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Journey - Escape [Aka: E5C4P3] CD (album) cover

ESCAPE [AKA: E5C4P3]

Journey

 

Prog Related

2.81 | 135 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Still they deride

Two years after the release of "Departure", Journey returned with what would become their most successful album of their entire career. In the interim period, co-founder Greg Rolie had moved on, and the band had released a (now hard to find) soundtrack album for the film "Dream, After Dream". Rolie was replaced by ex-The Babys keyboard player Jonathan Cain, Rolie assisting with his selection.

Cain immediately gets involved in the song writing, co-writing all the tracks here with Steve Perry, and usually Neal Schon. In terms of the contents, there are two ways we can go with this album. We can toe the party line and deride it as representing all that is wrong with music (ever!), or we can recognise it for what it actually is. "Escape" does not presume to be anything other than a collection of finely crafted AOR pop rock songs. With instantly recognisable song titles such as "Don't stop believin'", "Who's crying now", "Open arms" and "Still they ride", we know straight away that this is not a prog album by any means. It does however contain many of the things on which prog is founded. There are strong melodies, competent performances, variations in style and sound, excellent arrangements and well composed songs.

Despite being hijacked for all manner of inappropriate uses in recent years, "Don't stop believin'" remains a well crafted work featuring a fine vocal by Perry and some admirable if all to brief lead guitar from Schon. "Who's crying now" is probably my favourite Journey track of all, the vocal first half and the guitar solo latter section sitting together perfectly. Although the album is heavy on the ballads, with songs such as the wonderfully emotional "Still they ride" you will get no complaints from me. "Mother, Father" is the closest we get to a complex arrangement here, and as such this well constructed mini-epic (yes you heard me right) affords the album credibility, even in these parts.

Of the upbeat songs "Keep on running" is one of the best of the bunch, the simple rock'n'roll basis of the number being developed nicely. The album is not without it filler though, "Stone in love" and "Lay It Down" being radio rock by the numbers.

As I have acknowledged, this is no cornerstone of prog. What it is though is a best in class of AOR.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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