So what’s the story? Does Steve Perry still “got it”?
He does. We just might not agree on what exactly “it” is.
Traces is Perry’s first solo album since 1994’s For the Love of Strange Medicine. He’s been keeping a low profile since leaving Journey after 1996’s Trial By Fire. If you were worried that Steve Perry has gone “soft” and his voice has changed in that time…then you were right!
But that’s not a bad thing. Steve Perry’s voice is one of a kind. The soul cannot be copied; it’s just raspier now. If you want the youthful range, go listen to Journey instead. Or buy Arnel Pineda’s forthcoming solo album. If you want an older, wiser but still the same Steve Perry, he is here on Traces. He’s collected 10 slower songs, some more upbeat than others like the lead single “No Erasin'”. Each one still retains Perry’s ability to compose memorable material. These songs are honed, short, and to the point. Even the ballads are pretty basic: quiet and contemplative, but with soft hooks. All fat has been trimmed. “We’re Still Here”, “No More Cryin'” and “We Fly” are among the best tracks, but “No Erasin'” is the clear highlight.
The deluxe edition, a Sunrise exclusive in Canada and Target for the US, has five more songs of varying styles. “October in New York” sounds like a quiet piece from a stage musical. “Angel Eyes” goes more for soul, while “Call on Me” has the tropical flavours you might remember from Journey’s “Baby I’m Leaving You”. The fabulous “Could We Be Something Again” has a choir on it. The good thing about the bonus tracks is you can tell the reason they were cut was not quality. It was simply that they don’t fit in with the direction of the main album.
Traces is not for Journey fans who wanna rawk. This is for fans of classy pop rock, soft rock, and the ballads on Trial By Fire. If that’s you, get Traces (the deluxe of course) and take some time to dig a little deeper.