Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- This outstanding copy of the band's 1981 release boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
- This copy was big and bold, with huge choruses that really come alive - just the way we like our Journey albums to sound
- A #1 album jam-packed with hits: Don't Stop Believin', Stone in Love, Who's Crying Now and Open Arms
- 4 1/2 stars: "Outside of the singles, there is a certain electricity that circulates through the rest of the album. The songs are timeless, and as a whole, they have a way of rekindling the innocence of youthful romance and the rebelliousness of growing up, built from heartfelt songwriting and sturdy musicianship.""
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We've been trying to find good sound on Journey records for close to a decade, and finally we have something to show for all that work -- killer sound on their only Number One album, with monster jams like Don't Stop Believin', Stone in Love, Who's Crying Now -- the first three tracks on side one! -- and the big closer for side two, Open Arms.
Most greatest hits albums don't have this many classic rockers. Not sure how we'll fare with the rest of their catalog, but this one is a good place to start if you're a fan of the band.
The vocals on Who's Crying Now are sweet and breathy like no copy you've heard. Texture without grit -- now that's hard to do on a Journey album. (Or Queen, see below.)
What the Best Sides of Escape Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes even as late as 1981
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
The producer and engineer for Escape is none other than Mike Stone. This was his first album with Journey after engineering all of Queen's albums from the first through News of the World. If you hear some Queen in the music and sound of Escape it's safe to say it's not entirely accidental.
Nice to have your first album for the band go to Number One. The reverse is true for the former Santana-man Greg Rollie. As soon as he left the band, they hit it big. Their next three albums were all Top Five as well.
What We're Listening For on Escape
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
- Don't Stop Believin'
- Stone in Love
- Who's Crying Now
- Keep on Runnin'
- Still They Ride
- Lay It Down
- Dead or Alive
- Mother, Father
- Open Arms
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
Escape was a groundbreaking album for San Francisco's Journey, charting three singles inside Billboard's Top Ten, with "Don't Stop Believing" reaching number nine, "Who's Crying Now" number four, and "Open Arms" peaking at number two and holding there for six weeks.
Escape flung Journey steadfastly into the AOR arena, combining Neal Schon's grand yet palatable guitar playing with Jonathan Cain's blatant keyboards. All this was topped off by the passionate, wide-ranged vocals of Steve Perry, who is the true lifeblood of this album, and this band.
The songs on Escape are more rock-flavored, with more hooks and a harder cadence compared to their former sound. "Who's Crying Now" spotlights the sweeping fervor of Perry's voice, whose theme about the ups and downs of a relationship was plentiful in Journey's repertoire. With "Don't Stop Believing," the whisper of Perry's ardor is crept up to with Schon's searing electric guitar work, making for a perfect rock song. One of rock's most beautiful ballads, "Open Arms," gleams with an honesty and feel only Steve Perry could muster.
Outside of the singles, there is a certain electricity that circulates through the rest of the album. The songs are timeless, and as a whole, they have a way of rekindling the innocence of youthful romance and the rebelliousness of growing up, built from heartfelt songwriting and sturdy musicianship.