Tonight my friend Conrad and I went to a “No Shame” sing-a-long. We were given props (a tambourine and a inflatable microphone), and then sang along to two hours of songs you’re supposed to be ashamed of loving. There were a lot of Phil Collins and Billy Joel songs, which meant I was all, “I FUCKING LOVE THIS SONG!” just about every time a song popped up on the screen. I don’t know what that says about me. The crowd was exceedingly lame though- it was a smaller group, and they weren’t even singing along to “Don’t Stop Believing.” I mean, come on! Who doesn’t sing along to that song?!
I love Journey, in the “I haven’t listened to any full studio albums and only know the greatest hits” kind of way. But I love the shit out of those greatest hits. Just about all of these hits have Steve Perry as the front man, so it’s really easy to forget that he wasn’t the original lead singer.
Last weekend, I found myself in a car with my parents at like 5:30 in the morning (long story). During that sleepy car ride, this song came on. I vaguely recognized it until the chorus and Steve Perry’s angel-blessed vocals kicked in. Then I thought, “Why don’t I ever listen to this song?” and when I had access to a computer, I later played it like thirty times.
I wonder if it was awkward for the original vocalist, Gregg Rolie, to cede singing duties over to Steve Perry. When I hear this song, in my mind, Gregg Rolie is just singing and doing his thing, and then Steve Perry springs out of nowhere, like a jack in the box, and hogs the spotlight from everyone else in the band as he sings. I know Gregg Rolie played piano, so this image is not realistic at all. It just seems funnier to me that way.
I love this song shamelessly. Sure, it’s a cheesy song. The verse is a 70’s-era Chicago rip-off, which confused me into thinking it was Chicago when I first heard the verse. (I even looked up to see if Gregg Rolie was in the 80’s incarnation of Chicago. Spoiler alert – he wasn’t). And the lyrics are hokey in that 70’s AM radio sort of way. “A new road’s waiting/you touched my life/soft and warm on a summer’s night.” Poetic.
But I don’t care how lame this song is or isn’t. All I know is when the drums kick in to the chorus and Steve Perry does his very earnest singing in a pitch too high for me to sing along to, I get that warm, fuzzy, “Fuck, I love this song” feeling.
It’s a shame that this song was not included in the sing-a-along. Because I would have sung it proudly, and no shame would have been shed.