Journey did exist before 1980 and before Steve Perry joined sometime in 1977/78. But it was a different Journey, more progressive rock and jazz fusion than the pop rock behemoth they are known for. But it’s those pop rock songs which game them a career. “Don’t Stop Believin” has 1.1 billion streams on Spotify. That equates to $3 million in royalties. Just for one song. And they have a lot of songs from that era in the hundred of millions.
But nothing from the early days.
“Look into the Future” is their second album, released in January 1976 on Columbia Records.
While the debut album was flavoured with a lot of progressive rock and Latin rhythms, the second album had a more standard song approach, with the progressiveness made to fit the song structures.
Guitarist George Tickner left the band after having co-written two songs for this album, leaving members Gregg Rolie (lead vocals/keyboards), Neal Schon (guitar), Ross Valory (bass), and Aynsley Dunbar (drums) as the recording members.
On a Saturday Nite
It’s very Doors like in style and vocal delivery.
It’s written solely by Gregg Rolie, so it’s no surprise that the piano leads the way to set the rock groove.
It’s All Too Much
A cover of a Beatles song written by George Harrison which appeared in the “Yellow Submarine” film and soundtrack.
It’s like those 70’ mid-tempo songs that groove and rock and border on being like a heavy ballad but are not. Another Rolie composition which the band brings to life.
She Makes Me (Feel Alright)
Neal Schon makes an appearance as a songwriter along with Alex Cash and Rolie, with a super-sized Hendrix meets Sabbath like riff.
You’re on Your Own
Written by Rolie, George Tickner and Schon.
A piano riff and a melodic sing-along solo from Schon starts things off. Very Santana like.
And the song rocks and rolls.
Towards the end, Schon is shredding away over a Beatles like vocal melody in which Rolie is singing, “Trying to make up your mind”.
Look into the Future
Written by Diane Valory, Rolie and Schon. The start reminds me of “Free Bird” and the song retains that “Free Bird” feel.
At 8:10, it was the longest song Journey had recorded until 1980, when “Destiny” from the soundtrack album “Dream After Dream” took its place but no one would know it as the album is ignored, released the same year as “Departure”.
If there is a track to listen to on this album it’s this.
Especially when Schon starts to wail. His note selection, phrasing and emotive bends just needs to be heard. And the outro section has an open string like lick which Schon repeats while Rolie is singing, “it’s just around the corner” and then Schon breaks loose again, wailing away to close out the song.
The only thing you can do is press play again.
Written by Rolie and Schon, this one is funk rock fusion, very Hendrix like even in the vocal delivery.
But at the 2 minute mark it goes into a Doors like jam, with the piano leading the way and the drums playing a fast “Riders On The Storm” like shuffle.
And once the synth solo starts, its more ELP and Yes like than rawk and roll.
I’m Gonna Leave You
Written by Rolie, Schon and Tickner.
The intro riff is familiar because John Sykes used the exact same riff in the song, “Blue Murder”.
But then again, it’s a riff that is from the 70’s, one of those riffs that just can’t fall under copyright because it’s so derivative. Even “Carry On My Wayward Son” has this riff.
The title might not sound very metal like, but this cut is a Heavy Metal cut.
The Metal that I grew up on, before it became unrecognisable with guttural like vocals throughout.
Check it out.