Journey – Frontiers

Journey - FrontiersQuite possibly the first rock album to have a video game based on it (the arcade game Journey actually predates an Atari 2600 cartridge called Journey Escape by several months), Journey’s Frontiers is one of those pivotal, everybody-remembers-it, all-things-to-all-people albums of the 80s. On the good side, it’s got some of the group’s most memorable songs. On the downside, it takes us away from songs like “Lights” and starts Journey on its slippery downhill slope toward being yet another glam hair band.

“Send Her My Love” comes real close to being – for those of you familiar with Plato’s concept of the “perfect form” – the perfect form of the ’80s power ballad. Not the first one to come along by any means, but all the prerequisite elements are there. It’s a decent song, good lyrics, and all the while it’s riding on a chunky bed of distorted guitar that seems to constantly want to break into the searing solo that finally comes 2/3 of the way into the song – the quintessential Slow Song With Power Chords. Before Bon Jovi was riding a steel horse regardless of being dead or alive, I might add. “Faithfully” runs a close second and adds another traditional power ballad touch, the wordless vocal restatement of the main melody in place of an actual verse.

And of course, everyone’s heard – or, more likely, seen the then-omnipresent video to – “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)”. That opening keyboard riff is about as ’80s as you can get. Play just that part of that song to someone over the age of 20, and chances are it’ll take ’em back to some kind of a memory of where and who they were at the time. This, too, is a decent song, but for my money, not as good as the hard rock anthem that 3 out of 4is “Chain Reaction”. Something about that song makes me want to get up and march, not dance.

Journey’s Frontiers wasn’t the band’s best album, but it was probably the most popular – and in those days, that consigned a group to repeating the formula ad nauseum. Just as it did here. Recommended, but not their best – stick around, and I’ll discuss Escape at a later date.

Order this CD

  1. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) (5:28)
  2. Send Her My Love (3:57)
  3. Chain Reaction (4:24)
  4. After The Fall (5:02)
  5. Faithfully (4:28)
  6. Edge Of The Blade (4:34)
  7. Troubled Child (4:31)
  8. Back Talk (3:20)
  9. Frontiers (4:12)
  10. Rubicon (4:18)

Released by: CBS
Release date: 1983
Total running time: 44:14