Journey have returned with “The Way We Used To Be”, their first new music since 2011. The song marks the band’s first release with its revamped lineup, including returning bassist Randy Jackson of American Idol fame.
The track is classic Journey, featuring soaring arena rock guitar riffs and bombastic synths. It imagines a world in which the COVID-19 pandemic is entirely over. “We’re in this together/ It’s about what we choose,” sings Arnel Pineda. “Our fears we have got to let go/ As long as there’s me and you.”
In a statement, founding member and lead guitarist Neal Schon broke down how “The Way We Used To Be” was made:
“I laid down the keyboard loop with over-dubbed rhythm and a little blues lead guitar and sent to Jonathan. He sent it back very shortly after with demo vocals and lyrics and I said to myself with a smile — we’ve still got it! I felt Jonathan nailed the lyrics and melody with haunting chorus ‘got to get back’ — ‘to the way we used to be.'”
Schon further explained the song is a “complete new beginning chapter” for Journey, with the band collectively writing and working together. They have over 26 songs written for their upcoming album and are whittling it down to 10 or 12.
“The Way We Used To Be” is the first studio recording with the band for recently added members Narada Michael Walden (drums) and Jason Derlatka (keyboards, backing vocals). Jackson last contributed to new Journey material on 1986’s Raised On Radio.
Walden and Derlatka joined Journey after founding bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith were fired from the band in March 2020. Schon and longtime keyboardist/pianist Jonathan Cain, who hold the rights to the Journey name, accused Valory and Smith of attempting a “corporate coup d’état” to take the brand for themselves.
Watch Journey’s animated “The Way We Used To Be” video below.