Bernie Journey is a singer/songwriter hailing from New York. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio into a musical environment. He made his first recordings and EP with Lady Gaga’s first producer Joe Vulpis. In 2013, he rose to no.1 on the New York City Dance Charts with singles from his sophomore album release The World In The Eye of The Beholder.
This eponymous debut album has already been released to acclaim from critics and fans but has now been digitally remastered and scheduled for re-release on September 22, 2015. It was produced by Joe Vulpis and Dave ‘The Rave’ Rickard and also contains two new acoustic tracks produced by Peter Litvin, as well as a radio edit to go with the original eight tracks.
His musical style is commercial pop/RnB in the vein of Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake and, in particular, George Michael. Bernie has a distinctive, radio friendly voice and the first track Jump In And Out Of My Love is a fine start to the album. It is a moody, seductive mid paced pop song with a laid back dance groove and a jazzy chord progression. He gives an understated vocal performance that draws you in, backed by subtle synth, strings and acoustic guitar.
Second track Wounded Child has a funky groove, driven along by choppy wah-wah guitar. It has a real 70’s funk sound, aided by some smoky Rhodes piano and a biting lead guitar solo. The string arrangement also adds to the vibe, Bernie delivering some delicately sensual crooning backed by some fine harmonies.
Ran Away From Me continues the soulful feel, this one a slinky track based around a descending chord sequence that adds organ to the musical blend. Lyrically, it’s about being deserted by a lover and there are some strong emotions expressed in the lyrics: “I should try and wish you well, seems all I can do is hope you go to hell…”, then softening the blow with “but maybe that’s going a little bit far…”.
Say A Prayer is a real change of pace, just picked acoustic guitar and a superb vocal performance from Bernie. This kind of song is where he gets to show his songwriting craft, with a well structured chord progression. Lyrically, it is very moving, about remembering a loved one who has passed over: ‘Just remember that they’ve gone to some place better’. A highlight of the album for me. Only My Love returns to the pop/RnB style of earlier tracks while What Happened To Our Love? is a melancholy RnB song with an excellent bassline and nice flourishes of Spanish-style acoustic guitar. It features a very George Michael-style croon from Bernie.
Set Me Free has a nice, swinging RnB groove and a soul/gospel vibe with a reappearance of organ and some wonderfully arranged stacked vocal harmonies. Memories Of You is the original final track of the album and it’s another classy, well written ballad, this one with a decidedly 80’s sounding production. On this re-release there is also a radio edit of Ran Away From Me and lovely acoustic versions of Only My Love and Set Me Free.
Overall, this is a very fine pop album that has been superbly written, performed and produced. Stylistically, it often harks back to the clean, very commercial sound of late 80’s pop music and the recent chart success of Jason Derulo’s 80’s-influenced pop shows perhaps this is a timely re-release.
Verdict: 8.6 out of 10