Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Steve Perry vs. Arnel Pineda
It must have been mid last year when I first heard rumors that American rock band JOURNEY was eager to recruit Pinoy sensation Arnel Pineda to be the group's lead vocalist based on videos posted of Pineda and his band ZOO on YouTube. It seemed no one could verify the story though my friends at the Department of Tourism had received a call from a U.S. music columnist wanting to contact Pineda and to meet up with him for an interview. Months later, that same writer confirmed in confidence that Pineda had flown to the U.S. for his face-to-face audition and had booked the job.
Since then, the world held its breath, wondering if Pineda would do justice to the legacy left behind by Journey's original lead, Steve Perry. Skeptics disagreed with the idea of a Filipino fronting an all-American band (though Steve Perry, Pereira in real life, is of Portuguese ancestry). Today, however, months after the release of JOURNEY's most anticipated album, REVELATION, the reviews on Pineda are glowing.
The Philippine edition of the album carries 2CDs. The first contains all-new tracks featuring the band's newest lead singer while the 2nd are recordings of the hits popularized the Steve Perry's vocals but now reinterpreted through Pineda's.
It is easy to fall into the trap of comparing both lead singers. They are equally gifted tenors with amazing range and depth. Critics are quick to note that of all those who have succeeded Perry as JOURNEY's frontmen (there were 2 beofre Pineda--Steve Augeri and Jeff Scott Soto), the Filipino's voice comes closest to the original. It is almost scary how the timbre is so alike, critics find this to be Pineda's only flaw. However, listening more closely makes evident what Journey's REVELATION is all about--Pineda's vocals are rich and robust, maybe even a tad more than Perry's. That the new vocalist's sound is reminiscent of the original should not rob him of his own talent. In fact, after hearing the new cuts in the album, it has become clear to me--while they unmistakably carry the JOUNEY sound and spirit, I cannot hear Steve Perry in them at all. Arnel Pineda shines through.
Make no mistakes though. I believe there never will be another Steve Perry. He is an icon. But the world has room for another.
JOURNEY's Neal Schon, who thanks God for discovering Pineda on YouTube, says the Filipino's voice has it all, and "all I can say is WOW! It's truly incredible...the man can sing anything and what a deep moving soul he has.''
For his part, Pineda in the album thanks "all my fellow Filipinos around the world who believed in me...MABUHAY TAYONG LAHAT!!!"
Below is a link that compiles JOURNEY's popular tracks recorded 2 decades ago side by side those recorded more recently with Arnel Pineda. When you find the time, get the REVELATION CD as the JOURNEY continues.