Well, you can scrub all that gear from your mind right now. From here on it you can consign any thoughts of serious rifferama to sweet-smelling past memories. Journey '86 is all about wimphem. Fast wimphem, slow wimphem, mid-paced wimphem but wimphem all the same! Poor Geoff Barton will once more be running for the hills, Grave Digger albums in tow, desperately trying to avoid the splurge. I'd usually be donning the Nikes an' all, attempting to find pastures greener. And yet...
And yet, this is a good album, proof positive of what a bloody fine act Journey are, have been and will be until the day the sugar-sweet Daddy In The Sky gives 'em the final nod!
Sure, more Sam Cooke than Tipton and Downing anytime, yet somehow Journey reach those emotional parts that other bands will never find. Just as lead vocalist Steve Perry's solo album of '84 stood head and shoulders above the rest of the turgid AOR field, so Raised On Radio is the standard by which the rest of the pack will have to be judged.
Indeed, ROR is much more akin to solo Perry than earlier Journey outings, an interesting melange of styles all a-comin' home to roost in the AOR genre. There's plenty of Diana Ross / Temptations influence in the likes of "Positive Touch" and "It Could Have Been You"; even a nod to Fifties crooners in "The Eyes Of A Woman" and "Why Can't This Night Go On Forever" (why does this title go on forever?). It all sounds vile I know, but it works! And I think it works because it has a genuine ring to it.
Perry's not a 'Heavy Metal Gone Pop' singer. He's a pop singer with a touch of raunch to his style. Obviously a man of mule-like stubbornness too. Schon is limited to just one semi-violent outburst during the title track and it's clearly our Steve who is cracking the musical whip! (He's also involved on the production side.)
It's all a question of expectations really. If you want 'heads down, no nonsense' stuff, etc,etc, then you'll hate Raised On Radio. But for some inexplicable reason I'm hip to the groove - unlike various band members it would seem!
Whether the departures of bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith (before or after recording?) signifies the end of Journey remains to be seen. The band have had their problems for about as long as I recall and two fresh recruits will either bring about a new lease of life or else an increase in fracturisation. Still, if worst did come to worst, then ROR would be no bad legacy!
Yeah, OK, I know that Journey have hardly been at the forefront of all things decibelic in the last, but well, they've had their moments, shall we say? "Majestic", "Keep On Runnin'" and "Escape" to name but three of guitarist Neal Schon's more magic outings.