Playlist is a blog series in which I talk about my favorite songs, and generally they end up on my many of my playlists. This series is part therapy, justifying some of my favorite songs of all time, as you will see shortly. The other part is the belief that music should be shared, and these songs should be! This makes me a self-important douche, but that’s okay, there are worse out there. But for now, on with the show.
Journey, they’re a band most noted among critics and in musical circles as sentimental 80’s pop music, often lacking in value, but nonetheless popular among the nostalgic and karaoke crowds. In the average American’s album collection, Journey’s Greatest Hits is a staple, comparable to having Turkey at thanksgiving or Thriller. As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t own a copy of Thriller, you’re dead inside. It’s the highest selling album in the U.S., according to the RIAA, right beside The Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits: 1971-1975. Both have sold 29 million copies. Journey’s Greatest Hits has sold approximately 15 million copies, making it their highest selling album of all time.
If you asked a fan to name some of Journey’s newer songs, you know, the post-80’s ones, could they do it? Journey “fans,” at least the majority that I’ve seen, take a bye when it comes to their modern music. Granted, they haven’t had a hit on their hands since 1996’s “When You Love a Woman,” the last song to feature Steve Perry. The common argument then becomes, “the band died with Steve Perry,” but in reality, the band died in the 80’s, with the song “I’ll Be Alright Without You.” Since that time, they have released five studio albums and a live one. None has garnered the much attention, but in 2007 the band made waves when they finally found a singer to rival Steve Perry, Arnel Pineda. Since then, the group has been a Live Nation summer staple, touring with bands like Cheap Trick and Heart.
The band’s most popular track is the often misused “Don’t Stop Believing.” It resembles many of Springsteen’s story songs about characters down on their luck, only with a more upbeat message and melody. If you did a search on Twitter, you’d find it quoted in a myriad of bios. You’d also find it in countless TV shows, YouTubed karaoke gems, and any other applicable piece of pop culture. Their best and most anthemic track, however, is “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart).”
The song comes from the band’s 1983 album, Frontiers. Aside from sporting the creepiest album cover I’ve ever seen, (Welcome to tonight’s nightmare) the album produced two other tracks that found it’s way on to Greatest Hits, “Sender Her My Love” and “Faithfully.”
“Separate Ways” is the best track Journey ever made. It is. Don’t give me that look! It easily contains the best, most non-cheesy synth line in the history of music. As the track opens, you get the sense that it means business, that a synthesizer could literally kick your ass. Is it over the top? Absofuckinglutely. Is it cheesy? I’ll never admit it, especially when Neal Schon’s raunchy guitar riff comes in shortly after, along with the rhythmic drumming of Steve Smith. Is there going to be a rumble, though? Maybe. Steve Perry makes his intentions clear when the vocals kick in, if you brake his ex’s heart, Steve will kick your ass… Wait, what? Yeah, that’s right, he still loves her, and “if he ever hurts her, true love won’t desert her.” Rest assured, some guy will get his ass kicked and some woman will be loved, damn it! To look at Steve Perry, he doesn’t seem like much of a threat, but deep down you know he could take Danzig in a fight.
If you ever thought that there was no way a Journey song could get you into a fight, give “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” a try. If it doesn’t, perhaps a good slap fight? Anything is possible, I mean, after this blog post, this could be your new favorite Journey song! The 80’s are riddled with great songs, and I would rank this song among the best that the decade had to offer. Seriously guys. I’m not joking. I would also rank it to have been responsible for one of the worst choreographed music videos of all time (Including one of the most awkward ass shots on film.). Regardless, the next time you listen to Journey, don’t forget about this song, it might just save your ass in a fight.