Journey: Revelation

It's unlikely any band has as thoroughly modern and convoluted a resurgence story as these AOR mainstays pulled back into public consciousness by HBO and YouTube. Since former lead singer Steve Perry's 1996 departure, Journey has gone through two frontmen, plucking current vocalist Arnel Pineda off the Internet via the Philippines. Revelation is Journey's first album since 2005, an independently released Wal-Mart exclusive featuring 11 originals, 11 re-recorded greatest hits and a concert DVD from this year. It may not be a classic, but Revelation sure is a class act, beginning with opening cheap-seats rouser "Never Walk Away." The song instantly reminds listeners how starry-eyed solos riding harmonic cascades can spark fond memories of top-down cruisin', tops-off fondlin' or the Beverly Hills, 90210 theme. Journey exists for our perpetual adolescence. For all its themes of love-makin' ("Open Arms"-descended ballad "After All These Years") and heart-­breakin' ("Where Did I Lose Your Love"), this will never be grown-up music. It's growing-up music, chock-full (and schlock-full) of progressive fills tickling the nostalgia bone. "Wildest Dreams" is a fist-pumper for 40-year-olds and their 14-year-olds. And with his Perry-like yet personally feathered notes drawn out a little more than up, Pineda seems poised to grow as well. Journey fans shouldn't stop believin'.

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Tony Ware