After twenty years away from us, the music world, Steve Perry, former lead singer with Journey, found his muse and recorded the comeback album of all comeback albums – Traces. It is unfortunate and sad that it took the death of his beloved Kellie for this to happen.
My heart goes out to the man, and I sincerely hope he has found peace.
I don't think anything else needs to be said. Here's the album.
Opening track 'No Erasin' is the best track on the album, one of the top tracks of 2018 and is, simply put, superb. Straight away, you are left in no doubt that his voice is still in fine form. Shades of the past flood back, and the emotion in the singing is right there.
" No runnin' anymore / My soul's burnin' / Just like it was before / No erasin' / Our love just won't let go" He is writing these songs from the heart. This is fantastic. I can imagine this in an auditorium of 25,000 fans singing along. Wow.
Then we slow down a touch to 'We're Still Here', another song where the lyrics mean so much. His voice has that raw emotional power so lacking in too many modern singers. No autotune, no digital effects, just a man singing. This song is another great one.
" Like so many tears in the rain / Will they remember your name / Young hearts reach fearlessly / In the night"
'Most Of All' is next, slowing down even more into ballad territory. Good song, but it does sound mired too much in the 80s sound with "ooh"ing choral singers.
'No More Cryin'' has a more bluesy feel to it, maybe even tinged with soul. Lyrics of hope and they sent a chill through me the first time I heard them. Nice.
'In The Rain' is a sad ballad, no drums, just piano and strings. Wow. And proper strings, not computer generated string sounds. Beautiful…
Then we go up-tempo again with 'Sun Shines Gray'. Decent little rocker.
'You Belong To Me' is another slower song. The lyrics are good, but the didn't quite grab me.
We follow this with 'Easy To Love', another soulful track. Good track, but really, just a track. Certainly listenable, though.
Now we have the only cover on the album – a version of The Beatles' 'I Need You'. This is what a good cover song does – it takes the original and re-interprets it, re-imagines it. Steve slows it down to a passioned cry. And it works.
The album closes with 'We Fly', probably the most personal song on the album. Sad and yet filled with hope and joy. A slow song again, but it is just so beautiful, and is probably the second best track on the album.
Steve Perry in the studio (credit: Emma Holley) from steveperry.com
This is not a balls-to-the-wall rock-filled album. It is an emotional album, a passionate album, an album that comes from the heart, and the listener is invited in and allowed a glimpse into another human being's mind. I think it lacks maybe one or two more rockier tunes to round the album out, but that would be my only criticism of what is a fine piece of work.
However, the most striking thing about this album, apart from Steve's distinctive voice, is the lyrics. I like songs that mean something, and this album is full of them. He wrote from the heart, he put his whole into these songs, and they are all the better for that. This is not writing by committee (as seen in too many of today's 'hits'); this is writing by emotion, real emotion, genuine emotion.
I stand by my decision that Amy Shark had the album of the year. This is right up there, though, a beautiful record of passion. Buy it. I believe you will not be disappointed.
Now, I was debating whether to include the following video, from Steve Perry's past, but have decided I will. I was going to include Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin'', but in the end I'll stick with this one.