The musical legacy of Journey has been a story of rags to riches. Recently, their 1981 hit song, “Don’t Stop Believin,” made pop culture history after being used as the soundtrack for the final episode of the popular TV series, “The Sopranos.” The band, whose original members hail from San Fransisco, was formed in 1973 and has entertained music fans with great music for more than forty years. The band has released a total of fourteen studio albums throughout their career and are one of the most celebrated American bands in history. In this article, we will rank all the fourteen Journey Albums from the worst to the very best.
This album marked the arrival of Arnel Pineda as the band’s new vocalist. In this album, the band delivers some of their classic songs and new favorite songs. The album has two discs, with disc one featuring 12 new songs written by Schon and Cain. On the other hand, disc two contains new studio recordings of the band’s best songs with Arnel Pineda at their heart. Some of the great songs on disc two include well-known songs such as; “Any Way You Want It” and “Don’t Stop Believin.” What impressed me most about this album was that the band used new technology to hire their new vocalist, Arnel Pineda. Arnold Pineda, a Philippine discovered through YouTube, has some incredible vocals, similar to Steve Perry. The music in the album is easy to digest.
Generations was an experimental rock ‘n’ roll album that featured vocal contributions from all band members. This resulted in the ultimate departure of Steve Augeri and their worst charting album ever. The album, released in August 2005, was issued for free in most of their concerts during their Generations Tour of 2005. Although Augeri’s vocals performance stood out, most fans could not understand why the band had decided to share the lead vocal duties. According to Steve Augeri, the band’s idea to pass the mic was borrowed from Styx, following a tour with them. The album’s best track was “Faith in the Heartland,” where Steve Augeri’s vocal prowess shone through the track as he sang his heart out in every line. Unfortunately, Generations didn’t amount to much, and Steve Augeri’s departure after just two albums with the band didn’t go down well with the fans.
12. Arrival (2000)
Many early fans of the band never believed that Journey would be the same band after the departure of Steve Perry. Arrival was the first album with Steve Augeri as the lead vocalist. The album exhibits hard rock influences similar to the band’s earlier records of the 1970s and 1980s was released in 2001 in the US. The album also features a couple of ballads that were done in the style of Steve Perry. The album is quite lengthy and goes for over seventy-five minutes. Although the album was not a total disaster, it had some weak songs saved by fantastic guitar work from Neal Schon. One of the album’s decent songs is the rock ballad “Livin’ to Do,” which features above-average vocals and which are complemented by a great intro to a glorious guitar. Although the album wasn’t much of a success, it was significant since it showed that there was life after Steve Perry.
Eclipse is the band’s fourteenth studio album and the second album to feature Arnel Pineda as the lead vocalist. The album was written by Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain, who remained the band’s de facto leaders, although Arnel Pineda also participated in the songwriting process. The album features some up-tempo rock ballads, but it lacked what we would term as genuine Journey ballads that we had come to associate with them for so long. The album sold 21,400 copies on its first week and peaked at position 13 on the US billboard 200 charts. Despite its high charting performance in the first weeks, it quickly descended down the charts within a couple of weeks. The album generally received mixed reviews, and its lack of success proved to be a major setback for the band. As a result, the band decided to focus on live performances rather than recording new albums.
When Journey released this album, they were already destined for superstardom based on their previous two albums. However, Next suffered a major setback after only rising to position 85 on the US Billboard 200 Chart. Next was also the last album with Gregg Rolie as the lead vocalist. The album was more of rock with some blues and jazz elements. Although it was a good album, it didn’t stand out like the previous two albums. The album had a few great hits such as, “Here We Are,” which is probably Journey’s heaviest song.
9. Trial by Fire
This 1996 album was supposed to signal the return of previous successful releases such as Escape and Infinity. However, even the return of Steve Perry did little to improve the band’s creativity. The album also showed how the band members had matured with lyrics that expressed their spirituality. Trial by Fire is the only Journey album, not to be accompanied by a tour largely due to the band’s internal disputes. The album had several great songs, such as “Forever in Blue,” although it also had a couple of weak tracks, and the album’s running time was too long.
8. Look Into the Future
Journey’s second album was more of a commercial release than their debut album. Nevertheless, it still retained some sounds similar to the debut album and an experimental approach. Although the band was not at its peak musically, the album showed that creatively, they were at a very high level. The album features some impressive guitar riffs and incredibly smooth keyboard solos from Gregg Rolie. The standout song in the album is “You’re on Your Own,” which sees Gregg Rolie’s heartfelt singing take center stage.
7. Raised on Radio
In the seventh position in our countdown of the Journey albums is the band’s ninth studio album, which was released in April 1986. To date, it is the only album that does not feature Ross Valory, the founding bassist. The album had four Top 20 singles and a top ten song. Some of the tracks which performed well in the US Billboard Charts include; “Girl Can’t Help It,” which peaked at number 17, “Suzzanne,” and “Be Good to Yourself,” which peaked at position four on the Billboard 200 chart. The album was produced by Steve Perry, who gave the other band members as much creative control as they needed. Raised on Radio has been certified double platinum by the RIAA and is a decent and fun AOR album.
Many Journey fans will probably argue that this album should have featured much higher than the sixth position in our ranking of the greatest Journey albums. The album was released in February 1980 at a crucial time for a more mainstream sound that was arena-friendly. Just as the album’s title suggested, the band was taking a new direction and leaving some of the basic ingredients they were associated with in previous releases. It was also the last full studio album with Gregg Rolie after growing weary of life on the road. He had done the lead vocals for only one song in the album, the third track, “Somebody Soon.”
5. Evolution (1979)
By the time Journey released this Roy Thomas Baker-produced smash in 1979, it was their most successful album. In this album, the band replaced Aynsley Dunbar, the band’s drummer, with Smith. As it turned out, Aynsley Dunbar’s departure didn’t affect the band. Evolution was the most commercially successful album of the band during the ’70s. Evolution was basically a hard rock album with AOR elements. All in all, it was a good album, although it lacked good ideas. The album had some great tracks, such as the hit song “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'” and “Just the Same Way,” which layered the band’s harmony vocals. The album peaked at position 20 on the US Billboard 200 with the track “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'” peaking at position 16 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Journey is the band’s self-titled debut album which was released in 1975. By the time this album was released, the band had not yet found their signature sound. The album featured some progressive rock elements and jazz elements that mainly relied on the band members’ talents on the instruments. Not only was this debut album highly progressive, but it was also quite enjoyable and featured some great tracks, such as the album’s opening track, “Of a Lifetime.” The track features quiet and mystical Greg Rolie vocals and an electrifying guitar solo by Neal Schon towards the end. The album’s final track, “Mystery Mountain,” remains a fan favorite to this day and a great way to end their debut album.
3. Frontiers (1983)
Although Frontiers was a great album, it quite didn’t attain the level of success that Escape and Infinity reached. The album was released in 1982 and was the last album to feature Ross Valory as the band’s bassist before the 1996 album Trial by Fire. The album offered some great tracks such as “Rubicon, “Separate Ways,” and “Troubled Child.” The album is quite similar in style to Asia’s third studio album, Astra, although this one is a little darker. Frontiers has been certified platinum six times by the RIAA and had two songs that were utilized as soundtracks for movies. The track “Ask the Lonely” was used as a soundtrack for the 1983 movie, Two of a Kind, while “Only the Young,” which hit the top ten two years after its release, was used as a soundtrack for the 1985 film, Vision Quest. The album remains the band’s highest-charting album in the UK, where it peaked at position six on the UK Albums Chart in 1983.
Journey’s 1978 album, Infinity, was the first album to feature Steve Perry as the lead vocalist. The album is quite significant in the band’s catalog since it showed a real transformation in how they operated. The new sophistication which Roy Thomas Baker was at the heart of was a clear indication of how the band had sharpened its craft, launching it to multiplatinum status. The first song that Steve Perry and Neal Schon did together was “Patiently,” whose lyrics expressed the duo’s frustration at being on the road constantly while also expressing admiration for the band’s fans. Steve Perry’s addition to the band made the album more mainstream and, in the process helping the band achieve their most impressive chart success.
When this album was released 40 years ago, nobody, including the band, would believe how the album took off after its release. Escape remains the only Journey album to top the US Billboard Top 200 to this day. The album was recently certified platinum after selling more than 10 million copies across the US. The album contained some of Journey’s most timeless classics, such as the track “Don’t Stop Believin,” which has had over one billion streams on Spotify alone. Escape was the first album recorded with Jonathan Cain on the keyboards, backing vocals, rhythm guitar, and one of the critical composers of the band alongside Neal Schon and Steve Perry. The album was quite significant in the ’80s as it inspired the glam rock movement. Most of the album songs are catchy and easy to listen to, and the album is widely considered to be Journey’s greatest album.