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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Journey - 1981 Escape
Journey - 1981 Escape

ARTIST: Journey
ALBUM: Escape
SERIAL: TC 37408
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1990, CBS, CK-37408


LINEUP: Steve Perry - vocals * Neal Schon - guitars, vocals * Jonathan Cain - keyboards, guitars, vocals * Ross Valory - bass, vocals * Steve Smith - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Don't Stop Believin' * 02 Stone In Love * 03 Who's Crying Now * 04 Keep On Runnin' * 05 Still They Ride * 06 Escape * 07 Lay It Down * 08 Dead Or Alive * 09 Mother Father * 10 Open Arms


'Escape'.. where does one start when reviewing an album like this on a site like this? 1981 saw the commencement of phase three for San Francisco's favourite melodic rockers. The first phase of course - was their Santana flavoured progressive rock which saw the band release three albums. Phase two saw the introduction of Steve Perry, and the release of four more albums between 1978 and 1980. Phase three (this phase) saw the departure of longtime keyboardist Gregg Rolie and the introduction of ex The Babys guitarist/keyboardist Jonathan Cain. Arguably, the 1981-1983 period was to see Journey reach full flight with this album, plus 1983's 'Frontiers'. No other melodic rock band bar Foreigner could touch the dizzying heights set by the band, as album sales and tour figures would show. Musically, 'Escape' was more about razor sharp and clean lines. Sinew and refinement rather than muscle and bulk.

The Songs
Within the genre of AOR, 'Escape' stands at the head of the table. I'm certain that all readers who have an appreciation of the genre and its musical history won't have too much disagreement. Looking at the track lineup, all of the songs (and I mean ALL) are classic songs in their own right. A complete album bar none. It's the sort of the album you can't play with one song in isolation. The whole thing needs to be played from start to finish. 'Don't Stop Believin'.. is still an anthem for blue collar America to this day. Whether it be on TV commercials or played at baseball games. Go figure! The band demonstrate their power and precision on tracks such as 'Stone In Love' and 'Lay It Down', but for me, the title track 'Escape' is the absolute winner. Some terrific phrasing, solos and bass-lines underpin what to me is the ultimate Journey song. Journey have perfected the art of the power-ballad. Perhaps it all started here on this album? Tunes such as 'Still They Ride' and 'Mother Father' epitomise this style. However, it was the efforts of the other ballad pairing of 'Who's Crying Now' and 'Open Arms' that shot the band into the stratosphere. Both of those songs shooting high into the Billboard charts. Undeniable that Jonathan Cain's input and collaboration with Steve Perry took the band to a new level.

In Summary
'Escape' spent countless weeks at the top end of the album charts. the two aforementioned singles played on radio the world over during the 1981 year. The touring schedule took them all over the North American continent and to Japan, but strangely, not to Europe or Britain, which was a sore point to many melodic rockers over there in Blighty. After a hectic schedule was completed, the band rested up in 1982, readying themselves for their next assault.. 1983's 'Frontiers'.

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#1 | Eric on June 05 2008 02:17:44
This is where Journey started to lose me. Been a fan since '76 and this was a 180 degree shift. A fantastic AOR album- no question, but in light of their past work I found it hard to work around. I missed Rolie and the progressive vibe he brought to the band, on the other hand Cain deserves all the credit in the world for bringing these guys floundering between the underground/ minor status to pop superstars with all that glisters into the light and platinum glitz.
#2 | gdazegod on June 05 2008 03:06:27
I prefer the edgier harder songs on this album, noticeably 'Escape', 'Lay It Down' and 'Mother Father'.
#3 | Jez on June 13 2008 03:29:21
Not alot more can be said about this one. Classic in every sense, and a benchmark release in the wonderful world we know as AOR. This has everything you could want contained in in an AOR album. Some of the best 42 minutes and 39 seconds you will ever spend.
#4 | DEMONAOR on July 03 2008 16:25:37
Another killer albumgunsguns
#5 | sabace on August 02 2008 14:18:18
I love this lp, but I still prefer the Greg Rolie version of the
#6 | JuniorNB on August 15 2008 17:24:56
Just an awesome album. When I heard that Jonathan Cain would be joining Journey, I knew they were about to take it up a notch. As a big fan of Cain's work with The Baby's, I knew he had keyboard and songwriting chops.

Journey is one of those bands that became so big that they suffered the inevitable backlash. These days, it seems 'uncool' to admit to liking Journey, but I was never one to play that game. I like what I like, and Journey's work from Evolution through Raised on Radio is like a soundtrack to my teenage and young-adult years.
#7 | george_the_jack on March 10 2009 10:05:00
This is a collection of brilliant songs showing how AOR music has to be played in every time and place...Soulful and inspired album capable of..touching not only the 80's lovers.score 10
#8 | jeffrey343 on November 24 2011 00:03:18
This, along with REO Speedwagon's 'Hi Infidelity', was my introduction to AOR back in 1981. A friend copied both albums onto a cassette. The first three songs are among the most epic in the genre to me, with 'Who's Crying Now' a fixture in my top ten. I gotta admit that 'Lay It Down', 'Dead Or Alive', and 'Mother Father' haven't ever done that much for me, but the other songs are also great.
#9 | gdazegod on November 24 2011 07:21:00
Lay it Down and Escape are monster tracks.
#10 | jeffrey343 on November 24 2011 20:27:03
Yeah, I should take 'Lay It Down' off that short list, as it is a good track. I think it's a case, like with many of those classic albums, where a lot of good songs are obscured by the big hits and more popular album cuts. The first side of the cassette / record got played more with this one, and I heard 'Open Arms' all the time on radio.
#11 | AOR Lee on May 06 2012 19:20:40
Probably one of the blueprint AOR albums and I love it, but Raised On Radio remains my favourite by Journey
#12 | tompa on January 17 2013 14:46:47
As a big fan of their jazz/rock/fusion-era I thought it would be very hard to like their new direction but by the the time they got to this one, I was completely won over. Great collection of songs. Although it has got nothing on Journey/Look Into The Future/Next.
#13 | super80boy on April 25 2014 15:59:17
I recently picked up a nice mint copy of this album on vinyl. It prompted me to take another long overdue listen front to back. I do like the inclusion of harder edged material found on Side Two, such as the title song. Escape is just a timeless AOR masterpiece.
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