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Journey - Next CD (album) cover




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3.07 | 105 ratings

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3 stars Despite selling around 100,000 copies, Journey's third-and-final attempt to fuse progressive elements onto their emotive brand of hard-edged classic rock was deemed to be the final straw, both by the group's manager(former Santana handler Herbie Herbert) and by their dollar-hungry label Columbia Records. Despite featuring a more streamlined and accessible sound than both the group's fusion-influenced debut and the softer, popper follow-up 'Look Into The Future', Journey were faced with an ultimatum: get a proper, dedicated front-man(keyboardist Gregg Rolie had been doubling on vocals) or get lost. The group, unsurprisingly, went for the former option, first appointing short-lived singer Robert Fleischmann(who lasted just a few months) then ex-Alien Project vocalist Steve Perry. The rest, as the continuously say, is gold-record history. But what of 'Next'? Was it really that bad? Well, the simple answer is no, it wasn't. With ex-Frank Zappa drummer Aynsley Dunbar, Santana's former teenage guitarist Neal Schon and talented bassist Ross Valory augmenting Greg Rolie, the original version of Journey was a kind of super-group, something very much reflected in the group's consumate playing. Unlike their self-titled debut, however, 'Next' was less about showing off and more about crafting actual songs, and efforts such as the charming 'Spaceman', which opens the album, and the glorious harmonies 'Here We Are' are testament to the group's changing direction. However, as well all know, money talks, and Journey just weren't shifting the required amounts, hence the addition of Steve Perry. Albums like 'Escape' would turn the group into American superstars, though in terms of actual quality nothing beats Journey's first three albums. Just like it's predecessors, 'Next' is a highly underrated slice of prog-tinged classic rock that really does deserve better.


stefro | 3/5 |


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