Tracks: You Better Wait; Young Hearts Forever; I Am; Stand Up (Before It’s Too Late); For the Love of Strange Medicine; Donna Please; Listen to Your Heart; Tuesday Heartache; Missing You; Somewhere There’s Hope; Anyway
Best track: You Better Wait
Track to skip: the title track is too cheesy for me, skip Donna Please & Tuesday Heartache too
Steve Perry’s second solo album, released 10 years after Street Talk & 2 after the Journey box set Time Cubed (which no doubt brought Steve Perry’s name back into public conversation), is sort of a continuation and expansion of the ‘classic’ Perry sound. This actually would have been his 3rd album, but the planned second one, Against the Wall slated for release in 1990, never got released because of corporate shakeups at Sony/Columbia. Thankfully a few of these tracks made it onto his Greatest Hits album. So, essentially, this was the first ‘new’ material we listeners heard from Steve Perry since Journey’s 1986 album Raised on Radio. Eight years is a long time.
Obviously, once this starts up you know who it is. I think You Better Wait was the perfect choice for the first single as it’s not only the best song on here, but also more of a rocker and something all Steve Perry fans would probably enjoy. I still think it’s a great song and it showcases his voice perfectly. I’m not sure who is and who isn’t a studio musician on here, but I like that the backing band is mostly intact for this whole recording. It gets a better feel of unity this way. Also, the band members co-wrote the songs with Steve, which further helped integrate the group. Both on the album and live the standout new member was guitarist Lincoln Brewster. Naturally he’s listened to some Neal Schon during his life. It’s obvious. I mean, if I was a rock guitarist in the 80’s I probably would’ve sounded like Schon too, as he’s all I listened to. Brewster actually gets to let out a bunch of good guitar playing all over this album and it’s a nice touch over the keyboard-heavy Street Talk. I assume Perry was aiming more for a “Journey” sound with this one. Regardless, I like Brewster’s playing on this.
The album is a little less eclectic than the last one, and has more moments of cheesiness, but I think overall I like the sound better on this album. Steve Perry does sing better on this one and like I said, there’s more guitar here which pleases me. Yes, there are tracks that I usually skip on here. And truthfully, I don’t usually listen to the whole disc all at once. It’s been a few years since I have. The second half of the disc isn’t as solid as the first and, except for Missing You, just kind of fades down until it’s over. I think Anyway is a bad choice for a closer, but a big part of that is the overall weakness of the 2nd half. Maybe if Perry had used or rerecorded some of the Against the Wall tracks this would be better? I don’t know. I like the production and playing/singing better on this album, but Street Talk stands out as a more cohesive statement. Of course, if you’re a Steve Perry fan you’ll love this. Some songs are just way too cheesy for me, but that’s expected and it doesn’t bother me. I mean, Steve Perry isn’t Journey; Neal Schon was just as important to Journey as Perry was. I think because of the weakness of the 2nd half I like Street Talk better. Still, For the Love of Strange Medicine (yeah, dumb title) is fine if you like Steve Perry.