I love Christmas, and I love Steve Perry. Therefore, when I heard that the golden-voiced singer was releasing a Christmas album, I was ecstatic. Let’s dive into The Season, Steve Perry’s first full-length foray into timeless Christmas classics.
A few years back, when Steve Perry made his triumphant return to music, I reviewed his comeback album, Traces. I thought it was a brilliant effort, and I love the mature, rich sound of his voice. In fact, I prefer it to the stratospheric heights of his vocal ability back when he was Journey’s lead singer.
Speaking of Journey, I remember when I first discovered them, late at night, in bed down at the Jersey Shore, gazing out the window, with my headphones on, listening to Journey’s Greatest Hits CD — spellbound by Steve Perry’s otherworldly vocals, Neal Schon’s soaring guitar, and Jonathan Cain’s infectiously melodic piano. It quickly cemented Journey and Steve Perry as my favorite musical artists, second only to KISS and Barry Manilow, respectively.
Now, it’s 2021, and Steve Perry’s The Season is upon us. Read on for my thoughts on each track, followed by my overall opinion on the album, including whether or not it’s worthy of holiday cheer.
“The Christmas Song” — When I told my cousin about this album, he excitedly said, “I hope he sings chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” I said, “As a matter of fact, ‘The Christmas Song’ is the first track on the album. As expected, it’s simply beautiful, with Steve Perry’s heavenly voice making every word as rich and pleasing as a piece of Godiva chocolate.
“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” — The origins of this song are of a sad nature, as it is sung from the point of view of a solider who is at war and unable to be home for Christmas. Steve Perry’s rendition is both romantic and somber: a fitting tribute to the 1943 song originally made famous by Bing Crosby.
“Auld Lang Syne” — I was surprised and delighted to see the inclusion of this song. Steve Perry’s haunting vocals make for an impactful listen that I thoroughly enjoy.
“Winter Wonderland” — A mellow version of this Christmas classic with Steve Perry’s vocals front and center, “Winter Wonderland” is a pleasurable listening experience.
“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” — The first time I fell in love with this song was after I heard Barry Manilow’s magnificent version of it, which is the definitive rendition, as far as I’m concerned. Steve Perry’s take, like the majority of this album, is very romantic, with a delicate, minimalist arrangement, and an emotive vocal delivery.
“Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” — This is, perhaps, the most unique cover on The Season because of Steve Perry’s R&B infused take, which is perfect, considering how much of an influence Sam Cooke had on Steve Perry as a musician and vocalist. A true delight on an album filled with wonderful presents.
“Silver Bells” — As a child, this was my favorite Christmas song. Steve Perry does a marvelous job of exuding the joy that this standard, when sung well, can generate. The last minute-and-a-half features a lovely riff reflective of everything I adore about Steve Perry’s musical ability.
“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” — As an adult, this might be my favorite Christmas song. Hearing Steve Perry sing it like the master that he is, is an ebullient experience. If anything, it’s so good that I wish it were the full version of this holiday track, rather than an abridged interpretation.
The Season is Steve Perry at his finest. With only eight songs, it clocks in at just over 25 minutes. Let’s hope this is just a preamble to what “The Voice” has in store for us. Nevertheless, on its own, The Season is a splendid selection of songs that Steve Perry has made his own, ushering in the holiday season with a Christmas album I will listen to for years to come.