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Journey - 1986 Raised On Radio

ARTIST: Journey
ALBUM: Raised On Radio
SERIAL: 39936
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 1986, CBS, CK--39936 * 1996, Sony, 486664 2


LINEUP: Steve Perry - vocals * Neal Schon - guitars, vocals * Jonathan Cain - keyboards, guitars, vocals * Randy Jackson - bass, vocals * Mike Baird - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Girl Can't Help It * 02 Positive Touch * 03 Suzanne * 04 Be Good To Yourself * 05 Once You Love Somebody * 06 Happy To Give * 07 Raised On Radio * 08 I'll Be Alright Without You * 09 It Could Have Been You * 10 The Eyes Of A Woman * 11 Why Can't This Night Go On Forever


By the time Journey got around to following 1983's 'Frontiers' album, there'd been three years of friction, drama and frustration. Discontent over Steve Perry's solo success, Perry's mother being seriously ill, and the departure of Steve Smith and Ross Valory all combined to make for turbulent atmosphere in the Journey camp. There were also rumours of a rift developing between Schon and Perry over the direction Journey were taking, with Cain trying to play peacemaker (as he did in The Babys between John Waite and the rest of the band). In the end Perry got his way and Journey drifted into a more soul/pop tinged AOR direction, under his direction and production. In the 80's a gap of three years between albums was a long time to be away, and it showed when 'Raised On Radio' reached nowhere near the multi-platinum heights of 'Escape' and 'Frontiers'. Having said all this, there's still plenty to enjoy .

The Songs
'Girl Can't Help It' was not quite the dynamic album opener you'd expect, but there's enough midtempo grace and trademark Journey melody in the chorus, resulting in a top 20 hit. 'Positive Touch' is far more urgent and convincing, combining a 70's soul feeling with the mid 80's sound. The saxophone parts are set against Perry's soaring vocals in the closing section, something pretty special really. 'Suzanne' joins in the mid-tempo parade with considerable style, again getting the best out of Perry's soulful delivery. The Schon solo's fluid intensity is not to be missed. 'Be Good To Yourself' is more like 'Frontiers' era Journey - uptempo and urgent, the hooks are crisp and decisive, the chorus rivalling any AOR anthem before or since. 'Once You Love Somebody' returns to the soul flavoured AOR found on much of this record, an enjoyable enough semi-ballad but hardly one of the highlights. 'Happy To Give' is similar but more rewarding and heartfelt, apparently Steve Perry became quite obsessed with this one, re-recording it several times.

The title track ties the whole album together, following a lyrical route through a myriad of rock 'n roll classics, borrowing famous lines and song titles in an affectionate tribute to the music of rock's bygone decades and the great radio stations who championed such music. It's all pretty stirring and the chorus just steamrollers you with a wall of vocals in harmony. 'I'll Be Alright Without You' provides soothing relief by comparison, working it's magic at a more sedate mid-tempo. It's easy to hear why this is one of the more celebrated choruses in AOR - melodies and harmonies to embellish any coffee drinking experience. 'It Could Have Been You' is fairly nondescript, not shining in any particular department, not quite filler but close - But ... 'The Eyes Of A Woman' is a different matter, this time showcasing just why Perry is the most loved AOR vocalist: nobody can soar up there in quite the same way or with quite the same intensity and passion in delivery. 'Why Can't This Night Go On Forever' was the last Journey song for 10 years, and most thought it would be the last ever. A smouldering, soulful ballad with all the yearning lyrical bits and the right chord changes to match! Perry's vocals and Schon's guitar both get to stretch out and soar, a fitting end to Journey's 80's era.

In Summary
'Raised On Radio' is a fine record in retrospect, but it was severely hurt by the long delay before it's release. Their being reluctant to film promotional MTV videos for the singles didn't help either, but it still went platinum (over 1 million). 'Raised On Radio' might not win any polls for favourite Journey album, but it has a lot to offer for those of us who love AOR.

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#1 | sabace on March 24 2008 19:35:12
brilliant lp!
#2 | DIGITAL on October 19 2008 20:38:27
always liked the girl can't help it class album overall
#3 | Eric on December 26 2008 21:12:32
Just can't help but think this was a Steve Perry record in disguise. Wipe away Journey and take it for what it is- this is a fun solo Perry album.
#4 | KelvHellrazer on February 25 2010 20:53:02
'I'll Be Alright Without You' blew me away when i saw it on MTV cica 86/87, had the lp in Shades but i never bothered with it, one of my fave records of all time now
#5 | trillion1999 on October 19 2011 21:18:09
The best Steve Perry solo album of those I heard IMHO.I love Be Good To Yourself especially the Cain-contribution in the chorus.Also love Happy To Give and In The Eyes Of A Woman.I like pretty much most of it.
#6 | super80boy on May 12 2013 23:08:25
Still a rewarding listen even know they were on the down slope. I like the lead off 'Girl Can't Take It'. The big production job is intact, which gives it life as well.
#7 | Dance Nation on April 03 2014 15:45:05
It was, always has been, still is and I think probably always will be my favourite AOR album of all time - and I was a huge Journey fan in the 80's and love 'Escape' and 'Frontiers'. Amazing. 'Girl Can't Help It' and 'I'll Be Alright Without You' still blow me away.
#8 | roadrunner158 on May 08 2014 09:53:57
Song-wise, there are a couple of fillers (Once You Love Somebody, Happy To Give and The Eyes Of A Woman) and a couple of so-so songs (Positive Touch, Suzanne). Why Can't This Night Go On Forever, however, is one of Journey's best ballads.Sound-wise, I've never been fond of the drum sound. In conclusion, this is for me not one of the highlights in Journey's catalogue, but still a more than decent effort.
#9 | gdazegod on May 08 2014 12:33:02
This would be higher up in the catalogue than say.. "Arrival', 'Eclipse', 'Generations', or possibly even 'Evolution', in my books.
#10 | roadrunner158 on May 08 2014 15:45:12
I just checked my iPod to see how many songs of the CDs you mentioned made it to my Journey playlist (which for me is a good measure of how highly I rate a CD). Let's see:
ROR: 6 songs (out of 11)
Arrival: 8 songs (out of 15)
Eclipse: 4 songs (out of 12)
Generations: 0 songs (not for me, thanks...)
Evolution: 6 songs (out of 11)

So for me, based on this method, ROR is behind Arrival, on par with Evolution and higher up than Eclipse (and of course Generations). But I guess every Journey fan has his/her own favourites...
#11 | jeffrey343 on May 08 2014 18:31:16
This is definitely a smooth-sounding album. I have to admit I didn't have it on heavy rotation back in '86, but the radio songs were inescapable. I disagree with roadrunner158 in that I really enjoy "Once You Love Somebody" and "Eyes Of A Woman". To me, it doesn't have quite the high points of several Journey albums (although there are some really good songs). But it also doesn't have the low points. Journey was always hit-or-miss for me anyway, but the hits were home runs. This is the one I'm most likely to play straight through when I need something on the softer side of rock.

I remember the video for "I'll Be Alright Without You". It was concert footage. It sure looked odd with Randy Jackson dancing around the stage with his polka-dotted bass and tight leather pants. When he started with "American Idol", I clearly remembered him from that video.

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