If I have learned to live intensely, it has been through music. As a companion, lover, confidant or even as an enemy, the soundtrack of my life is reflected in hundreds of records.
But there are few heroes that I admire, in this personal mural of sound photographs, as I have since I was a kid, the way I do with STEVE PERRY. Beyond his legendary vocal capacity, what bound me to him irremediably was his way of transmitting and adapting to my emotional needs every time he decided to caress the air with his syllables in cotton notes.
Traces is not an album as usual, especially for Journey fans. This band has its own purpose, more or less correct with their new recordings. For the lovers of those yearning for the eighties or to prolong a party of people who reach the new thirties (placebo for the everlasting «forties»), why would we fool ourselves if it’s not its destiny. To show love, sometimes we must let go, stop clinging to the ideal moment that made us fall on our knees and step into reality.
Traces is an album for the general public, far more general than ever, that should receive it as a manna before the prefabrication of already inert stars before they shine, and, I fear, it will be a disc rejected by a huge number of defenders of the most intransigent redoubt I know: the fans of the concrete moment, of the glorious past.
After crossing worldly borders, abandoning the commercial and business path, the analysis transcends and, without a doubt, that is the purpose of the album:
Traces is an organism in constant evolution within a reduced habitat, bound for a greater expression. Traces is LOVE, loss, reunion and love again. Traces has its history and awe (I invite you to look for the words of the artist). Traces feeds on overcoming and moves to corners where we can live in intimacy. Traces is tragedy and victory, life beyond life, its end and the cycle of repopulation of a new existence.
Musically it is a tribute to the influence of his luggage: I Need You, cover of THE BEATLES, and the exhibition, as a collection of five bonus tracks that discovers him from an American crooner in October In New York to Motown sound in Angel Eyes, passing, for example, the Call On Me Reggae or another demonstration of tenacity in the search of the perfect velvet caresses, as evidenced by Blue Jays Fly. A tribute where the Rock (No Erasing and Sun Shines Gray, the latter with John 5 on guitar, are destined to partially calm that anxiety) is, in general terms, inconsequential, so that the Soul or the Blues that have always accompanied him (No More Crying, Easy To Love), recreate atmospheres of sincerity.
Lyrically it makes us participants of these last years of his life, where the person has surpassed the artist and its expression makes it impossible for me not to suffer, sweetly, with a simple but precious, relaxed instrumentation, articulated to settle in the heart. We’re Still Here, Most of All, In The Rain, You Belong To Me or We Fly, are like delicate silk to wrap up with an autumn of grays and ocher evocative.
And the voice, the great mystery that has fed countless rumors, presuppositions and various absurdities, is still THE VOICE. The eternal timbre to the limit of the emotion and the necessary breathing in its delivery, panting. This time nonstop in unnecessary past trips. With one foot in his present age (exciting I must say, wonderfully limited and broken at the whim of feeling) and the other in the warmth of familiarity and its many resources of wisdom. Steve Perry has done what few musicians would dare to do, without clinging only to the deterrent barrier of studio magic.
Traces, like that love we will always remember, needs adversity, short distances and above all understanding.
I must also tell you that my words should not deceive you, that it is not a masterpiece per se, it is a record in which you have to find yourself to raise the importance Traces needs.
LETTER TO STEVE PERRY, THE PERSON:
My most heartfelt congratulations, Mr. Perry, and welcome.
Unbeknownst to you, we have made a long trip together. We have sat face to face so many times, that I even believed I had caressed the infinite. We have fallen in love as many times as our hearts have broken. We have cried together, we have recovered and then danced until overcome with laughter to realize again that, if something were missing, life would provide.
For many, we know how many years we have distanced ourselves. I never let you go completely. I always took refuge in the taste of the memories you gave me, not to forget who we were and thanks to what we learned, who we are, thanks to the love of a rare medicine that you distilled to enchant me for life.
I respect your decision and did not even look for you. I heard, not many moons ago, that like a gentleman you shook hands with your companions in one of those events that you have always shied away from in past decades. I’m not going to lie, I shuddered for a few seconds, but I did not get excited. I just felt joy to see you in good shape.
And then the news came to me. Without notice. Your voice came back to me and after a few measures I rejected it. If it was going to be true, I wanted to give my opinion with frontality and not react like a fifteen-year-old before an unexpected kiss.
There were successes, interviews, confirmations and finally the edition of Traces. That was the moment in which I booked time for an old friend, in the heat of confidence, to face the present and without knowing very well, despite the rumors, who I was going to meet.
Then I heard your story. You had changed but your recognized yourself in every word. Again I cried at your side and I understood you. I assimilated your situation and, disinterestedly, I lent you my shoulder and my heart. I give thanks.
I never expected this and have received much more than I think I deserve: sincerity.
Now you are once again by my side, wiser, closer and although we do not stop believing, our faith shines more real, more human.
If I admired you before, now my respect does not need more support.
We both know who we should thank for your decision, and surely, wherever she is, she will consider his promise fulfilled.
Jesús Alijo «Lux»