Saturday, June 29, 2013
Journey - Infinity
Earlier this year (January 20th), Journey celebrated the thirty-fifth anniversary of Infinity, their fourth studio album and the first with Steve Perry as lead singer. This 1978 release charted at number 37 in Sweden, number 24 in Canada and number 21 on the US Billboard Hot 200. It was also the first album by the band to go multi-Platinum here in the US.
Side one opens with “Lights”, the third single from the album; it charted at number 68 on the US Billboard Hot 100. This ballad, which pays tribute to the band’s home of San Francisco, opens with a gentle guitar solo from Neal Schon. This is one of those classic rock songs that played a lot on the album-oriented stations when I was a teen, one that everyone enjoyed singing along to whenever it came on. I know I would try to harmonize with the band, especially on the chorus.
On “Feeling That Way”, keyboardist and former lead singer Gregg Rolie assists Perry by singing the first verse. As the second single, it stalled at number 83 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Rolie also assists on the lead vocals for “Anytime”, the B-side to the second single. That acapella opening pulls the listener right in. The first three songs on this album made for a strong rock-block on the AOR station I listened to from Buffalo; it was easy for the disc jockeys in those non-digital days to put on the first side of the album and let the three play together.
“La Do Da” opens with a heavier rock opening, harkening back to the band’s roots. Aynsley Dunbar’s drumming really thunders, and I like Rolie’s rollicking piano playing too. This album would be the last for Dunbar with the band.
“Patiently” tells of the sadness a performer on the road feels when being away from his home and family for so long. However, the adoration of the fans helps to fill that emptiness a bit. I like how the song changes up the rhythms from a softer ballad at the start to a bold rocker at the end.
Side two rolls in with “Wheel in the Sky”. As the first single, it peaked at number 57 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 45 in Canada. The guitars from Schon and bassist Ross Valory play well off one another on this rocker about moving forward and keeping an eye on the finish line. It is one of those songs that insist that you turn up the volume when it comes on. I know when I do I am swept away by it completely.
“Somethin’ to Hide” takes things down a bit to a mellower mid-tempo as a man suspects that his lady is keeping secrets.
Schon breaks out the acoustic guitar for “Winds of March”; it works very well with Rolie’s piano for a lovely musical foundation. Midway, the tempo shifts for a heavier rocking jam. Rolie switches over to the organ for that while Schon scorches on the electric guitar.
The B-side to the first single was “Can Do”. I remember this rocker was one of those deep tracks that also got a lot of airplay on the mainstream rock station. The chorus is catchy and the band really let’s loose on the whole song.
The closing track “Opened the Door” was also the B-side to the third single.
Infinity really helped launch Journey into a larger fan following. Looking at the chart history on the singles, I am rather surprised at the numbers. Because I heard a lot of the album during the final years of the 70’s and the early 80’s, I assumed that the hits did much better than the actually had.
I never owned a copy on vinyl (my older brother did though). In 2011, I added it to my digital music library so that I could re-visit it over and over again.
For more Journey album reviews, please check out the following links:
- For 1980’s Departure, click here.
- For 1981’s Escape, click here.
- For 1982’s Frontiers, click here.