|First posted 7/31/2008; updated 9/20/2020.|
Released: July 31, 1981
Peak: 11 US, 32 UK, 6 CN, -- AU
Sales (in millions): 9.0 US, -- UK, 12.1 world (includes US and UK)
Genre: classic rock
Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
Total Running Time: 42:46
4.112 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)
Quotable: Journey’s “definitive statement” – Classic Rock Magazine
About the Album:
“Escape was a groundbreaking album for San Francisco’s Journey,” MD flinging the band “steadfastly into the AOR arena” MD and making “them stadium-filling superstars.” CR The album is marked by songs that “are more rock-flavored, with more hooks and a harder cadence compared to their former sound.” MD
Part of the new sound could be attributed to Jonathan Cain, who came on board as the keyboardist after the departure of founding member Gregg Rolie. He co-wrote every song on the album and his “blatant keyboards” MD combined with “Neal Schon’s grand yet palatable guitar playing” MD and “the passionate, wide-ranged vocals of Steve Perry, who is the true lifeblood of this album, and this band.” MD The “heartfelt songwriting and sturdy musicianship” MD has “a way of rekindling the innocence of youthful romance and the rebelliousness of growing up.” MD
The year of its release could be marked as the pinnacle of arena rock. REO Speedwagon, Styx, Foreigner, and Journey had all been around since at least the mid-‘70s and amassed huge followings, but peaked that year with the only #1 albums of their careers.
All four groups were savaged by critics. Their power ballads were mocked and their proclivity toward radio-friendly rock wasn’t taken seriously. Journey may have had the last laugh, though. More than two decades after Don’t Stop Believin’ first hit the charts, it had a surprising resurgence when it was used in the finale of television’s The Sopranos. Then it also served as the springboard for Glee, giving that television franchise a #4 hit. The song, an evocative tale of “‘streetlight people, living just to find emotion’, became an American classic.” CR “The whisper of Perry’s ardor is crept up to with Schon’s searing electric guitar work, making for a perfect rock song.” MD Thanks to its revival, it has sold five million copies and become the biggest hit in Journey’s catalog.
However, it was only one of three top-ten, million-selling singles from Escape. The lead single from the album, Who's Crying Now, “spotlights the sweeping fervor of Perry’s voice, whose theme about the ups and downs of a relationship was plentiful in Journey’s repertoire.” MD
“One of rock’s most beautiful ballads, Open Arms, gleams with an honesty and feel only Steve Perry could muster.” MD The song, “rejected by [Cain’s] previous band The Babys – was a monster hit” CR and the quintessential power ballad. It was as close as Journey got to a #1 song on the pop charts – it spent six weeks at #2 on the Billboard charts.
“There is a certain electricity that circulates through the rest of the album.” MD While the album is best known for those singles, the album also boasted a fourth single, the top 20 hit Still They Ride, and album-rock favorite Stone in Love. “The songs are timeless, and as a whole, they have a way of rekindling the innocence of youthful romance and the rebelliousness of growing up, built from heartfelt songwriting and sturdy musicianship.” MD “Escape became Journey’s “definitive statement” CR – its biggest-selling studio album and “one of their most popular and best-reviewed works to date.” JM
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