Friday, March 26, 2021

Journey 14: Revelation

After several grueling years trying to sing like Steve Perry, Steve Augeri’s voice gave out, and the band tapped Jeff Scott Soto, formerly of Yngwie Malmsteen’s band as well as other German metal supergroups. For whatever reason, he didn’t take, and wasn’t needed after Neal Schon saw a Filipino kid on YouTube singing a lot like Steve Perry. (Actually the “kid” was in his late 30s, but that was still a generation younger than the band he was about to join.) Thus, Arnel Pineda stepped into musical history.
Once he was installed as their singer, an album followed. Revelation wasn’t the most accurate title, considering that several editions were bundled with a disc of rerecorded Journey classics with Arnel doing the vocals, and also a live DVD with a set heavy on the hits. The album itself gets off to a bad start with “Never Walk Away”, a blatant rewrite of “Be Good To Yourself”, but at least the kid (yeah, we know) has enough of his own personality to give the proceedings some weight. “Like A Sunshower” slows things down for a pensive waltz-time slow dance, with “Change For The Better” providing a pick-me-up. “Wildest Dream” comes off like a parody of ‘80s Journey, complete with cheesy keyboards, then “Faith In The Heartland” from Generations is given the Arnel treatment, in something of a slap to Mr. Augeri; hopefully he kept his share of the publishing rights the former. (“The Place In Your Heart” was also rejigged, but only released in Japan.) “After All These Years” finds Jonathan Cain writing “Faithfully” again.
“Where Did I Lose Your Love” rewrites “Separate Ways” again, and arguably features the most Perry-like vocal, masked by Neal Schon shredding constantly. “What I Needed” is a good opportunity to go find the men’s room, even though it’s the only tune Arnel is partially credited for writing. “What It Takes To Win” actually uses “there’s no I in team” as a lyric, but at least it’s another musically intricate piece. However, “Turn Down The World Tonight” distills the album’s power ballads into a dirge, and “The Journey (Revelation)” combines Neal’s self-conscious pyrotechnics with disembodied yowling.
Because Schon and Cain have a lock on the songwriting throughout Revelation, it’s hard to state whether they considered Arnel a true team member or just a mouthpiece. The songs average at least five minutes apiece, as the guys weren’t about to edit themselves as long as it all fit on a CD. It’s not the best showcase for the vocalist, but they made more money on the road anyway.

Journey Revelation (2008)—

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