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Journey - Freedom


by Kevin Wierzbicki

It's been more than a decade since Journey released a new studio album but they've really done right by their fans here with the 15-track Freedom, appropriately enough dropping during Independence Day week. And boy is it chock full of fireworks! The core of Journey remains guitarist and founding member Neal Schon, keys man Jonathan Cain and vocalist Arnel Pineda, and for Freedom the band is rounded out by bassist Randy Jackson, drummers Deen Castronovo and producer Narada Michael Walden, and additional keys from Jason Derlatka. Cain's piano opens lead track "Together We Run," a cut that's destined to be one of the enduring anthems in Journey's repertoire. The song is about a relationship between individuals but the sentiment could easily be applied to the lasting relationship between Journey and their fans. Listeners might initially think they're hearing a remake of "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" when "Don't Give Up on Us" starts playing; the band intentionally paid homage to the oldie and while the entire album has many recognizable Journey hallmarks, "Don't Give Up on Us" is the only cut that borrows heavily from the past. "Still Believe in Love" is a sublime and jazzy cut that reminds of the band's very early fusion days while "Live to Love Again" is drenched in equal parts sadness and hopefulness, a song that if played in concert will precipitate the waving of cellphone flashlights in the air. Love and love lost or about to be lost is a favorite Journey theme and big arena rocker "The Way We Used to Be" looks at a relationship that isn't what it once was while Schon's guitar work propels the band on the hard rocking "Come Away with Me," a cut with a catchy chorus that nods to the classic blues rock of the early '70s. "Let it Rain" is in that vein too; the funky cut once again is a showcase for Schon as his riffing veers close to Hendrix territory. Speaking of funkiness, "All Day and All Night" moves to an earthy beat and includes Pineda's most soulful vocal turn here while still rocking like mad. "Don't Go" on the other hand is pure radio-ready Journey and closing cut, the seven minute "Beautiful as You Are" begins with Pineda crooning slowly and tenderly before the band kicks in and rocks the lengthy song to its conclusion, an apt farewell for now from this legendary band. Freedom drops on July 8, 2022. Order your copy below:


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