Thursday, April 10, 2014

Steve Perry - Street Talk

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Street Talk, the solo debut album from Journey front man Steve Perry. It spent sixty weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 12. It also went to number 59 in the UK.

Side one starts with "Oh Sherrie". As the first single, it went to number 89 in the UK, number 33 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. I'll admit it - I sing along with this one when it comes on my car radio. It instantly takes me back to 1984 and a time when such a dramatic kind of love song really spoke to the college student in me. The big and bold percussion is a factor in that too.

"I Believe" reached number 43 on the US Mainstream Rock chart, a situation I suspect came out of the rock-block concept that the album-oriented stations played a good bit of back in the day. It was easier for the disc jockeys who were still working with vinyl to just play back to back tracks from the same side. With the prominent piano, it sounds closer to Billy Joel than to Journey.

The mid-tempo "Go Away", a song about moving on, saunters in next.

"Foolish Heart", the fourth single, reached number 18 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 2 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. This was a big slow dance favorite back in the day; it was part of the end of the night set at many parties and bars I went to in 1984.

The percussion on "It's Only Love" reminds me a little bit of Jamaican steel drums.

Side two begins with "She's Mine", a declarative "hands off" statement. As the second single, it hit number 21 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 15 on the US Mainstream Rock chart.

"You Should Be Happy" picks up the pace a bit. The one thing that is a little off on this one, for me, is the part of the chorus when the backing singers add "happy". It does get a little better as the song continues - in part because of the added instruments, but the first ones are disjointing.

The ballad "Running Alone" seems like a good analogy for Perry's move to a solo career. I think the song would have been cleaner without the children’s' laughter in the background near the end.

Perry almost sounds like a totally different singer on the first verse of "Captured by the Moment". It isn't until that first chorus that his signature vocal inflections shine through.

The closing track was also released as the third single. "Strung Out" went to number 40 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 17 on the US Mainstream Rock chart.

I have almost half of Street Talk (all of the singles) already in my music library. Now that I have heard the rest of the album, I think a couple more might get purchased as well. I have always found that Steve Perry's vocal style worked for me.

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