Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Cain’

Journey – Eclipse (2011, independent release)

  1. City Of Hope
  2. Edge Of The Moment
  3. Chain Of Love
  4. Tantra
  5. Anything Is Possible
  6. Resonate
  7. She’s A Mystery
  8. Human Feel
  9. Ritual
  10. To Whom It May Concern
  11. Someone
  12. Venus

Band Lineup:
Arnel Pineda – Lead Vocals
Neal Schon – All Guitars & Backing Vocals
Jonathan Cain – Keyboards & Backing Vocals
Ross Valory – Bass & Backing Vocals
Deen Castronovo – Drums, Percussion & Vocals

Producers: Kevin Shirley, Neal Schon & Jonathan Cain

Country: USA

Total Time = 1:06:26

Journey official website
Journey MySpace page

Journey marked their third comeback with a new singer in Arnel Pineda, and a great album with REVELATION, in 2008 and achieved both critical and commercial success that had been missing since TRIAL BY FIRE (1996). Credit the critical acclaim to the band getting down to business and writing well written, catchy, melodic songs and Arnel dazzling everyone with his superb Steve Perry styled vocals on record and on tour. The commercial success came through a great business deal with retail giant Wal-Mart to exclusively release REVELATION (including a DVD and re-recorded hits package) and get the band their first platinum record in over a decade. Band leaders Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain are superb musicians, as well as knowledgeable businessmen, so it’s no surprise that they hit big with the REVELATION album and tour. That was then and this is 2011 and Journey, and specifically Pineda, have to prove that this REVELATION wasn’t a fluke and that Journey has the talent and drive to continue well into the future. That proof comes with their new album, and another Wal-Mart exclusive, ECLIPSE.

As I do with many reviews I write, I have to tell you that I’ve been a fan of Journey for a long time, at least since 1981′s ESCAPE, so I’ve grown up with the band and heard all the big hits and all the albums countless times. REVELATION was one of my favorite albums of 2008 so I was really psyched up for the new record’s release especially when I read all the press that this was going to be a heavier album, a true Rock record. Neal Schon has always been one of my favorite guitarists and I’ve always thought that he doesn’t get the credit he deserves because Journey is sometimes seen as a Pop band or a ballad band, take a listen to his solo material (ELECTRIC WORLD from 1997 is awesome!), his work with HSAS, Bad English, Hardline or Soul Sirkus and you’ll hear some great riffs and solos along with more melodic, blues and jazz elements. A Journey album with more guitar? Sign me up! I drove to Wal-Mart the day of release to buy it and I don’t shop at Wal-Mart on principle! At first glance, ECLIPSE doesn’t give off the “Wow!” factor in terms of packaging especially when compared to the deluxe, three disc, brightly colored digibook that was REVELATION, ECLPISE is a darker album cover and the packaging is a simple slim digipak with a four page booklet. So they value factor isn’t there as far as bonuses (no extra discs) but the price was definitely low ($10) and the music is the whole point of an album.

Starting off ECLIPSE is the melodic and upbeat ‘City Of Hope’ that sounds like a typical Journey rocker and could have easily come off ARRIVAL (2001) and the guitar driven ‘Edge Of The Moment’ that sounds like late ’70s/early ’80s Journey from EVOLUTION (1979) or DEPARTURE (1980). Right away you notice that both songs are guitar oriented with thick riffs and heavier solos compared to the usual Journey fare but the underlying detail is that Jonathan Cain’s keyboards are not as up front in the mix. One of the reasons that Journey sometimes gets a reputation for being too “lite” is because the keyboards so up front in the overall sound, immeadiately you hear the guitar driving the songs and the keys a compliment. The other thing I hear right away is that Arnel Pineda is adding his own flair to the vocals rather than straight up copy the classic Steve Perry sound. Back on REVELATION it was obvious that Pineda could do a solid Perry imitation, listen to that second disc of re-recordings and it’s pretty spot on, but on these first two songs you can hear an edge. Of course, I write those words and there’s a keyboard intro to ‘Chain Of Love’ and Pineda’s voice soars and sounds just like Perry’s on the album’s first ballad ‘Tantra’. ‘Chain Of Love’ is a heavy mid-tempo track that gives off a dark moody feeling that is the direct opposite of typical Journey, a song full of chunky riffs that sound so thick that it may throw some people off. ‘Tantra’ is your typical Journey ballad that starts out slow with Cain’s piano leading the way and Pineda crooning like Perry but then Schon kicks the guitar in and the entire band comes together to deliver one of the most powerful songs on the album. Say what you want about straight up Rock songs, sometimes a power ballad can be as heavy, as rocking, and as powerful, that’s ‘Chain Of Love’. The first four songs on this new album are great with plenty of sonic changes and a focus on Schon’s guitar…..if the rest of the record is as good then Journey has another winner on it’s hands.

‘Anything Is Possible’ is a mid-tempo AOR number that easily recalls Steve Perry/RAISED ON RADIO era Journey and it’s definitely one of my favorite tracks on the record, very catchy and clean as far as the sound goes. I like Cain’s underlying piano and the guitar solos are a pleasure to hear but it’s Arnel’s showcase and he sounds like a seasoned veteran of the AOR ranks. ‘Resonate’ is a darker song that takes time to build and it follows a similar pattern to ‘Anything Is Possible’ as it builds to the chorus. Again, another guitar driven track that really gives off this dark tone but the contrast to the beauty of the singing is what makes it, and the entire record, work well. I like the acoustic intro to ‘She’s A Mystery’ and it just builds into one of the best songs on the album! About halfway through, the band dismisses the acoustic balladry and goes for it with a powerful full band electric swagger…..that’s a pretty good way to describe ECLIPSE: “balladry with an electric swagger”. ‘Human Feel’ has this tribal drum intro from Deen Castronovo and a cool Hammond Organ from Jonathan Cain to compliment another heavy handed riff from Schon. It kind of reminds me of ‘Ball Of Confusion’ from The Temptations in some parts with a bit of that Motown swing underneath but once Arnel sings, it sounds like straight Rock. The guitar solo is powerful but so effortless…..the hallmark of a guitar great! The rocking tempo continues with ‘Ritual’ and it’s the kind of upbeat song that was a staple of previous records post-Perry, it could use some bigger background harmonies to give it that extra punch but it’s solid.

‘To Whom It May Concern’ is another proper ballad that adds a little more Jonathan Cain in the way of piano, keyboard and orchestration. While it’s not a bad song at all, I feel a bit of a disconnect. Maybe that’s because the power of ECLIPSE is in Neal’s guitar? Arnel is the star of the show here with another great vocal but I could go for a little more harmony to make the song sound bigger. More uptempo AOR with ‘Someone’ and it’s sounds like a traditional Journey rocker and could have easily been a hold over from REVELATION. It’s got that sing-a-long hook that makes it worth the wait but I wish they had placed it more up front in the tracklisting. It’s a “happy” kind of classic Journey track and contrasts well with the darker parts of the record. Ending the album is the instrumental ‘Venus’ that uses parts of ‘To Whom It May Concern’ and is a band showcase minus Mr. Pineda…..it’s cool but not my thing from Journey.

Bottom Line:
Journey is Journey so you know what you’re going to get when you spin a Journey record: uptempo/upbeat AOR and Melodic Rock with a few ballads and top musicianship. For most fans, that’s enough but Journey music is such a part of American culture that fans always expect the best. For my money, the REVELATION album from a few years ago fit that bill easily and ECLIPSE falls a little short of my expectations when comparing the two. I’m not saying that ECLIPSE is a bad record, quite the contrary, I think it’s one of the best of the year but the darker tone/feel of the album has thrown me a little. That’s a good thing though because it shows a vibrant and creative band not willing to compromise and to continue to grow. The more I play ECLIPSE, the more I like it and the more I enjoy it. What I like most is that this is a guitar record. There are many times when the name Journey makes you think of keyboard heavy rockers and piano ballads but ECLIPSE is a Neal Schon showcase with some of the coolest riffs and solos I’ve heard on a melodic rock record. The rest of the band is as solid as ever and Arnel Pineda has turned in another outstanding vocal performance. The songs are well written and the sound is crystal clear thatnks to producer Kevin Shirley. Definitely a recommended album…..just give it a few spins so you can really get into it.

Best Songs:
‘City Of Hope’, ‘Edge Of The Moment’, ‘Chain Of Love’, ‘She’s A Mystery’, ‘Someone’

From Melodicrock.com:

Journey, one of the most popular American rock bands of all time, is gearing up to unleash their latest album of brand new material, Eclipse. The album will be released in the U.S. and Canada on May 24 exclusively at Walmart and beginning June 3 in Europe on Frontiers Records.

Thanks to Frontiers Records and Journey management, MelodicRock.com can present this world exclusive first taste of the new studio album!

The 30 second preview clip of the lead track City Of Hope can be Downloaded Here.
 
 
To follow the release of Eclipse, Journey will launch the “Eclipse Tour” with Foreigner, and special guest Night Ranger, beginning July 21 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT. Fans can expect to hear new songs from Eclipse as well as classics such as Don’t Stop Believin’, Any Way You Want It, Faithfully, Lights, Separate Ways, Wheel In The Sky, and many more. The “Eclipse Tour” dates are listed below.

“I’m in love with this record, which I haven’t said about one of our albums for a long time,” says founding member and lead guitarist, Neal Schon. “It’s a rock record and it sounds amazing.” Commenting on the upcoming tour, Schon continued, “We’ve got a lot of hits to play and there’s plenty of time to do some new stuff too, so we’re gonna mix it up. We haven’t toured with Foreigner for over 10 years, so we’re really looking forward to this run.” Tickets for “The Eclipse Tour” go on sale beginning Friday March 11, at all the usual online, phone and physical retail outlets, including select Walmart Ticketmaster locations across the country. Check www.journeymusic.com for complete ticket onsale information. Journey has once again teamed up with iloveallaccess.com to offer their fans a variety of VIP ticket packages. For more details go to www.journeymusic.com.

In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, keyboardist Jonathan Cain recently described Eclipse as “a concept record with some spiritual themes to it…pretty tough, hard-hitting stuff.” Jonathan continued, “We just felt like it was time to send a message to the world about how we feel about life in general.” Journey toured the world for two years in support of their 2008 release, Revelation. More than a million fans attended the shows, and welcomed new lead singer Arnel Pineda. Completing the Journey lineup is Schon (guitars, backing vocals), Cain (keyboards, backing vocals), Ross Valory (bass, backing vocals) and Deen Castronovo (drums, percussion, backing vocals). Revelation marked the band’s biggest first week’s sales in more than a decade, debuting at #5 on the Billboard 200 in June 2008 and taking the top spot on the Independent Albums chart. Revelation earned the band their 11th Platinum album certification to date, leading The New York Times to declare that “the band…feels alive.” Since its formation in 1973, Journey has earned 19 Top 40 singles and 25 gold and platinum albums. The band’s Greatest Hits album is certified 15 times platinum, bringing Journey into the elite club of Diamond-certified album holders. The group also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.

For more information, visit www.journeymusic.com.

Initial Eclipse Tour dates:
Thursday, July 21, 2011 Salt Lake City, UT Rio Tinto Stadium
Saturday, July 23, 2011 Irvine, CA Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Sunday, July 24, 2011 Phoenix, AZ Desert Sky Pavilion
Wednesday, July 27, 2011 Maryland Heights, MO Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Saturday, July 30, 2011 Tinley Park, IL First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Sunday, July 31, 2011 Clarkston, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre
Tuesday, August 02, 2011 Cuyahoga Falls, OH Blossom Music Center
Wednesday, August 03, 2011 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
Friday, August 05, 2011 Columbus, OH Crew Stadium, Ohio State Fair
Saturday, August 06, 2011 Noblesville, IN Verizon Wireless Music Center
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 Darien Center, NY Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
Saturday, August 13, 2011 Camden, NJ Susquehanna Bank Center
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 Hartford, CT Comcast Theatre
Wednesday, August 17, 2011 Wantagh, NY Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
Friday, August 19, 2011 Virginia Beach, VA Virginia Beach Amphitheater
Saturday, August 20, 2011 Raleigh, NC Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek
Sunday, August 21, 2011 Charlotte, NC Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Charlotte
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
Saturday, August 27, 2011 Burgettstown, PA First Niagara Pavilion
Tuesday, August 30, 2011 Syracuse, NY New York State Fair
Wednesday, August 31, 2011 Allentown, PA The Great Allentown Fair
Friday, September 02, 2011 Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center*
Saturday, September 10, 2011 New Orleans, LA New Orleans Arena
Friday, September 16, 2011 Atlanta, GA Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood
Saturday, September 17, 2011 Tampa, FL 1-800 Ask-Gary Amphitheatre
Sunday, September 18, 2011 West Palm Beach, FL Cruzan Amphitheatre
Saturday, September 24, 2011 Dallas, TX Gexa Energy Pavilion
Sunday, September 25, 2011 The Woodlands, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Wednesday, September 28, 2011 Kansas City, MO Starlight Theatre
Saturday, October 01, 2011 Englewood, CO Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
Friday, October 07, 2011 Chula Vista, CA Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre
Friday, October 14, 2011 Wheatland, CA Sleep Train Amphitheatre
Saturday, October 15, 2011 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 Portland, OR Rose Garden Arena
Friday, October 21, 2011 Seattle, WA KeyArena