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Evolution

Journey had found a successful formula on their previous album “Infinity” with the arrival of vocalist Steve Perry and an emphasis on shorter more commercial songs. “Evolution” could almost be considered “Infinity Part II” as it follows the same basic framework as it’s predecessor. “Evolution” blew the doors wide open for Journey selling a gazillion copies and making the band area sell out superstars. The one casualty of the band’s new direction was drummer Ansley Dunbar who quit prior to the albums recording. Jazz / Fusion great Steve Smith was brought in to occupy the drum seat and the band never missed a beat. As a whole I rank this album about the same as “Infinity”. I still really enjoy the few songs here where Perry and Rollie trade off lead vocals. This is especially effective on the track “Just The Same Way”. The big hit off the album “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezing” is probably my least favorite track on the disc. A few underrated gems include “Daydream”, “Sweet And Simple” and the opening track “Majestic / Too Late”. Journey would go on to make better albums, but this one launched them into the Stratosphere. Check it out!


Evolution Review

Avoid all of these Journey remasters/ reissues and find the original non-remastered CD’s. Why? Please see below the next paragraph. FYI: some of these Journey Legacy reissues have new remastering that is worse than the previous 1996 remastering while some have the 1996 remastering:Infinity (not remastered for 2006 Legacy reissues, old 1996 remastering)Evolution (not remastered for 2006 Legacy reissues, old 1996 remastering)Departure (remastered for 2006 Legacy reissues)Escape (not remastered for 2006 Legacy reissues, old 1996 remastering)Frontiers (remastered for 2006 Legacy reissues)Although not as good as Infinity or Escape, this used to be a great CD. The song Daydream is an underrated gem. I initially thought this was a much better, fuller sounding version. I even initially posted a favorable review. All of the Journey remasters and reissues seemed to sound great and better than the originals, until I realized something is missing. The sound is very compressed. When I first listened to the CD, it seemed fuller sounding. It seemed first. I started to wonder why I began listening to the remaster less and less. Then I dug out the original CD. I realized how instruments that jumped out on the original now just all blend together on the remaster. Drum hits that popped out before are softened and now in the background along with every other peak, making for a very generic, modernized and cloudy sound. The definition and clarity are gone. Feel can be hard to describe or pinpoint, but the feel and excitement of great albums like this are destroyed by this kind of mastering that has become the norm for new albums and reissues alike. That feeling that made you had with the original will eventually (or instantly) disappear with this version. It makes no difference how loud or full the CD sounds compared to the original. When they eliminate all of the peaks, the music overall loses its power. All of the accents are gone. Unfortunately, the record companies (and sometimes the artists) simply want their discs to be as loud as possible. The only way to do that is to compress the music by lowering the peaks and bringing up the valleys. It’s easy to think initially “it’s bigger, fuller and louder” but over time you’ll wonder why you just don’t enjoy it quite as much anymore. The punch is taken out and gone. Parts of songs that used to be loud compared to other parts are relatively reduced in volume and there’s no longer those big contrasts. If you don’t believe it can be that bad, for a great example and side by side comparison, search YouTube for two videos titled “Loudness War is killing music” and “The Loudness War: Iron Maiden (Part 2)”. (Neither are my videos). You’ll see and hear what I’m talking about. One compares Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing from the original CD vs. the remastered CD and the other compares Iron Maiden’s Wasted Years from the original CD vs. the remaster. It is the exact same effect as on this remaster. Here’s some other compressed remasters I’ve wasted money on that should be avoided. I listened to these for a long time before I realized what was missing from the music. This is by no means a complete list. More remasters these days are overly compressed than not. Simply, these are some of the ones that I own and am really glad I never ditched the original CD’s. These are albums that I love and do not just casually listen to:AC/DC:All Atlantic and Sony remastersAnthrax:Among the Living Deluxe Edition 2009 remaster CD/DVDBlack Sabbath:Ozzy years Black BoxDef Leppard:Pyromania Deluxe EditionHysteria Deluxe Edition((I haven’t bought the Adrenalize Deluxe, but given the compression of the other 2 above, I won’t). Helloween:All Sanctuary deluxe remasters with bonus tracksIron Maiden:All 1998 remastersJourney:All 1996 and 2006 and 2008 remasters, reissues and special market releasesMetallica:All the early CD’s that were secretly remastered (they are not labeled as remasters; any with “EMI Ventues” on the back tray insert are the recent pressings that are remastered)Ozzy Osbourne:Every remaster including:Blizzard of Ozz 2010 remasterDiary of a Madman 2010 remaster and 2010 Legacy edition30th Anniversary box set remasters (are the same as above)All 2002 remasters:Blizzard, Diary, Bark, Tribute, No Rest, No More Tears, Ozzmosis, Ozzman ComethAll 1995 remasters (not the worst, but still compressed):Blizzard, Diary, Speak, Bark, Ultimate, Tribute, No Rest, No More Tears, Live and Loud(All that’s left for Ozzy are the original CD issues, which are the ones to get)REO Speedwagon:Hi Infidelity Anniversary remasterSupertramp:Breakfast in America 2002 and 2010 remasters (can’t comment on the other titles). However, the Japan-only 2013 Platinum CD is simply stunning. It sounds three-dimensional and incredible. That is how a CD should sound and it has received accolades along with other Platinum releases that Universal has done in Japan. (Note: if your CD player cannot play CD-R’s, according to Universal, it won’t play a Platinum disc). Van Halen:All 2000 remastersWhitesnake:1987 (self-titled) Deluxe Edition 2010 remaster CD/DVD1987 (self-titled)/Slip of the Tongue Axe Killer label 2000 remaster 2CDHere I Go Again The Whitesnake Collection 2CD of Slide/1987/SlipHope all of that helps. You have been warned. Don’t waste your money on these remasters/reissues. Get the original non-remaster if you really want to enjoy this music the way it should sound. If you think this remaster, or the other remasters listed above are great, like I used to, seriously just check out those eye (and ear) opening videos mentioned above. Great album, but compressed remastering. Stick to the original CD. -Read Reviews-

Can I cheat a little and just say that I like all these Steve Perry pre-Escape albums? Journey nails this genre. I have an idea that I’m followingthat you can appreciate most music when the artist writes the book, or at least a chapter, on a style. Polka may be an exception but each to their own. This is stadium rock at its birth, rather than at its bloated death. It’s an even album and sonically pleasing. Journey was a small player in Oz at the time of release, I have never heard the vinyl and I can’t compare this remaster with earlier CD pressings. It sounds good to me but you might want to hear from older fans who are able to compare. From other reviews it appears that this is the same as the 1996 remaster, and I know how annoying that can be. No bonus trackslots of contemporary live material would be in the vaults, it’s an opportunity lost.

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