Jonathan Cain Reveals How ‘Escape’ Influenced Journey’s New Album


When it’s time to stack the tracks on Journey’s new album Freedomthe group turned to a proven predecessor.

“I used the Escape album to sort of model how we sequenced (Freedom),” Jonathan Cain of the band told UCR, referring to the 1981 Diamond Certified album that marked his debut with the band and remains Journey’s best-selling album. Cain says he and guitarist Neal Schon, who have co-produced Freedom with Narada Michael Walden, collected all 15 songs into an order last December while in Las Vegas for Journey’s Virgin Hotel residency, during “a morning well spent” at a local recording studio.

Part of the challenge, Cain says, was Freedom– Journey’s longest album at over 73 minutes, with seven tracks weighing in at over five minutes. “I wanted a few fewer songs on it,” admits Cain, who worked from home in Nashville while Schon and Walden recorded in California and Filipino singer Arnel Pineda cut his vocals in Manila. “But in the end, we haven’t made an album for 11 years, so why not? I like the idea of ​​economy and less is more, but I’m like, ‘Well, maybe that Journey fans will want that kind of volume. . It’s almost two albums. It was a real test, ‘How is this all going to fit together?'” But even with this wealth of material, Escape – which was just 10 songs and nearly 43 minutes long – provided a guide to the ebb and flow of the new album.

“Our most successful album was Escape and we recently got the diamond for that, so I said, ‘How did you Escape unfold? How did it appear to the listener? and I went from there,” Cain explains. “I think, well, we’ll start with a piano, just like ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ Escape). So ‘Together We Run’ (on Freedom), it pulls the listener in and it’s a hopeful song, similar to ‘Don’t Stop Believin’,’ and then ‘What was the next song on Escape?’ and we went from there.

“So we did it like that and it turned out quite successful. I think how you present your music is really important, how do you take the listener from point A to point B – it’s really important. And when you have an album of that magnitude, 15 songs, you want to keep them as long as you can, and you want to have a beginning and an end. I consider myself a Journey fan first and foremost, and when I sat there with Neal and we did (the sequence) together, and that’s it.”

Cain, who was Freedom, says the sequencing is part of what he hopes will give the new album a familiar and even classic Journey flavor. “I think it goes back to some of the films of Borders, Infinite, Escape“, he says. “There’s a bit of those flavors in there, let’s go back to familiar textures, melodies and concepts. The lyrics flowed beautifully for me; I don’t think I was stuck for a second. It seemed like I had a word for everything (Schon and Walden) did. It’s the sign of a group that has real instincts.”

Journey has just begun a short run of mostly catch-up dates for gigs carried over from its arena tour earlier this year, including four more shows in Vegas and a performance at the Football Hall of Fame inductions on Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio. The band are planning another North American tour for early 2023, while Cain – who has released a new Christian album, Arisein May is also planning a Christmas EP this fall.

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