The road, as crowded or as open as it may be, is a blank canvas for new memories. As I would often write, each new drive will holds unique meaning. One drive may find you on your way to a job interview. Another drive may be your first out-of-town trip with a new girlfriend or boyfriend. Another drive may just be an ordinary commute home from work.
Music is the primer for this canvas. Itʼs a foundation on which those conversations, illuminations, and arguments in the car can lie on. It can even function as a primary form of inspiration for what happens on the road. One such band that has played the primer for many, perhaps millions, of these road trips is the band Journey.
Funny how Iʼd choose the band Journey, a band not really known for its lyrical or musical depth. Letʼs remember that a band like Journey needs no further introduction here in the Philippines. It is a preset, go-to band for many radio stations catering to a more adult crowd. To be honest, I wonʼt be surprised hearing Journey as I get into a jeep, a taxi, or a UV. It uses a proven arena rock formula: large drums, large guitars, large vocals, and even larger hairstyles. The sound and popularity of this American classic had only been amplified when they recruited the Filipino Arnel Pineda when 80s rock icon Steve Perry left the band later on. As one of the biggest bands of the 80s, Journey is one of the perfect rock bands for any road trip—big or small.
The band was composed of session musicians who would cater to the likes of Santana. With studio-level technical ability and a natural ability to conjure up the catchiest of melodies, Journey has created some of the most popular songs of all time. Their songs are highly kinetic, evocative of soaring movement. Taking “the midnight train going anywhere” is just a direct reference to such movement. Most of their songs are love songs, on its own a trope in mainstream music. Iʼve lost count of how many times Iʼve heard “Open Arms” and “Faithfully” on the radio, in different modes of transportation. One of my most avid memories of the band is through the film Yes Man starring Jim Carrey, where the song “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” is featured heavily. One scene has Carreyʼs character cruising down a highway on a motorbike to that song, a scene that has stuck with me as both powerful and comical, given the context of the film.
The music of Journey, like every great band, has become the soundtrack of the lives of millions. It helps that their music is full of energy and is versatile for all kinds of listeners. Of course, the band may not have the same cultural significance for a younger generation, but it is still comes into the open arms of many. It goes without saying that their songs are terrific songs for the road.
A couple of sweet Journey tracks to add to your driving playlist: