A Short Trip, A Long Journey

As we wind down our Hommage a Fromage rundown of artists rocking out in the convincing guise of other artists, here are impressively maned pop metalists Giuffria, reading the 1984 zeitgeist:

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(Not gonna make fun of the hair and fashions in that video; that’s the easiest target out there. But I am smirking a bit.) And Giuffria read the times well: “Call to the Heart” was the biggest hit for this not-quite-hair-metal outfit, reaching 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. And that’s largely because it sounded as much as they could manage like this popular not-at-all-hair-metal outfit:

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“Call to the Heart” starts out with some keyboard chords and a soggy-sounding piano, very 1980s, and then singer David Glen Eisley jumps in. With both feet. And if he’s gonna do Journey, it’s clear immediately that he has the first and best qualification: a range similar to Steve Perry’s. Perry spent the ’70s and ’80s one of rock’s best singers, but, even as successful as Journey was, he was not often imitated because of his effortlessly vast range, with power all the way up and down the scale. (One imagines a million garage band singers wanting to take a shot at “Open Arms” or “Faithfully” and then realizing exactly what they’d gotten themselves into.)

So Eisley starts out in a comfortable spot to be that rare Journey impressionist. Maybe a bit too comfortable. Nobody ever (even once) called Steve Perry a subtle vocalist, but Eisley is on the punching, pushing attack within the first few lines. And they are these lines:

Get back on my feet again,
Now I’m lost in your world,
And there’s no simple way to let you go,
When you’ve been such a part of me
And though you choose to walk a separate road.
I still believe in you.

That is a heap of cliches even Journey might have hesitated to throw out there, but, Perry-like, Eisley makes as much of them as he can.

And you know, on its own terms, forgetting the existence of Steve Perry for a moment, this is a heck of a rock vocal. Sure, it’s in the service of a really stupid song, albeit a well played one; Chuck Knight’s bass is particularly nice. But Eisley is totally committed. He’s determined to fit every single thing he’s able to do into five minutes of generic radio metal pop. Sure, he’s driving a beater, but he’s gonna slam it into top gear and keep it there, and take it right over a cliff if necessary.

Objectively, there’s really no excuse for “Call to Your Heart,” an accidental hit because it happened to sound a lot like another, better band, by an outfit that never again charted higher than 57. But you know, heck if it doesn’t grow on you. There is something very engaging in Eisley’s pigheaded determination to make something of this ridiculous song. He very nearly does it.

About Bridey

Bridey has been a music nut since falling in love with Elton John's "Caribou" album in grade school (why that one? I was nine). She's a magazine editor by trade who writes regularly about radio, music, and related industries.
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