Jonathan Cain says his lyrical inspiration for Journey’s ‘Freedom’ album was “heaven sent”


Journey‘s first new studio album in 11 years, Freedom, was released last month.

The 15-track collection was recorded mostly remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, with guitarist Neal Schon overseeing the music with veteran drummer/producer Narada Michael Walden, and keyboardist Jonathan Cain penning just about all of the lyrics.

Cain is a devout Christian who’s released a series of faith-based solo albums in recent years, and he tells ABC Audio that his inspiration for Journey’s new tunes was the same as his spiritual compositions.

“People asked me the other day…’Where do you get your lyric inspiration from?’ I said, ‘God, Holy Spirit,’” Cain reveals. “[H]e’s like [Elton John lyricist] Bernie Taupin for me, you know? He’s right there whenever I need him…And we’ve got a relationship, so a lot of these lyrics on this Journey record, I think, are heaven sent. So, [I’m] happy to be able to crank ’em out.”

Explaining how he collaborated on the Freedom material with Schon and Walden, Jonathan says, “Narada and Neal had some titles they threw out at me…and they had the beginnings of some choruses. And…I just tried to weave them into a lyric and complete it.”

Cain notes that Schon and Walden were the driving creative forces on Freedom, which was fine with him.

“[T]his is pretty much their baby, I would say,” he tells ABC Audio. “[T]hey were pretty relentless with the music and the direction. And I thought, ‘If you’re on a roll, go for it.’”

Describing the sound of the album, Cain says it has moods reminiscent of three of Journey’s biggest albums — 1981’s Escape, 1983’s Frontiers and 1986’s Raised on the Radio — plus “a little bit of [1978’s] Infinity in places.”


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