). By late 1982, it became difficult for some record shops to survive in my city, as they imported albums from the U.S., England, Europe, and other parts of the world. The prices of Imported L.P. s increased a lot, so three of my favourite record shops closed their doors between 1982 and 1983.

By mid 1983, I listened several times to the song "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" in some FM Radio stations in my city. I liked the song a lot, but I only could find a few Import copies from this "Frontiers" album, at very expensive prices then, due to that economical crisis. It was until late 1983 that I found copies of this L.P. (less expensive than the imported copies) made in my country that I finally listened to this album.

This album is more "dark" in content and sound than their "Escape" album. I think that "Escape" is more balanced in musical moods than this album. It is also a very good album but maybe not as good as "Escape". Some of the lyrics talk about broken love relationships ("Separate Ways", "Send Her my Love", "After the Fall"), distant love relationships due to touring ("Faithfully"). The Side Two of the old L.P included songs with more Heavy sounds and with lyrics talking about other topics: troubled children ("Troubled Child"), critics about the Music Industry ("Edge of the Blade"), couples in conflict (with a bit of humour in "Back Talk"), and maybe about technology, science-fiction and the future ("Frontiers" and "Rubicon").

This album also had some Hit Singles:"Separate Ways" and "Faithfully" being two of them as I remember now. "Separate Ways" is a very intense Hard Rock song with every musician in the band shinning in their playing and singing. "Faithfully" is another ballad written by Jonathan Cain, very commercial, but with good quality and very good arrangements, particularly by Perry in his vocals and a very good lead guitar by Schon.

"Send Her my Love" has very good keyboard atmospheres. "Chain Reaction" also was another of the songs in this album which was played in FM Radio stations in my city. A Hard-Rock song.

"Edge of the Blade" is one of the heaviest songs in this album, with the guitars played by Schon shinning a lot. "Troubled Child" could be the song in this album with more Prog Rock influences, with a melody played on acoustic and electric guitars and keyboards, very good atmospheres and energetic playing. This is maybe the best song in this album. "Back Talk" has very good drums by Steve Smith (credited as one of the composers of this song), with guitars and no keyboards. The song called "Frontiers" also has some interesting things, particularly in Steve Smith`s drums playing. "Rubicon" has very good heavy guitars, and it closes the album in a high point.

Maybe this album has more Prog Rock influences than "Escape", which in comparison was more successful and maybe more commercial and accessible than "Frontiers". But "Frontiers" also has some very good moments to enjoy.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Another goody from this famous american band. The next release after Escape, Frontiers from 1983 is also an important AOR+pop hard rock album from the early to mid '80's music. Not far from the predecesor musicaly speaking, this album offers some great tracks like:Separate Ways, Chain Reaction, Troubled Child and Rubicon. Still every musicians is on the baricades, delivering some very intristing solos and riffs on guitar made by the excellent guitarist Neal Scon ( a big influence among the guitar players from today). Something to mention is , maybe the keyboards are more in front than on previous album, not only as background instrument , the ex is Send Her my Love. All in all another good album by Journey, not as good like the predecesor but more enjoyble that any other albums with Perry on vocals. I think Frontiers deserave 3 stars, much better than the next one, Raised on radio, when the bands shift dramaticaly (again) to a more pop AOR sound.
Review by Prog Leviathan
2 stars Occasionally interesting guitar moments aside, Frontiers is a bitter example of when bland stadium rock tunes meet painfully shrill, mediocre production-- the result... is tedious exercise which will likely have the listener reflecting on all the other things they could be doing with their time.

As far as Journey albums go, this one is low, but not their worst. Separate Ways is an obvious classic, and songs like Frontiers and Edge of the Blade have a heavy sound which the band never really returns to, so it's nice for a change. Schon's guitar playing is passable, with no standout solos (which begs the question-- why are you listening?), but Perry's vocals are simply upsetting. In general he is overrated, and this album shows it in a big way. Both he and Schon are recorded with a high-end that cuts like steel razor wire. The rhythm section is bland as always, but on the plus side Cain's keyboards do some interesting textures, such as in Troubled Child. In general, they simply don't sound as together or interested in the music, this plus the terrible production, makes it a difficult listen.

So, with this piece of FM-only pop, the bads outnumber the goods, and Journey fans should collect this one after their obviously superior albums. Additionally, I decree that Frontiers has the dubious honor of containing what is easily the worst Journey song ever-- the painfully crass and absurd Back Talk.

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

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars A telepathic journey?

The sound of this album reminds me of Asia's Astra album but it is slightly darker than that album. Those of you who have heard that Asia album know that it is very heavy on the 80's synths. Frontiers also reminds me of John Wetton's and Geoff Downes' recent Icon projects. (Coincidentally, there is a track here called Rubicon which is also the subtitle of one of the Icon albums (and a track from that same album)). Further, Steve Perry even sounds a bit like Wetton here, especially on the opening track Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)! And speaking of "Worlds Apart", the music here also has some similarities with that of Saga (whose most popular album was called just that; Worlds Apart).

Ever since releasing Infinity in 1978, Journey has alternated between better and worse albums. Infinity was a very good album, in my opinion. It was followed by the very weak Evolution that was nothing but a very bleak copy of Infinity. The band regained some of their strengths for the quite respectable, but uneven, Departure, only to once again make a less good album with the mostly quite boring Escape. This pattern was further continued with Frontiers which is an overall better album than its immediate predecessor. (I'm not counting the first three albums and the symphonic soundtrack album Dream After Dream in this particular exercise).

While there is no real stand out track on this album like Mother, Father from Escape, Frontiers is overall a much better album as it is more consistent and more interesting. If I must pick favourite tracks, I would say that the two tracks that bookends the album are among the best ones; Rubicon and Separate Ways (Worlds Apart). Also Troubled Child is a strong song that alternates between quieter and more intense passages. Chain Reaction and Edge Of The Blade are more straightforward hard rockers with quite heavy riffs! There are also a few less good songs, however, that bring the album down a bit. The weakest is probably Back Talk, which is a bit embarrassing. Still, I would say that this is the best Journey album since Infinity.

We have here mostly well written, but rather unmemorable, songs, strong vocals and instrumental talents. There are a little bit more instrumental workouts and slightly more sophisticated arrangements here than on most previous and later Journey albums from the Steve Perry-era. The cover art is rather strange and features a large blue head with the word 'Journey' emanating from its forehead perhaps to symbolize some kind of telepathic power? Futuristic!

Any Prog fan who does not have an aversion towards the sounds of the 80's and can enjoy bands like Asia, Saga and the best of Styx, should be able to get at least some enjoyment out of this one. Personally, I think this album is an enjoyable listen, but also rather forgettable. Therefore, I give it a strong two stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars I started my reviewing process for "Journey" with the thoughts of my teenage days and the great "Santana" feeling which were brought by the fantastic Gregg Rolie and the superb Neal Schon. Their first incarnation was the occasion to deliver some very good works (their first two albums) or good one (their third album).

After this, the story sounded much more bitter. For commercial reasons, the band was added a new lead vocalist who came out of nowhere (Steve Perry) and who brought an awful AOR sound to this once good band.

I really couldn't stand their albums from "Infinity" to "Escape". And I can't say that the experience felt here is gorgeous. The band has now found his path and conquered virtually millions of fans. But I don't belong to these. The ones in favour might say that "Genesis" or "Yes" never sold so much after their new "musical" direction. These are of course facts, but the genuine fan that I am can't endorse this.

I am desperately trying to find one interesting piece of music on this album. But it seems to be hopeless: from silly AOR stuff (for the most) to the most syrupy soup ("Faithfully", "After The Fall"), this album is another long "press next" exercise. Be sure to hold these two keys to avoid pure boredom. Even short and great guitar beaks are very, very scarce. What the hell did you do Neal?

The only passable song is the dynamic "Edge of the Blade" thanks to some wake up from Neal. Excellent guitar play which should be much more present than what's currently available.

This album will be a huge commercial hit (selling millions of copies) but in terms of quality I just can say that it sounds very poor to my ears. Totally useless, fully AOR or standard heavy ("Back Talk") or hard rock ("Rubycons"). Not to be recommended in any way.

One star as usual since "Infinity".

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Fulfillingness, first finale

If it ain't broke don't fix it appears to have been the philosophy behind this album, the follow up to Journey's best selling "Escape" album. Released two years after that album, "Frontiers" has a similar quota of hit singles, the tracks as a whole being pretty much interchangeable with their peers on "Escape". Once again, Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain dominate the song writing, usually with Neal Schon also contributing.

The opening "Separate ways" may have a title which suggests a soppy ballad is coming, but it is in fact a deliciously heavy out and out rock song. Soaring synths and pounding lead guitars compete with Perry's fine vocals for centre stage in a song which is as good as anything the band have recorded thus far. Even the following ballad "Send her my love" has a depth and power to it which sets it apart from the band's usual forays into such territory.

The ballad "Faithfully" is one of my favourite Journey songs. For sure, it is at heart a soppy number reflecting the challenges of maintaining a relationship while on tour ("They say that the road ain't no place to start a family"). It is though a delightful piece with a fine vocal by Perry and some excellent lead guitar by Schon. The closing "Rubicon" has no connection with Tangerine Dream, although the pounding synths are upfront here. The track is a bit different for this incarnation of Journey, with slight echoes of their distant past. The track also has hints of Led Zeppelin from their "In through the out door" days.

Inevitably there are the well performed but more prosaic songs, mainly those which are straightforward rock songs such as "Chain reaction" and "Edge of the blade". Even these though display a quality which sets the band apart from many of their peers. "Troubled child" is another such track, although the chorus did remind me a lot of "After the lie" from Tony Banks' solo album "A curious feeling". "Back talk" has a bit of a Led Zeppelin feel to it (really!), but it only works up to a point, the type of song not really being suited to Perry's vocal style.

In all, an immensely powerful album by Journey, which contains some fine song writing, fine performances, and fine arrangements.

This would become a first finale album for the band, with some members concentrating on solo projects for the following couple of years. It would also prove to be the last album for the time being to include the rhythm section of Steve Smith and Ross Valory.

The 2006 reissue of the album contains four bonus tracks. The first two of these, "Only the Young" and "Ask the Lonely" were reportedly originally intended to be included on the album, but were replaced by "Back Talk" and "Troubled Child" at the behest of the band's A&R representative Michael Dilbeck. "Only the Young" and "Ask the Lonely" were subsequently used on soundtracks for different films in 1986. "Only the young" is a real hidden jem with a fine melody and strong performances by Perry and Schon in particular. Fans of (AOR) Journey are well advised to seek out this track. "Ask the lonely" too would have been an album highlight had it been included.

Review by stefro
1 stars After the AOR brilliance of 1981's mega-hit 'Escape' Journey, for reasons best known to themselves, went all Wishbone Ash on us by deliberately eschewing the slickly-produced soft-rock style that generated so much success, instead delivering a gruesome collection of tacky and soulless hard-rock. Simply put, there isn't a single song on this ugly album that comes close to replicating the uplifting charm and fist-pumping passion of tracks such as 'Who's Cryin' Now', 'Open Arms' and 'Don't Stop Believing', the group focusing their energies on an unattractive and overcrowded synthesized rock sound that leaves little room for the group's talented members to flex their musical muscles. From the opening feeble riffs of 'Separate Ways' to the lifeless electric balladry of 'Rubicon', 'Frontiers' sadly ranks as genuine low-point for the American five-piece. Very poor indeed.
Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Frontiers was the follow up of Journey´s bestselling album Escape and it came two years after that, showing that the years of constant touring were beginning to take their toll. Still, the new LP only proved the classic line up was indeed their best incarnation and that they were at the peak of their writing and performing powers. A few songs here do remind me of Escape´s style, but in general Frontiers is quite different from their mega seller. Jonathan Cain had relied a lot on piano and guitar for his contribution on Escape,m and here he is mostly handling a lot of synthesizers, while the rest of the band decided to give a heavier and more progressive sheen on the songs.

They could have followed the winning formula of a ballad for their first single but decided instead to release the more uptempo, synth-soaked, Separate Ways (Worlds Apart). Even if Frontiers did not produce an iconic tune like Don´t Stop Believin´, overall this album is more varied, bold and progressive than the previous one. Steve Perry sings in different registers several songs, sounding specially aggressive in the Led Zeppelin-like Back Talk to the very high notes of the slightly jazzy After The Fall. Above all we have the great talent of Neal Schon: his guitar licks and solos as creative and tasteful as ever. Even the rhythm section of Ross Valory and Steve Smith are better than before.

Although only Separate Ways and the ballad Faithfully became big hits, this is the typical case where the album has a lot more to offer than its most known songs. With a perfect production and no fillers, this is a classic AOR album and it came right at the time when the genre was starting to wane.

Unfortunately this would be also the last record done by the classic line up. But what a last work it was! If the genre progressive melodic rock was considered for PA, this would be a five star, masterpiece, case. Frontiers stands as the most progressive album done by Journey during the Steve Perry period. Small wonder it is their best too.

If you like melodic rock with lots of progressive influences you can´t miss this one. To listen without prejudice.

Review by Necrotica
4 stars Journey was an epitome of arena rock for its time along with a handful of others, among the likes of Styx, REO Speedwagon, Loverboy, etc. Their album Escape saw them at their "finest" and at their heyday. Whether or not one really cared about the quality that was lost in their later recordings after their prog era with Santana keyboard virtuoso Gregg Rolie, it never seemed to be an issue, as Journey's records were still being sold by the masses as soon as they were released. This sees a new album called Frontiers, and it is a definite progression/improvement over the lackluster Escape.

The first side of the record contains a good amount of well-known tracks. It kicks off with the particularly popular "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart), a synth-driven number that is actually quite heavy. Steve Perry still takes the forefront (as usual), but it is noticeably not as much this time around. Eventually the track is pulled along by a pretty catchy chorus. Its solo gets a little over-the-top and a little too dramatic with some filler as well, but that's the only area to really be griping about.

Another extremely well-known track here is the beautiful "Faithfully," a warm and heartfelt ballad that really shows glimpses of earlier Steve Perry work with Journey. It shows that there is still a fire in Perry's songwriting and singing overall. The track starts out with slow piano work and eventually builds up to a massive verse-chorus progression. Other hits of the first side include "After the Fall," which is actually a bit lackluster but overall a solid ballad, and the hard-rocking (yet quite interesting and unusual for Journey) "Chain Reaction."

The second side of the record is a bit interesting. While the first half of the album had popular hits that received significant airplay, the second side reveals a more obscure feel to the band. The rocker "Edge of the Blade" is a good example here. The riff absolutely does not sound like something Journey would do, and the overall track is quite dark in music and subject matter. The darkness continues with the progressive ballad "Troubled Child," which also goes more towards their early years with Gregg Rolie. The music lightens up a bit and gets more accessible with "Rubicon," the final track, but overall the second side is quite odd.

The whole experience for me had quite a collection of gripes. First off, Jonathan Cain has a little too much control here with his keyboard work, and it really makes for many missed opportunities with the album's sound. Plus, the obscure second half might turn off some listeners who prefer Escape or Departure. Furthermore, that same second half is a bit directionless at times, particularly at the end of "Edge of the Blade" where it could have just faded out. Solos can also be quite overbearing, like the one in "Separate Ways," where Neal Schon just does a bunch of noodling and soloing for minutes.

Overall, this album is definitely better than Escape but it doesn't match the quality of the very early records by Journey when Gregg Rolie was around. Fans should especially be aware that the second half of the album might not be their cup of tea. In short, though, it is a decent album worth listening to.

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