Traces

Mon
17
Sep

STEVE PERRY - Traces (Full Feature Review)

information persons: 
content: 
92%
Produced By: 
Thom Flowers & Steve Perry
Running Time: 
40
Release Date: 
October 5
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
AOR, Soul
Label: 
Fantasy
Artist: 
Categories: 
 
The return of Steve Perry is one thing, but the avalanche of publicity for the immediate release of a single and a full album due October 5, has been something else.
Such is the rarity of new Perry work, I have been writing for 22 years and only covered one new studio album – Journey’s Trial By Fire.
But here we are – Traces is the new album – a 10 track chronicle of Steve’s recent life experiences and a 15-track deluxe edition available via direct online or USA Target stores. This is a review of the standard/international edition. It will be updated with word on the additional 5 tracks ASAP.
 
To many – me included – Steve Perry is the voice of AOR, the definitive authority on just how good vocals can be. You have to get past the pure excitement factor of just getting to hear his voice again before you can objectively critique new material. I have given most of my personal favourite artists a serve at one point or another over the years, however, I’m pleased to say there’s not much to be critical of here – provided fans understand the reality of Steve Perry 2018.
 
The voice is rougher, raspier and it isn’t as strong as it once was. But that’s almost stating the bleeding obvious. Who would be at nearly 70 years of age?
What I care about is performance and songs and ‘Traces’ gets a tick in each column.
 
I can’t imagine anyone is surprised to hear this is a ballad filled, slow to mid-tempo record. And while some may struggle with the pace, I doubt any long time Perry fan is going to be disappointed.
Steve Perry at 70 is still Steve Perry. Just like hearing Neil Diamond at any stage in his career, so too is the joy of hearing Steve Perry. It’s that distinctive voice and those trademark inflections, that tone and that unmistakable delivery of mood and emotion that no one does better.
The characteristics and familiar style of Steve Perry’s past is all over this record. You can hear parts of ‘Street Talk’, ‘Strange Medicine’ and of course ‘Trial By Fire’ and other Journey-isms.
 
Taking a look at the songs themselves:
 
‘No Erasin’' is the upbeat easy to like, catchy as hell lead track (and single). I’ve enjoyed it from the start and I’m still enjoying it. Immediately memorable and the layered Motown harmonies are trademark Steve.
 
‘We're Still Here’ is the second track and a ballad as expected. It’s very smooth, very moody and features a more direct and unfiltered lead vocal. Textured with modern production effects and soulful harmonies, the chorus isn't big, but it's cool. Compared to the rest of the album’s ballads, it almost feels ‘up’, especially with the chorus.
 
'Most Of All' is a co-write with the great Randy Goodrum. It features a wonderful heartfelt vocal; slower and very sparse and smooth, this time lead primarily by Steve's voice and a grand piano. The chorus lifts tempo slightly as does Steve's voice. I picked it as a favourite from the first listen and that’s stayed true. Not unlike Strange Medicine's slower moments, plus a nice guitar solo and plenty of soul.
 
'No More Cryin' is yet another ballad, but each track has its own vibe, making the album far more enjoyable overall. This track has a touch of the Memphis blues about it and immediately reminds me of old school Steve. The chorus lifts the tempo and has some cool modern guitar riffing.
 
'In The Rain' is something very special. This is a very personal, very emotional piano ballad, formed with just a warm, soulful vocal, the piano and some lush orchestration. The vocal is amazing - very raw and haunting and Steve’s most ambitious high notes on the album. I can’t praise that enough and the vocal-melody makes the song.
 
'Sun Shines Grey' is co-written with John 5 and producer Thom Flowers. We've found the album’s other rocker, and it reminds me of modern day Rick Springfield mixed with Journey's Can't Tame The Lion. I could imagine Neal Schon playing on this, but John 5 is the man behind the riffs and also delivers a cool solo.
 
'You Belong To Me' is another soft piano ballad with accompanying string orchestration and an ultra-smooth and soulful vocal. There's some rasp in that voice its aged, but it’s still driven by those classic Perry nuances.
 
‘Easy To Love' is another stand out ballad. This one is characterised by some percussion and organ accompanying a slow, steady Motown style vocal. The chorus jumps in tempo with some classic Perry soul harmonies. This is definitely another ballad with a familiar vibe.
 
'I Need You' is a cover of the Beatles tune, a mere 2.59 in length, this ballad features the most familiar Perry vocal sound yet! Soft, slow, soulful...it’s the theme of the record.
 
Closing out the standard edition of this album 'We Fly' is another unique ballad. The first minute features just Steve's vocal. Talk about putting yourself out there! It’s an intense song that builds as it goes with atmospheric keyboards in the background.

And there you go. A very quick 40 minutes flies by as you immerse yourself in the music and lyrics of the maestro. It’s a very fine record, there’s no doubt. Immaculately produced and constructed, with equally impressive musical performances by the band assembled and also the orchestral parts. The soulful harmonies are classic Perry and lush in texture.
 
What I do like about this album is each ballad has its own style, its own emotion and its own unique energy. Overall, this is a very contemporary album. The two rockers are both very commercial and the ballads could be lifted from any era. It’s a mood album…but perfect for when you’re in that mood.
 
It's Steve ‘MF’ Perry. It’s also very very good.

 
Target Special Edition Bonus Tracks:
 
‘October In New York’ is a slow crooner of a song – a very authentic jazz/40s pop crooner complete with a stripped back jazz-ballad arrangement with orchestration and a simple piano to accompany. Not huge on this one – but the musical style is not my bag generally speaking.
 
‘Angel Eyes’ lifts the tempo a little – mid-range for this track, which quite honestly could have come straight off Street Talk. Gracious, this one should have been on all editions! A wonderful breezy tune with lots of Motown influences and the same feel as ‘I Believe’ and ‘Go Away’. The vocal is quite marvellous.
 
‘Call On Me’ takes on the third different style in 3 songs. Almost as if Steve has left the more adventurous tracks for the special edition. This one has another familiar feel to it, using a mid-tempo reggae beat in the same way as Steve has done before, with his soulful vocals just dripping over the instrumentation. Another fine vocal it must be said and another likeable song. I would have used this on the regular edition.
 
‘Could We Be Somethin’ Again’ is yet another left turn – a slow to mid-tempo pop/soul track with a tidy little beat and another warm vocal. Good song, but definitely a bonus track kinda tune.
 
The 3 minute ‘Blue Jays Fly’ is the 5th song with the 5th different style. Not sure how to describe this one. A softly sung vocal over sparse instrumentation – it’s almost in a meditative or lullaby state that doesn’t feature a lot of vocals. It closes out things nicely, but not one I’d choose for the main set of songs.
 
More songs are always welcomed – there’s a couple of great tunes here that could easily have been part of the main release. The other 3 make for likable bonus tracks and take Steve’s overdue comeback album to a better length.
My original review and rating remain intact.
Score: 
92
 
Thu
23
Aug

STEVE PERRY - 'Traces' (First Playback Pre-Review)

Label: 
Fantasy
Artist: 
Friday, October 5, 2018
Categories: 
 
STEVE PERRY will release his brand new 10 track studio album 'Traces' on October 5 worldwide via Fantasy Records (a division of Concord Records/UMG)
 
I was fortunate enough to get a secure audio stream of the new Steve Perry album ‘Traces’, thanks to Universal. Below are my first impressions, written while listening to the album for the very first time. A full feature review will appear here in due course and in the upcoming issue of Fireworks Magazine.
 
01. No Erasin' 04:07
Writers: Steve Perry, David Spreng
 
I’m still enjoying the lead track and first single 'No Erasin'. Immediately memorable and how good is it to hear this voice again? So we've all heard the song...what's next is THE question!
 
02. We're Still Here 04:06
Writers: Steve Perry, Brian West
 
'We're Still Here' is the second track, written with Brian West. It's a ballad as expected. It is a very smooth, moody ballad with a more direct and unfiltered lead vocal. The chorus isn't big, but it's cool. Laid back and textured with modern production effects. Steve sounds great. Soul harmonies pop up here and there.
 
03. Most Of All 04:23
Writers: Steve Perry, Randy Goodrum
 
'Most Of All' is another very sparse, soft and smooth ballad, this time lead primarily by Steve's voice and a grand piano. The chorus lifts tempo slightly as does Steve's voice. I'm guessing this is going to take some time to get to know but will be a favorite. It is a very smooth track and not unlike Strange Medicine's slower moments, a nice guitar solo and plenty of soul.
 
04. No More Cryin' 04:29
Writers: Dan Wilson, Steve Perry
 
'No More Cryin' is another ballad, but at least all 3 so far have each had a different style. This one is more bluesy with a touch of Motown to it. The chorus lifts & has some modern styled guitar riffing. Co-written with Dan Wilson, this is going to be another highlight.
 
05. In The Rain 04:06
Writers: Steve Perry, David Spreng
 
'In The Rain' is written by Steve & David Spreng. It has starts off as another slow piano ballad, with a warm, soulful vocal and here comes some orchestration... It is very sparse...almost no percussion, just piano and vocal. Some great vocals here.
 
06. Sun Shines Gray 03:57
Writers: Steve Perry, John 5, Thom Flowers
 
'Sun Shines Grey' is co-written with John 5 and producer Thom Flowers. We've hit an uptempo one folks! The song reminds me a little of Journey's Trial By Fire sound: almost a Can't Tame The Lion vibe, but modernized. I could imagine Neal Schon playing on this. John 5 is delivers a cool solo and can be heard throughout, albeit in an understated role.
 
07. You Belong To Me 04:07
Writers: Steve Perry, Barry Eastmond
 
'You Belong To Me' is another slow, soft piano ballad with some more string orchestration in place and of course, an ultra-smooth and soulful vocal. There's some rasp in that voice and yes, it's aged, but still full of those classic Perry nuances.
 
08. Easy To Love 04:03
Writers: Steve Perry, Thom Flowers
 
'Easy To Love' is yes, another ballad...a little different this time. Percussion and some organ accompany another slow, steady vocal. The chorus jumps in tempo with some classic Perry soul harmonies. This is definitely another ballad with a familiar vibe.
 
09. I Need You 02:59
Writer: George Harrison
 
'I Need You' is a cover of the Beatles tune, a mere 2.59 in length, this ballad features the most familiar Perry vocal sound yet! Soft, slow, soulful...it’s the theme of the record.
 
10. We Fly 03:56
Writers: Steve Perry, Jeff Babko
 
Closing out the standard edition of this album 'We Fly' is...wait for it...wait for it...a ballad! The first minute features only Steve's vocal. Talk about putting yourself out there! An intense song that builds as it goes with atmospheric keyboards in the background. Should be another favorite in time.
 
Album Produced by: Steve Perry & Thom Flowers
 
Well folks, that's that! Obviously, one should not ever pass judgment on a record after just one listen, so stay tuned for my full, detailed review soon. Much more listening to do here.
Upfront I'll say that it sounds great but is a very slow paced record. Not unexpected I guess with the subject matter in mind and the time passed since we last heard from “the voice”.

All but 2 tracks are ballads and overall the tempo and the soulfulness of the songs clearly makes this a mood listening album. Perfect for when the situation calls for it, but not for all situations.
 
Thank You Steve Perry for coming back to share your voice with us fans.
 
RELEASE DATE: October 5th, 2018
 
TRACK LISTING:
1. No Erasin’
2. We’re Still Here
3. Most Of All
4. No More Cryin’
5. In The Rain
6. Sun Shines Gray
7. You Belong To Me
8. Easy To Love
9. I Need You
10. We Fly
11. October in New York (Deluxe edition only)
12. Angel Eyes (Deluxe edition only)
13. Call On Me (Deluxe edition only)
14. Could We Be Somethin’ Again (Deluxe edition only)
15. Blue Jays Fly (Deluxe edition only)

 

 
Wed
15
Aug

STEVE PERRY New Album 'Traces' Out October 5

Artist: 
Friday, October 5, 2018
Categories: 
 
**UPDATED**
 
STEVE PERRY will release his brand new 10 track studio album 'Traces' on October 5 worldwide via Fantasy Records (a division of Concord Records/UMG)
 
Total length: 40:13
 
 
Track List:
 
01. No Erasin' 04:07
Writers: Steve Perry, David Spreng
 
02. We're Still Here 04:06
Writers: Steve Perry, Brian West
 
03. Most Of All 04:23
Writers: Steve Perry, Randy Goodrem
 
04. No More Cryin' 04:29
Writers: Dan Wilson, Steve Perry
 
05. In The Rain 04:06
Writers: Steve Perry, David Spreng
 
06. Sun Shines Gray 03:57
Writers: Steve Perry, John 5, Thom Flowers
 
07. You Belong To Me 04:07
Writers: Steve Perry, Barry Eastmond
 
08. Easy To Love 04:03
Writers: Steve Perry, Thom Flowers
 
09. I Need You 02:59
Writers: Steve Perry, George Harrison
 
10. We Fly 03:56
Writers: Steve Perry, Jeff Babko
 
Album Produced by: Steve Perry & Thom Flowers
 
 
Those are the fitting first words Steve Perry sings with tremendous soul and conviction on “No Erasin’” -- the life-affirming anthem that opens up Traces, his first solo album in nearly a quarter century. It is a rousing start to the most personal and emotionally powerful work yet from this legendary singer-songwriter who earned global fame as the voice of Journey before going on to significant solo success as well.
 
By any standard, Traces is an inspired and expansive work that has indeed been a long time coming. Yet in a very real way, Traces marks an extraordinary and welcome return to form that Steve Perry himself long assumed he would never make. Big and bold, yet intimate and revealing, Traces is not the sound of a veteran rock star dipping his toe back in the pool, but rather an artist who has reconnected with his music in a new way that surprised even Perry himself.
 
RELEASE DATE:
October 5th, 2018
 
TRACK LISTING:
1. No Erasin’
2. We’re Still Here
3. Most Of All
4. No More Cryin’
5. In The Rain
6. Sun Shines Gray
7. You Belong To Me
8. Easy To Love
9. I Need You
10. We Fly
11. October in New York (Deluxe edition only)
12. Angel Eyes (Deluxe edition only)
13. Call On Me (Deluxe edition only)
14. Could We Be Somethin’ Again (Deluxe edition only)
15. Blue Jays Fly (Deluxe edition only)
 
 
Subscribe to Traces