Through some sequence of turns of fates and karmic imbalance, I somehow managed to collect records for a decade before snagging anything from the Kings of 80s Arena Rock.
And it’s not until right now that I realize what a mistake that’s been.
I’m not sure which of my many internal voices is responsible for this. Whether it’s the music snob hipster loathing their radio overplay, the metalhead who despises the way they wussied up the metal aesthetic, the punk kid who turns his nose up at pop sensibility, or the part of me that really hates Glee.
But the part of me I cannot deny is the fifteen year old screaming along with Journey on classic rock radio as he’s finally learning that there’s more good music in the world than pop punk and rapcore.
So I’ve gotten over myself. And good thing too, because even though this record is best known for the group’s first big single (which was just a warm up for “Don’t Stop Believing,” let’s be honest. It even has the same chords), this record is almost all gems.
The forgotten treasure is undisputedly “I’m Cryin’,” a heavy, minor key rocker which features Steve Perry stretching his voice to the very ends of its limits, and the most fretboard-burning guitar solo Neal Schon ever put to tape. Schon’s other winning contribution is the short, ambient jazz segue, “Departure.”
All in all, Departure is a much stronger record than I expected. With a lead single like “Anyway You Want It,” you don’t exactly need to put much effort into the rest of the songs to move units. But they refuse to take the easy way out, and my collection is richer for it.