“Journey was formed originally as a vehicle for Neal Schon’s guitar pyrotechnics, but after five years the band sought out a lead singer to give them mainstream pop appeal, and Steve Perry did that, helping them to a string of seven consecutive multi-platinum albums before the band broke up in 1987. A 1996 reunion put them back in the winners’ circle with Trial by Fire, but Perry then bowed out for health reasons, putting Journey in the sticky position of recruiting a new lead singer” (Ruhlmann). “They chose a soundalike, Steve Augeri, which suggests that they are more concerned with recreating their hits in concert than in making new music” (Ruhlmann).
But make new music they did. If 1996’s reunion seemed unlikely after a ten-year absence, a new Journey album without Steve Perry seemed an even more improbable venture. However, with Agueri and new drummer Deen Castronovo, who’d worked with Journey’s Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain in the short-lived supergroup Bad English in the late-‘80s and early-‘90s, Journey did return to the fold with Arrival. “A group of Journey’s vintage always risks sounding like a copy band of itself, and Arrival…realizes that danger. The singer doesn’t quite have Perry’s smooth, flowing tenor, but he’s close enough so that much of the time, especially in big arrangements, he can fool you, though at unadorned moments on ballads he sounds different” (Ruhlmann). Still, “Augeri’s debut…was heroic, his performances on the classy ballads All the Way [a minor AC hit] and Loved by You measuring up to Perry’s superhuman standards” (ClassicRockMagazine.com).
“When [Augeri’s] not singing, the music is even more like Journey, with Schon’s soaring leads supported by Jonathan Cain’s bright keyboards in typical arena rock arrangements. It’s hard to argue that the generalized romantic sentiments that make up the lyrics, here contributed by a variety of people including Augeri and Cain’s wife, are any worse than Perry’s, but Perry sang his words with more feeling than Augeri does. So, the new Journey turns out to be a half-step back to the old (make that the old, old Journey – pre-Perry, when Schon ruled)” (Ruhlmann).
“The album was originally first released in Japan in late 2000, but due to its leakage onto the Internet, the band decided to delay its release in the United States” (JourneyMusic.com). “Rock fans were more satisfied with songs like Higher Place” (JourneyMusic.com), a thought voiced by “fans who heard the leaked version of Arrival” (JourneyMusic.com). As a result of the feedback, “the band decided to record two harder rocking songs” (JourneyMusic.com), which resulted in “two new tracks on the American release, World Gone Wild and Nothin’ Comes Close” (JourneyMusic.com).