Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Journey 13: Generations

Steve Augeri had a thankless task replacing Steve Perry in Journey, but money is money and tour they did. While they made progress by maintaining the same lineup for two albums in a row, Generations muddles their aim by farming out four of the songs to every other band member. At least, they kept the songwriting in house for the most part. They even brought back Kevin Elson to produce.
The album continues Neal Schon’s quest for respect as a shredder, with more emphasis on power and less on ballads. Brevity is barely considered with most songs over five minutes; after all, don’t we wanna hear all that fretwork?
“Faith In The Heartland” is the rousing anthemic opener, and a good show case for Augeri, though there is a little of Perry’s asides just before the fade. Neal and Jonathan Cain didn’t notice how much the verse of “The Place In Your Heart” resembles that of “Ask The Lonely”, but they can still write a chorus. Drummer Dean Castronovo takes over the mike for the lackluster “A Better Life”, and he does a pretty good Steve Augeri impression, slightly better than Jonathan mewling his way through “Every Generation”. Augeri takes control for two songs he wrote on his own, the tender-but-barbed “Butterfly (She Flies Alone)” and the more adventurously metered “Believe”.
“Knowing That You Love Me” provides the requisite dark love song, kicked aside by the more frenetic war commentary in “Out Of Harms [sic] Way”. As if that wasn’t fast enough, Neal revives “In Self-Defense” from his second collaboration with Jan Hammer, a song incidentally co-written with Steve Perry. “Better Together” is a defiant message to the haters, and one they’d need before handing “Gone Crazy” over to Ross Valory. The classic Journey sound returns for “Beyond The Clouds”, and we still can’t figure out if she’s dead or just dumped him.
The band kindly gave a copy of Generations to anyone who attended one of their concerts that summer, but added the generic “Never Too Late”, sung by Dean, as a bonus to the retail release. Meanwhile, Japan got the exclusive extra of Jonathan’s “Pride Of The Family”, probably the only song in this century that quotes 38 Special.
This album will be easily embraced by the already converted; nobody else need bother.

Journey Generations (2005)—3

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