Journey seem to have the same sort of energy that really marked them as purveyors of rock in the early eighties. The opening track to the disc, “Faith in the Heartland” ties together some of the soaring guitars of early U2 and even throw a little Who into the mix.
There is no lack of energy on “Generations”, and the only thing that seems to have changed about Journey in the last twenty years is the fuller sound that the digital age has given the band. “A Better Life” is one of those tracks that taps the later, more ballad-heavy Journey over the harder-rocking earlier Journey; the track while being well done does not have enough in the way of differentiation to keep individuals interested over the near-six minute mark. “Every Generation” is the closest thing that Journey has to a theme track or the album; the band succeeds here with an equal mixture of hard rock and a slower, ballad-esque sound fighting for dominance. What hamstings Journey during most of “Generations” is the fact that the band allows themselves to struggle along with tracks well after the point that the band should have abandoned ship. This means that the average track on “Generations” is about five-six minutes, well above the three-three and a half minute mark that would have make these tracks unqualified successes. For those individuals wanting value, “Generations” runs for about seventy minutes; even if one cuts the tracks to the level in which they could support themselves that leaves a fifty-five minute album.
Journey comes back to the saddle for “Believe”, a track that is perhaps the most innovative on the disc and largely is so due to the fact that the track takes equal parts from the sixties, seventies and eighties. There is no lack of talent exhibited by Journey through the entirety of the disc, but this tendency to not cut off tracks after they’ve ran out of steam is an insurmountable challenge that only the most devout fans of Journey can conquer. There are tracks on the album that could be on adult contemporary radio, but the excess material almost screams for a radio edit; if the band had a more critical ear, there is no doubt that “Generations” would be what the band needs to really get another generation of fans at their shows. Pick this album up if you are a fan, but stick to the early stuff if you are a casual listener.
Top Tracks: Faith in the Heartland, Believe
Journey – Generations / 2006 Sanctuary / 13 Tracks / http://www.journeymusic.com / http://www.sanctuaryrecords.com / Reviewed 25 February 2006