Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pick yourself up after the knockout: queue up Journey for the blogmistress

Yes, the usual disclaimer – Blenders who aren’t Journey fans, scroll on to non-Journey content below. That also goes for the “No Perry, No Journey” crowd. I like them both. Humor me or face the trap door. ;)

From an earlier Tweet:
@Pam_Spaulding Screwed. I just signed papers that put #PHB into the $ abyss. Can’t talk about it yet, but many of you know why.
So I’m cheering myself (or trying to) up by listening to ‘City of Hope’ – from Journey’s new album, Eclipse, drops May 27. The song is inspired by the band’s visit to Manila (lead singer Arnel Pineda’s home city) in 2009. City of Hope is the first single released in the U.S.
The band has been south of the border in March and April, packing them in at stops in Santiago, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Lima and Caracas. Most Blenders know that in February I trekked out to Vegas for one of the two “warm up” concerts in the States (the other was in Reno that same weekend). It was a sell-out crowd and we were treated to five of the new songs from Eclipse – Edge of the Moment, Resonate, City of Hope, Chain of Love, and Human Feel. As I said in my concert review, my picks for most radio-friendly  – if it gets played by DJs — are City of Hope and Resonate.

For audiophiles, Eclipse is not your “Open Arms” Journey, btw.

Not that I don’t love “Open Arms” — it’s like a warm fuzzy blanket ballad you rely on. And you want to hear it in concert — and you do (and you can always pop in a classic Journey album to hear the magnificent Steve Perry). But I don’t think we’ll hear anything like that on Eclipse. And it certainly isn’t Revelation, the last CD (the first with Arnel Pineda), either. Why? Based on the five songs introduced at the concert (and the above video), this is flat-out rock, darker, but still melodic album, with heavy emphasis on Neal Schon’s guitar licks. It has punching up-front-in-the-mix drums courtesy of Deen Castronovo, rhythm of Ross Valory on bass and less emphasis on Jon Cain’s keyboards as the prime mover. Arnel, my friends,  is at the top of his game.

And unlike Revelation, the production is so much cleaner and crisper. I can’t even begin to describe how sharp this production is by comparison, none of the muddiness that marred last album, which was so oddly mixed that some of the instrumentation sounds like it’s under water. And that’s from someone who loves the songs/songwriting on Revelations; it’s perpetually loaded in my car. But the production left much to be desired.

Listening to City of Hope several times on headphones is a welcome opportunity to hear each of the J-Boys work the song and the groove. I hope it gets a chance on radio. It’s surely of much more value than Auto-Tune crap on top of the charts (Bieber…Bieber…)

That is all for now; more about the royal abyss and the bloodsuckers in due time. More pleasant thoughts (and sounds) for me…

From February’s concert in Vegas; with some of my fellow J-Boys fans.

Journey tours in 2011-2012