Sound — 8
Journey never started as the poppy, anthemic group that it's become known as. It started as a slow, droning, jazz fusion band that could have quite possibly been the precursor to current groups such as Om. With their newest release, Eclipse, they've renounced their Frontiers-era synthesizers for a heavier, harder-hitting sound. With the entry of the first track, you realize not only how big a part of the sound Steve Perry was, but you also realize how creative and powerful Journey is. Although I previously would have described Journey as pop rock, I most certainly believe that they are rock n' roll. Not for their sound, but for the attitude and power of Eclipse.
Lyrics — 7
While Journey has progressed leaps and bounds with their music and attitude, they have not moved very far with their lyrics. They are the same introspective, retrospective lyrics from all albums; certainly meaningful, but still based in the common theme of love. However, they are still incredibly artful and creative. Arnel Pineda has had an immeasurable effect on the quality and uniqueness of the lyrics. While the theme of love is still reoccurring and always there, it is adressed in ways that make it different and more interesting each time. Instead looking at the constantly turbulent relationship of one couple, you're looking at the very, very turbulent relationships of many people.
Overall Impression — 9
When listening to my iPod, Journey follows the Sex Pistols and Loaded. Listening to the start of the Taking, through Never Mind the Bollocks, all the ways to the last track of Eclipse, it is smooth flowing, and compatible. There is nothing on this album that I dislike; if it was stolen, I'd get it again, and a backup copy. The most impressive element, though, is Neal Schon's unique and unmatchable guitar playing. It is like listening to Randy Rhoads, B. B. King, and Slash all at once. Beautiful, stunning, and an amazing comeback in the face of a changing musical tide.