Steve Perry: Traces Album Review
If you want an emotional ride through the freeway of love,if you want to swim through a sea of pain and heartbreak, bask in the ambiance of memories, and soak up the sun rays of hope, then you need to buy a copy of Traces, the newly released album by Steve Perry. This album is 24 years in the
making, because that is how long it has been since his last solo album. It was well worth the wait.
I am a big fan of Perry's first two solo albums, but this one, by far, is the best solo project he's ever done. Picture an album with the sounds you grew up on, combined with the Perry-esque, Sam Cooke flavor added, and you get an idea of this masterpiece. This is one of the easiest albums you will ever listen to, and from the first note you feel like you want to stay in Perryland forever. Don't worry about the songs having to grow on you, because you will automatically love them. If this album does not go to number one on the charts or earn a Grammy, I have no faith in the music industry anymore. So now sit down, grab some coffee or any suitable beverage, relax and listen to my take on each of these instant classics.
NO ERASIN - This song, the first single from Traces was accepted very well from Perry fans. It was a great comeback song,filled with good harmonies and delightful music, not unlike the sounds you've heard from Perry before.The keyboards and organs are there, the clean guitar sounds, and everything nice about an upbeat song from an awesome vocalist. The song is about a reunion of old lovers and metaphorically speaking, it's about rekindling relationships. "You done me wrong when you walked out" Steve sings.Great song overall and one you'll remember.
WE'RE STILL HERE - A really good song here. Picture "Don't Stop Believin' part 2...because it sure sounds like it lyrically speaking. "City boys and city girls runnin' wild" and streets...and lights...the same scenario as the popular Escape anthem. There are some great harmonies, awesome musical performances, including the perfect guitar solo, that fits well in this song, very similar to a certain ex-band member of Perry's. As the solo ends you can hear Steve hit a pretty decent high note, proving that he's "still got it."
MOST OF ALL- A mellow R&B song that starts off with piano and picks up steam at the chorus. A truly relaxing and warm song with the ooooohs in the background, blending with synthesizers and strings...a sharp sounding drum beat. Then a bluesy guitar solo comes in. The oooohs take you over and the haunting lyrics remind you who you miss and leaves you with a bitter-sweet feeling that will keep you in the mood for the rest of the album.
NO MORE CRYIN'- This song was the second single from the album. A bluesy and soul-filled number, with great harmonies. The song has an emotional message that really builds toward the end and you can hear Perry's feelings emerge. "No...I won't love again....I won't....no I won't.... Another cool guitar solo and overall a decent song. The song fades into an instrumental with Steve echoing his heart and making sure we know that he really means what he says,This song like I said is good, but probably my least favorite on the album, because it never really takes off like the others do, in my opinion.
IN THE RAIN- "I wish you were here tonight" starts off the song and it seems to be the theme of this album. A powerful song, echoing the thoughts of heartache and loss, with "in the rain" being a metaphor.This song is one of my favorites. It is a sad number, very emotional, especially when you consider what Perry has been through with the loss of his girlfriend to cancer in 2012. You can take this song as a man crying out at the memories after a break-up or reminiscing after losing a loved one. Either way, a tear will definitely come to your eye.
SUN SHINES GRAY- Ahhh yes. An upbeat, rocker with the one and only John 5 on guitar. This song could have been a Journey song, The guitars are really crunching and the layered harmonies bring back a lot of memories. John 5 blazes a trail with a smoking guitar solo as Perry ooohs and ahhhs, This song is another favorite of mine, Just when you think it can't get any better you hear Perry wailing on this high note and it is awesome, I have to say. You may have to hit repeat on this song. It is that good.
YOU BELONG TO ME- Another great R&B song, filled with wonderful harmonies. Perry is almost crying in this song. " Was it you,,,? Was it I? he asks. Bluesy guitar mixed with synthesizer. " Our love was alive" echoes the harmonies in this wonderful song. The lyrics cut deep and bring you to the heart of this album. You can even hear horns in this song which makes this one very unique. The melody like this one and others on the album takes me back to some easy-listening style records from the 70's and 80's. The emotions in this song are undeniable.
EASY TO LOVE- Starts off with a snazzy R&B drum beat snapping right along to the rhythm of Perry's smooth vocals. "Soooo Easy to looove" The harmonies echo and just really make this song very, very enjoyable. The organ and guitar blend so well with the oooohs and ahhhs once again. Nice solo here too, This is the song that everyone will be talking about. it is easy to love this song. The Sam Cooke sound can be heard in this one, most definitely. My favorite on the album.
I NEED YOU- This song is hardly anything like the original Beatles version, but George Harrison would be proud. It is slowed down and mixed with a soulful groove that reminds you that Steve is a master of his craft, This song displays his trademark sounds. The harmonies add a lot to this number and make it better than its predecessor in my opinion.
WE FLY- Steve starts the song off accapela, Then it gravitates into a lullaby with a hauntingly beautiful guitar resonating in the background. Synthesizers add to the softness of this dreamy ballad that is saturated in emotion and takes you away flying into your dreams. This song is perfect for the last cut on the standard album.
OCTOBER IN NEW YORK- Perry is crooning on this beautiful song. The Sinatra-esque ballad is filled with a soft and flowing display that is rarely heard from "The Voice." The strings come along with what sounds like a choir of angels. The pain-filled lyrics are overshadowed by the sweetness of the whole arrangement. An unforgettable performance and spectacular surprise that is really amazing. This will easily be a favorite also and is one of my favorites on the album. Instant classic. I could listen to this all night.
ANGEL EYES- This song instantly made me smile. The female background singers instantly engage and Steve carries on the Motown sound in this up-tempo number. The echoes and ooohs in this ditty will have you snapping your fingers and tapping your feet. This song literally made me feel good. It would have easily fit on Perry's first solo album, STREET TALK. Most definitely it sounds like it was taken right out of 1964..Love it.
CALL ON ME- Bob Marley would smile on this reggae-style song. It sounds very close to the song "Baby, I'm a-Leavin' You from Journey's TRIAL BY FIRE album, Perry's last one with Journey.
Harmonies galore and delightful instrumentation throughout this one. You can even hear telephones ringing and laughter in the background, making it a happier song for sure.
COULD BE SOMETHING AGAIN- This is a bluesy guitar laced, R&B number, with the trademark Perry/Sam Cooke sound. It has a nice beat to it, harmonies and smooth vocals....And then the chanting begins.."Do you wanna Ya Ya...?." Steve asks."Do you wanna love again,baby?" That part is really cool. You will be randomly going up to people and shouting "Do you wanna ya ya?" Of course you will get slapped, but what a cool ditty....Do you wanna ya ya... I love it. Don't you?
BLUE JAYS FLY- Another song about flying....Perry almost whispers in this soft melody with magical organs flowing along the picture-perfect description of blue jays in their flight.The theme of wishing someone was here still echoes in this song....A reminder of Kellie no doubt. As the song and the album fade you can hear the wind blowing and the soaring sound of an airplane's wings, sailing off into the great beyond, where angels have gone before them. Angels like Dr. Kellie Nash.
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