With countless hits and seven consecutive multi-platinum albums, Journey had become a staple on rock radio and arenas around the world. But that came to a screeching halt when lead singer, Steve Perry, left the band after their 1986 album - Raised on Radio. After a ten year hiatus, Steve Perry did rejoin the band for an all too brief reunion, leaving fans with nothing more than the disappointing Trial by Fire album. It looked like this Journey was coming to an end.
Some bands have a hard time moving forward, especially after “the voice” that propelled them to super-stardom, ups and leaves. It seemed that this was the case with Journey. Most fans believed that there was no Journey without Steve Perry. But the fact of the matter was, Perry had been away far longer than he was ever in Journey. Truth be told, he wasn’t even their first lead singer.
In 2001 Journey released their album, Arrival. It was their first release that did not feature Steve Perry on lead vocals since 1977.
I really didn’t have any expectations when I picked up Arrival. I was simply curious as to how this rock radio zenith of a band was going to continue without the instantly recognizable voice of Perry. Thankfully, with Arrival, the band was back in business, in fact, easily surpassing the disappointing reunion album of ‘96.
The band seemed focused and revitalized with the inclusion of new band members Steve Augeri on lead vocals and drummer Deen Castronovo. The album is exquisitely produced, sounding like its predecessors, with a great mix of rockers and ballads. Don’t get me wrong just because it’s formulaic doesn’t mean it lacks conviction. The band was hungry to prove that they could carry on without Steve Perry. They proved they sure could with Arrival.
Standout tracks include; the hard rocking anthem and album opener: Higher Place, the should have/could have been radio hit: Signs of Life, the moody and nasty: All The Things, the intense rocker: Word Gone Wild, the heartfelt ballads: All The Way, Loved by You. We can’t forget the excellent album closer: We Will Meet Again. Arrival was and still is a very satisfying and consistent album.
Unfortunately, Arrival suffered from mixed reviews because of most fans’ reluctance to accept the fact that Steve Perry was no longer in the band. As well, Journey’s new vocalist at the time, Steve Augeri eerily sounded like Perry which only fueled the fire for another reunion. With all this going against Arrival, the album failed to reach gold status in sales; the first time since 1977.
Over the years music fans have become more accepting of line-up changes in a band. Perhaps if Journey waited a few more years, both Augeri and the Arrival album would have been accepted with open arms from Journey’s fan base.
So if there’s one album in Journey’s back catalogue that deserves a second chance to be discovered, Arrival is definitely, IT. For me, more and more songs from this album get added on to my Journey playlist, and for good reason. A good album, is a good album. Period.