The nucleus of Journey is now Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon. The departure of Ross Valory and Steve Smith comes as little surprise. After years of success as one of corporate rock's "faceless" bands, Journey has over the course of their past two albums developed an image that every rock and roller can get a grip on. That image largely ignored Valory and Smith. Add to that Steve Perry's immensely successful solo album and Neal Schon's solo projects, and the path is paved for either a demolition or a rebuilding. The result of Journey's reconstruction is the Steve Perry produced Raised On Radio.
With Perry producing, it would be easy to assume that Raised On Radio might be Steve Perry II. Raised On Radio is a full-fledged Journey record for better or for worse.
Of course, it was difficult for Perry to not leave his mark on this record and his prints are scattered throughout the ballad-laden second side. Side one opens with "Girl Can't Help It" which sounds like it might have come from either Frontiers or Escape. Side two starts with the title track, "Raised On Radio". The lyrics are missing from the liner notes because what the band has done here is to take the titles from many of the important radio hits of the last 20 years and string them together into a song. Clever.
Unfortunately, it's not easy to differentiate one line from another amongst Perry's yelps. "I'll Be Alright Without You" eases the record into the kind of dunky ballad that Perry had so much success with on his solo outing. "It Could Have Been You" is much the same with an interesting twist, a funky-metal guitar deftly played by Neal Schon.
Does it work? As I write this, Raised On Radio sits firmly entrenched in the top five. I guess so.
© Song Hits, October 1986, Charlton Publications Inc.
Song Hits, October 1986