Spinning up Journey’s Greatest Hits Volume 2 CD for the first time provided for me an experience that was true to the band’s name. Listening to those hits took me on a musical journey back to the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Although the compilation includes tracks that were recorded between 1978 and 1996, it was those early songs like Stone In Love, Feeling That Way and Just the Same Way that really took me back to those Saturday nights sitting in my 1973 Chevrolet Laguna listening to the radio and hanging out with friends into the wee hours.
Of all the bands we listened to and loved during that time, I don’t feel as if I’m going too far out on a limb when I say that Journey’s share of airtime on rock radio probably outshined just about every other group. It’s not all that often I can put on a greatest hits album packed with seventeen songs and find each and every one of them instantly recognizable.
Even more impressive is the fact that I can look at the track listing from Journey’s Greatest Hits and realize that the same is true for that compilation. Although I was happy to listen to every Journey song that came on the radio during those days, I’m not sure I could have described myself as a bona fide fan since I don’t believe I ever purchased one of their albums and am certain I never attended any of their shows. I was never much of a concert guy, although I suspect my presence at a Journey show would have been a good bet if I was.
These days I believe I am justified when I consider myself a true Journey fan since I have acquired eight of their albums over the past decade or so, which has been increased to a total of nine with the arrival of this latest release.
The fact that this is a greatest hits album deprives me of the opportunity to opine about the songs themselves. I am, however, one who always seems to have something to say about engineering and sound quality. On that front I have no complaints. The mixes on my CD copy sound quite similar to the recordings I already had and are quite good for the most part. Perhaps I’d be considered unqualified to make that kind of judgment by vinyl aficionados since I find no fault with the sound quality I enjoy from a digital recording.
Speaking of vinyl, Journey’s Greatest Hits Volume 2 is also available on a gatefold double-vinyl edition which also includes an access code allowing the owner to download a digital copy of the re-mastered mix for vinyl. That move kind of makes my head hurt just a little bit, but maybe some vinyl devotees can muster the tolerance to endure the sound of a digital version while they are working on their computer or want to take the album on the go with them using one of those new-fangled iPods or portable MP3 players.
Leaving the not-so-thinly-veiled sarcasm aside, I actually think it’s pretty cool that a re-mastered vinyl version of this release is available for those who prefer that medium. Although I’m perfectly content listening to the digital version, I remain open to the idea that vinyl may indeed sound better in some way I don’t yet understand and would welcome the chance for someone with a capable set-up to convince me of that popular assertion some day.
Calling this a new release just doesn’t seem right despite the fact that technically, I suppose it is. What it represents to fans like me is a trip back in time that brings back a flood of memories of days (and nights) when I didn’t have to fret about forgetting my reading glasses at home, didn’t have to worry about hurting my back shoveling snow (ouch!) and couldn’t stop thinking about how those blue jeans fit on that girl from the other side of town who spent a few weeks hanging out with us. I believe she’s the reason I often mistakenly believe the title of Stone In Love is actually “Blue Jean Girl!”