Journey

The name of the band shouted-out on the poster in the first panel is actually just “Blotto“. They had an album called Hello, My Name is Blotto, What’s Yours? (1980). That’s probably what caused my confusion. One of the hairy Journey dudes in the poster had a “Hello My Name Is Blotto” sticker on his chest. “Blotto” has hand-written. Who knows, maybe it was a cheapo promotion for Blotto’s first EP. I would bet my right arm that this is the most anyone has ever thought about the matter.

Blotto’s “I Wanna Be A Lifeguard” aired on MTV’s first day of broadcast. Compare with whatever is currently playing on MTV, right now. See which one has musical instruments being played. See also which one makes you less want to kill yourself.

I have the Journey: Escape 2600 game on my Flashback Portable, a gadget I bought for $50 while missing my dad this past Fathers’ Day. My friend and I didn’t pay anywhere near that much for the original cartridge, which was discounted, but that was the average cost for 2600 games when they were new. After I downloaded a folder onto a 2GB SD card, the Flashback’s game count went up to almost 700. More than half are still playable and entertaining; the primitive aesthetic and loud colors look nicer on a tiny screen than they ever did on a big TV. Before you ask, yes, the folder includes E.T., which I played out of curiosity and won, after consulting the manual on-line. It’s more fun than that Raiders of the Lost Ark game, which I still found impossible, or the original Pac-Man disaster, which isn’t even included. It’s replaced by a more-than-serviceable version like the old Atari 800XL had, or the 5200. The old one was so terrible it was erased… from existence.

Journey: Escape is equally terrible.

This is why there was a videogame crash. Parents paid full price for these things, which the kids had to oftentimes pretend they enjoyed playing, to avoid getting screamed at. This wasn’t the pussified world kids inhabit in 2018, where raising your voice to a child is tantamount to molesting them. This was the early motherfucking 1980s. If you disrespected your parents, your eardrums were in for a serious lashing. They worked for a living. 

Also, the 2600 console was hooked up to the TV, which meant when Mom or Dad wanted to watch the news, playtime was over. Now, roughly 35 years later, you can have hundreds of these games and a doodad to play them on for the original retail price of one game. You may not believe this, but there was a time when portable game devices were not ubiquitous. There were actually extended periods where no one utilized any sort of electronic device whatsoever. Walkie-talkies were considered a big deal.

Before there was a television program called Glee, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” was a much less hateable song. Bret Easton Ellis, writer of American Psycho and Less Than Zero, controversially described Glee as “a puddle of HIV”. This is:

  1. funny
  2. accurate

Go ahead, tell me something good that came out of Glee. I’ll wait. Tell you what; I’ll settle for something not overtly evil, then. Still nothing?

Back to Journey; they contributed two songs to the 1982 TRON soundtrack. Both are good, if not as transcendent as Wendy Carlos’ Moog-and-orchestra score. “1990s Theme” is the one that plays while Jeff Bridges plays Space Paranoids in his arcade. When this was recorded, the 1990s were the future.

Pretty decent, huh? I mean yeah, those sound effects are kind of awful, but like I said, this was a vision of the future from the early 80s. It doesn’t diminish the fact that Wendy Carlos’ score is one of the greatest in film history.

Imagine hearing this in full stereo, in a darkened theater.

What happened to that Disney, huh? Where’d that go? How can we have that back?

The entire soundtrack is like that. It’s superb, and I’m glad it’s gotten it’s due in the past few years. People used to look at me like I was crazy when I listened to it.

Can you believe the atmosphere created just in that one track? The variation of texture and timbre? Watch the movie, if you haven’t already. How much is the experience enhanced by the music? Tremendously, yes? How good would a TRON movie be with a lesser score? I think the sequel answered that question.

Nothing in TRON: Legacy was anywhere near that good. The closer features the majestic Royal Albert Hall Organ, the second-largest pipe organ in the United Kingdom, played by organist Martin Neary (1:38 in the below video).

I don’t know what else to say about Journey that I haven’t said already. Their video game made it easier to remember the band members’ names. I sincerely doubt that was its intended effect. The original arcade game used tiny pictures of their faces. People who market pop bands come up with some stupid shit.

Comments Off on Journey

Filed under Animation Analysis, Bad Influences, Comix Classic & Current, Faint Signals, Movies You Missed, Nostalgic Obsessions, Saturday Movie Matinee, Thousand Listen Club