In 1979, Journey had became so embedded inside the psyche of America’s youth that it’s safe to guess there wasn’t a single high school prom that didn’t feature “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’” as its slow-dance centerpiece tune. That song (inspired by Sam Cooke’s “Nothin’ Can Change This Love”) helped launch this album, the band’s fifth, into the pop stratosphere, where Journey would stay throughout the '80s. Like the previous year’s Infinity, Evolution was produced by Roy Thomas Baker (The Cars, Queen). Baker helped the band replace their prog-rock obsessions with teen tearjerkers (“Too Late,” “Daydream”), scorching power ballads (“Sweet and Simple”), and riff-heavy hard rockers with massive choruses (“Do You Recall” and the FM-radio classic “Just the Same Way,” sung by former Journey lead singer and band keyboardist Gregg Rolie). Evolution is an incredibly articulated album of pop-rock, and it’s hard not to love. It’s also hard not to appreciate now how Journey (especially the gifted duo of singer Steve Perry and guitarist Neal Schon) were playing with as much passion as rock ’n’ roll in the late '70s would allow.

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