(NOTE: Music That Sucks is the correct opinion of the author. If your own opinion differs, what's up wit' that?)
Arena Rock, Mullet Rock, Corporate Rock. This sub-genre of rock music is sometimes called "Arena Rock" by fans due to the fact that the top groups typically played pack stadiums, "Mullet Rock" refers to the hairstyle all of them had and is used by fans and dissenters alike, while the term "Corporate Rock" is a derogatory term that refers to the cookie-cutter sound and style of music that made each band pretty much interchangable to the untrained ear.
Corporate Rock, while basically snubbed by critics, at one time dominated the airwaves and today has a small but loyal fanbase, especially in the southeast. Needless to say I hate Corporate Rock with a deep passion, and rest assured there will be plenty of Corporate Rockers inducted into MTS. With the eighth installment I present to you a band that is perhaps the most popular and most annoying of them all: Journey.
Journey was born out of the band Santana, and put together by ex-Santana manager Herbie Herbert in 1973 as The Golden Gate Rhythm Section. Originally the group featured ex-Santana players Neil Schon on guitar and Greg Rollie on vocals/keyboards, along with George Tickner as the rhythm guitarist, Ross Valory on bass and Aynsley Dunbar on drums. They were then renamed Journey in a radio contest and ended up releasing three albums under the new name, consisting mostly of overblown, jazzy instrumentals. This prompted Herbert to change the focus of the group to more of a pop rock sound, and change the face of rock music forever, and not for the better.
Tickner was quickly booted, and Dunbar was replaced by Steve Smith, Herbert added vocalist Steve Perry in 1977. Perry, with his quiefishly high voice was apparently just the ticket to propel Journey into the big time. In 1978 the new look Journey released Infinity, featuring the ear-drum shatteringly painful single "Wheel In The Sky" (#57), and the vaginally soft balled "Lights" (#68). The album climbed to #21 on the Billboard charts. I know what you're thinking "Hey Jim, neither of those two singles made the Top 40, I thought...", well it gets worse.
1979's Evolution came next, peaking at #20. This album featured their first top 20 hit, "Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin" (#16). How I feel for those who were around at the time that actually had a good musical ear, being constantly subjected to this pure s**t. By 1980, still without a #1 single or album, the group decided to release a compilation album In The Beginning, which tanked. Their next studio album Departure (1980) was another hit however, peaking at #8 on the strength of the hit single "Any Way You Want It" (#23). Yet another wretched single displaying Perry's clitorally enhanced vocals, "Any Way You Want It" sounds like the other Journey singles. Big f**kin' surprise.
Following the release of the live double-album Captured (1981, #9) Greg Rollie, apparently tired of the Springtime Fresh smell of the dressing rooms, quit the band, only to be replaced by Jonathan Cain. It was also in 1981 that Journey would put out their most successful (and suckiest) album, Escape, which is their only #1 album.
The first single off the album "Who's Crying Now", becomes Journey's first top ten hit, reaching as high as #4. I'm crying now, and every time I hear that f**king song. "Don't Stop Believin'" a manure infested song that sounds like everything else Journey has done (that's a shock) reached #9, while their next single "Open Arms" made it to #2, edged by J. Geils Band and Joan Jett for the top spot. Yes kids, 1981/1982 was a horrible period in rock history.
In 1983 Journey was featured in an arcade game based on the Escape album. You read that right, they actually made an arcade game based on a f**king Journey album! The game is basically a rip-off of such classics as Galaga, Galaxian, and Donkey Kong, featuring each band member in solo missions, and manager Herbie Herbert in a bonus mission. It was the first arcade game to feature a rock band, and the first to use digitized graphics in the form of b&w photos of each members' head. The game is readily available to play on the MAME arcade emulator. Having played the game I can tell you it sucks almost as bad as their music. An interesting tid-bit, the game was orginally not supposed to include Journey, but have a digital camera that would take a picture of the player and impose their head on the digitized body. After some people decided to use their private parts as character heads during testing the idea was 86ed.
The follow-up to Escape, 1983's Frontiers peaks at #2 on the charts. Some dude named Micheal Jackson and some album by the name of Thriller prevent the album from reaching #1. Oh sure, it's these other sucky bands' fault that this s**t didn't reach the top spot. Journey fans are whiny little bitches. The singles "Seperate Ways (World's Apart)" (#8), and "Faithfully" (#12) are more of the same bland bitch-hits Journey continues to unleash.
Taking some time off in 1984, Steve Perry releases a solo album titled Street Talk, and proving that he is the reason Journey is popular (why I'll never know) Street Talk ends up going platinum and produces the #3 hit "Oh Sherrie". By this time Perry had become the leader of the group and fired Valory and Smith. 1986's Raised On Radio was considered a failure despite selling two million copies, and by the following year Journey called it quits, and sanity finally won out. A 1988 hits collection sold a staggaring 8 million copies featuring a bunch of songs that sound alike.
Unfortunately the group reformed in 1995, and in 1996 released the putrid Trial By Fire. This time around however they were a niche group, getting play on mostly Adult/Contemporary radio stations. The album entered the charts at #3 and plummeted shortly thereafter. It didn't take long before Perry and Smith leave the band to be replaced by a generic drummer and a Perry sound-alike. You can currently catch them at a County Fair near you.
Journey, music...that sucks!
(Shout-outs to: rollingstone.com, journey-tribute.com for the particulars; as well as klov.com for the particulars of the arcade game.)