Thursday, August 3, 2006

Infinity, Evolution, Departure, Escape, Greatest Hits

Posted on Thu, Aug 3, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Infinity, Evolution, Departure, Escape, Greatest Hits
Label: Columbia/Legacy
Length: LP
Media: CD
Format: Reissue
WorkNameSort: Infinity, Evolution, Departure, Escape, Greatest Hits
It's something of a task to gin up enough internal irony to try to position this Frontiers-less batch of reissues as anything more than an excuse to ease into a bath of pleasantly lukewarm AOR water and revel in all that was so horribly right about mainstream rock in the late '70s and early '80s. But when the wheel in the sky starts turning â?¦ well, that warm bathwater will be great to slit your wrists in. Why? Because after years of rock-radio overload, it's something of a doozy to admit to the quality of Journey's actual albums. Though Greatest Hits is still a 16-cut dose of El Camino perfection, the singalong nausea of that back-to-back bludgeoning is, really, just too much. Revisiting a disc like 1978's Infinity ' a vaguely gritty, slightly spacey blend of epic mullet-tude and glassy-eyed 'rockâ?� ' means letting lost FM hits like 'Anytimeâ?� creep up on you among various freakouts that actually sound inspired. Slotted back into its original LP position, even 'Wheel in the Skyâ?� sounds less predictable. By the time you get to 1981's Escape, you've got an album evenly divided between monster hits and songs you fast-forwarded through on your Walkman, and then you slip out of your reverie, remembering why you hated all this corporate rock in the first place. (Still, don't sleep on 'Keep on Runnin'.â?�) These reissues offer little new in the way of bonus material, and the remastering is barely different from the job they did back in '96, meaning there's no reason for anyone but the creepiest Journey fan to rebuy 'em; but if Greatest Hits is the beginning and end of your knowledge of this band, draw a bath and listen to how perfect 'Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'â?� sounds when stuck in the middle of the first side of 1979's Evolution. And then call 911.



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