Sound — 8
Re-issued Greatest Hits don't appear by chance. That's something that sooner or later happens to every famous band -- they get popular, spilt up, spend about 20 years busy with solo projects or just being quiet (being cynical I should say it depends on the amount of money they managed to earn on the peak of their fame and the ambitions), get together for a reunion tour (again, being cynical -- when they are out of the ideas about the alternative ways of earning money). Now we got to a point -- to promote the tour, the band needs either a new album (which is a pain in the ass for people who didn't talk for 20 years) or at least some kind of Greatest Hits. Even if they already had a Greatest Hits album and not a single new song after that, it's not a problem -- they can always re-master and re-issue it. That's exactly what happened to the '80s rock band The Journey -- to support their 2006 tour, they put out a re-mastered Greatest Hits album, out in August on Columbia/Legacy. The Journey's got enough hits to make Greatest Hits Vol. 2 album, but instead they decided to re-issue the old one -- maybe because of the fact it has sold 14 million copies worldwide and became an all-time top seller. Just like its 1988 twin, Greatest Hits 2006 is a collection of soulful songs with tear-shedding lyrics. The difference is in the bonus track -- 1996 Grammy nominated When You Love A Woman and never-before-seen pictures in the CD booklet. The CD shows the band on the peak of their career, taking the time period from late '70s to mid-'80s. The songs are based on catchy melodic tunes The Journey were famous for -- like Who's Crying Now or Any Way You Want It. Without any doubt no Greatest Hits CD of a good rock band could leave power ballads aside. If you think nowdays rock is too mellow for something real, here you've got the best from the band that actually made the genre of rock ballads famous. Faithfully, their most successful Open Arms, and Send Her My Love is enough to get any rock fan excited and bring you the atmosphere of the past century. As the band was led by vocalist Steve Perry and guitarist Neal Schon, their presence in songs is the most evident. Not to mention all of the tracks are guitar-driven. You get a fine cut of classic guitar rock school by Schon with melodic solos and stellar riffs.
Lyrics — 9
That was the era of new hopes, young and powerful generation, seemingly bright future and the will to change the world. The poetry is very romantic without even a note of pragmatism. Some words are worth to be read as a poem, some along with choral back vocals are ridiculously primitive. Of course, there's so popular in the '80s Steve Perry's soaring voice, being imitated by almost every rock band. His vocal abilities are something most modern rock vocalists would die for. Apart from the gift of screaming as if somebody's pinched his balls, he's got so much sincerity in the voice that you believe every single word -- including something tacky like Workin' hard to get my fill/Everybody wants a thrill and Some will win, some will lose/Some were born to sing the blues. No wonder a lot of singers have unsuccessfully tried to replace him!
Overall Impression — 8
If you missed '80s, here you've got enough of them -- 16 pages of photos with up-to-your waist, incredibly tight pants, woman-like looking guys plus 65 minutes of at the top of the lungs vocals and guitar exercises. The album is a must if you ever decide to educate yourself in classic rock as every track has become classic over years. The re-mastering of the album is a good reason for old fans to buy it and a way to create some buzz around the band. That may as well attract some new people. But I believe the charm of old rock bands is particularly in their sound -- that old scratched vinyl hissing in between tracks. All of those re-mastering and attempts to make the old sound new and crispy remind me of an old woman that put tons of make up just to hide her age, which only makes her look silly.