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




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2.81 | 135 ratings

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4 stars Hardly progressive rock but a great album nonetheless, AOR superstars Journey would hit their commercial zenith with this career-defining 1981 album thanks mainly to the still hugely-popular single 'Don't Stop Believin', a soft-rock anthem that has transcended both the ages and changing musical trends to become one of the most played songs on American rock radio. As an actual album, 'Escape' is actually a lot more than just the home of it's heavyweight hit, and this highly-polished set should more than satisfy lovers of straightforward rock, featuring as it does a selection of crisp, classy and slickly-produced tunes that make the best of Steve Perry's husky vocals. Yes, it's all a far cry from the group's mid-seventies inception when, under the auspices of former manager Herbie Herbert Journey started out as fusion- influenced progressive rock outfit made up of ex-members of Santana, Frank Zappa's Mothers Of Invention and The Tubes, though 'Escape' does occasionally let it's talented creators out of the commercial box, most notably on the rollicking power-pop of 'Stone In Love', a track which starts out as a simple, upbeat pop piece before diving headlong into a powerful instrumental denouement. These flashes of inspiration don't pop up too often - for the most this is simple keyboard-and-guitar dominated power pop - yet 'Escape' is rarely dull, even if the progressive instincts that adorned Journey's underrated trio of early non-Steve Perry albums('Journey', 'Look Into The Future' & 'Next') has been carefully airbrushed out. That said, 'Escape' is arguably the pinnacle of the soft-rock genre that so dominated North America during the 1980's, and one of the few such albums that has genuinely aged well. Emotive ballads such as the extremely well-written 'Who's Cryin' Now' and 'Open Arms' are cleverly balanced against pacier, punchier numbers, and the whole package can almost be seen - in the same way as Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' - as a kind of soft-rock blueprint, such was it's impact. Rare is the AOR album that appeals to such a wide audience, and despite it's obvious limitations 'Escape' is certainly that. It may not be prog, but it still rocks.


stefro | 4/5 |


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