The more I fell in love with my favorite musical Rock of Ages, the more I got into Journey. Not only due to the final track of the show, Don’t stop believin’, which I also featured as a Song of my Life already. Thus, having an album release by the US rock band was truly special to me. Here is my review of Freedom, which has been released on 8th July 2022.
Journey – About The Artists
The history of Journey has been an amazing success. They claim to have sold 80 million units since they have been founded in 1973 in San Francisco, USA. Even though the most successful time of the band was in the early 1980’s, when they released songs like Don’t stop believin’ and Open Arms, they today still sell out major venues in North America. The most prominent band member is likely Steve Perry, who was the lead singer of journey from 1977 until 1998 and thus part of the band in their most impressive time. Today, Neal Schon (guitars) is the only founding member of Journey still active. Keyboard player Jonathan Cain joined the band in 1980. The other members are Deen Castronovo (drums, percussion), Arnel Pineda (vocals), Jason Derlatka (keyboard) and Todd Jensen (bass).
Don’t stop believin’ has an amazing history and regularly makes it to the Top 100 charts of major market. For example, the song did so in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2021 in Sweden and this year in Australia and South Africa. The latest Journey single release, which made it to the all-genre charts of a music market (Canada, Japan) was When you Love a Woman in 1996. Freedom is the fifteenth Journey album. The 2011 predecessor Eclipse was a Top 20 release in the USA, Japan and Germany.
Journey – Freedom – Track by Track
The fifteen song album lasts 73 minutes.
1. Together We Run
Honestly, if you would have asked me who is the current lead singer of Journey, I would not have been able to reply. The more, I was curious about the first notes, the first chorus of the first Journey album since eleven years.
We’ll make some dreams come true
You know how I believe in you
Leave doubt and fear behind
A place to start again
Okay, they got me. It’s not Steve Perry and it’s not another Don’t stop believin’ or Open Arms, but it’s a fun listen, classic rock with a touch of bombast… It’s power, it’s Journey… And it 14 tracks, 68 minutes left. Look forward to the next steps.
2. Don’t Give Up On Us
The first seconds of this song work with synth sounds, but then Neal Schon feels to remind what this band made famous for almost 50 years now. Again, you don’t dare to Don’t Give Up On Us. I am in the reviewer’s comfort zone already.
3. Still Believe In Love
Still Believe In Love is the first ballad on the album. A lot of keyboard and synth sounds. Yeah, there is a bit of kitsch in here, but it reminds me a bit of the beautiful Open Arms. A lot of echo and plush, but presented with an amazing atmosphere. Thumbs up.
4. You Got The Best Of Me
You Got The Best Of Me was my leading track of the 29th April 2022 edition of Songs of the Week. Since that moment, I am looking forward to listen to Freedom. I am even thankful for the couple of hours before the European in-fact release. Do you expect me to write something negative about this track? I am sorry, I won’t. A 5:33 minutes luxury feast for classic rock fans.
5. Live To Love Again
Live To Love Again is another one for classic power ballad lovers. Arnel Pineda does a lovely job in here, especially in the first part of the song, where it’s more or less just Journey’s lead vocalist and piano sounds.
Turn and live to love again
Never let it leave you lonely
It’s not the way your story ends
Once you’re ready
Your heart will tell you when
A chance to learn from where you’ve been
Turn and live to love again
6. The Way We Used To Be
This song was the original first teaser for Freedom. Journey released the track in late June 2021 already. Beautiful electronic guitar riffs and melodic lines. I feel the song could even have a bit more power, but I absolutely the almost orchestral arrangement of this track.
7. Come Away With Me
You want to rock? You really want to rock? Then, this track might be on top of your list of Freedom favorites. Surprising how closely the guys reach out to hard rock. Definitely a fun listen.
8. After Glow
Falling into you
Like a sweet summer rain
Somehow, we knew
Together, make moments
For this track, Deen Castronovo is taking over the vocal duties – and this variation of the typical setup works very well with the atmosphere of the song. Cool listen with great guitar presence.
9. Let It Rain
Journey aims for the groove. With Let It Rain, Journey touch blues rock. Very laid back sound with an interesting combination of electronic sounds and powerful guitar riffs.
10. Holdin On
Yeah, I have to give in: when I listened to the first verse of Holdin On, I felt it is a comparably weak track. The chorus is definitely able to please me much more and makes me smile a bit more. Very atmospheric track, which is at least adding a very different style of Journey 2022 to the album.
11. All Day And All Night
Having clear references to blues rock All Day And All Night would be the perfect follower for Let It Rain. However, this eleventh track is straighter with more rock spirit. Cool!
12. Don’t Go
Don’t Go is faster, even a bit of pop-ish here and there. Nice party track. Might be a good choice at future Journey shows in case the crowds got a bit too emotional after one of the new ballads.
13. United We Stand
United we stand
Divided we fall
Love conquers all
Even when darkness comes to call
United we stand
Divided we fall
Just hold onto me girl now
And together we can face it all
This musical appetizer to the album comes with some nice keyboard melodies and a clear message. I still feel that the song is “hiding” itself a bit compared to other releases
14. Life Rolls On
The second last song of the album starts a bit slowly, but then is aiming for more rock power. I especially love this one for its melodic and instrumental strength.
15. Beautiful As You Are
With everything about you
Through the years I know
Stay beautiful as you are
Always, beautiful as you are
Ooooh, oooh, oooh to me
Always beautiful as you are
How would you say farewell to your fans and close the first album since more than a decade? Journey go for the epic way. The song starts very slow – you are even tempted to feel if you will stand this tempo for the whole playtime of 7:10 minutes. But the band is going for an epic composition, which is very versatile and has power rock parts as well as beautiful instrumental variation. A nice statement of musical quality still existing, indeed.
Journey – Freedom – Spotify
Here is Freedom on Spotify:
Journey – Freedom – My View
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a real blast. At least, I have been optimistic that the album will have some nice tracks, especially after the single releases. But after listening to a few songs, I started to check out their North American tour dates to validate if any of those will fit my future travel plans. Journey finally gives a great product with 15 really good songs to their fans. 73 minutes of the US rock legends is a treat with a lot of amazing listens (and some others, which are at least good). I absolutely recommend this album!
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