As I had mentioned previously, 2004 was going to be a big year for Jeff Scott Soto. His introduction to Neal Schon during NAMM in January 2004, was the sign. Schon played on and co-wrote a song on his solo album, ‘Lost in the Translation’, which we are reviewing now and it led to a new band later that year and the Journey frontman shortly after that. Before we get ahed of ourselves, let us focus on the solo album first. And there is a live album to come out before Schon’s stuff as well.
‘Lost in the Translation’ is Jeff’s third solo album and what a step up from the prior two. He still had his good buddies playing on it – Howie Simon and Gary Schutt on guitar duty and Glen Sobel on drums and a guest appearance by Mr. Schon himself. It was a solid line-up, a solid album and would see Jeff head out on a full world tour that would last for 35 gigs and hit 4 continents that would run from August to November of 2004. Jeff was hitting his stride, finding his footing and the world was learning who he was. I know I did because it was this album and Talisman’s ‘Cats & Dogs’ where I discovered the greatness that is Jeff Scott Soto all thanks to Andrew McNiece at MelodicRock.com. Also, note the cover photo and under his right arm is Jeff’s autograph. This is one of the 5 albums I had him sign when I met him back in April 2022. Really Cool!!
The first track and single is “Believe in Me”. It was co-written by Jeff along with Neal Schon. I told you they began a great relationship…fruitful already. And let me tell you, it could be a Journey song. Not a ballad either, one of the rocking tracks. The opening guitar riff is cool as Schon shreds it. Jeff’s vocals are so smooth and melodic and you know what, he would sound great singing Journey songs…maybe that will happen!! (maybe real soon). You had Glen Sobel on drums and Jeff on bass and everyone sounded tight and laid down a great rhythm. A totally stellar track and very radio friendly even though no radio around here played it!
Next up is the an even better track with “Soul Divine” with an edgier guitar sound and a heavier track layered with that powerhouse vocals of Mr. Soto. The chorus is more contagious than Covid as you get hooked right away when you breath it in. This smooth and powerful song is melodic rock at its best. Howie Simon gets a co-write on this one which is nice to see.
“Drowning” is even heavier with a whole Ozzy feel to that opening riff. Simon outdoes himself on this one. Probably the heaviest song on the album and we are all better for it. But don’t worry, it might be heavy but those slick vocals from Soto slice right through it. Another memorable chorus that’ll have you singing it long after its over.
Then we get all saccharined up with the first of three ballads on the main album. “If This is the End” starts off with a slow tempo guitar picking and then Jeff’s vocals softly, yet smoothly float over the verses. Around the 2nd verse, the drums kick in and some electric guitar riffs tossed in. It does pick up a little on the tempo and when it hits that second chorus Jeff’s vocals soar to new heights. Not one of his best ballads, but I like it as it does have a decent solo and is more proof that Jeff can do it all.
The title track, “Lost in the Translation”, brings the rock back and in a big way. More great guitar playing by Howie, he out does himself on this album. It also has some great layered vocals and Jeff even on backing vocals too, but there is something missing that doesn’t take the song to another level. Not a bad song by any means, but pales a little to those 3 opening tracks.
“Doin’ Time” comes pounding in the Sobel’s drum and the song does have a great killer groove as Soto’s bass work is pretty good on this one. That guitar solo is one of the better ones on the album actually as it is heavy, flashy and nasty at the same time. Jeff’s “Oh’s, Oh’s” after it are spot on and the song delivers on all fronts.
Gary Schutt finally comes in the picture with a co-write and some guitar work with “High Time”. The song is a happier sounding song and a great one to sing-a-long too with a crowd. It borders cheesy and a little generic, but is actually a really fun, high energy track.
“Beginning 2 End” is the next ballad and this one is accompanied by a piano (by Mr. Soto). His vocals are tender and heartfelt. The chorus builds and is a little more explosive. Guitar work is handled by Alex Llorens and is minimal, yet effective and that solo is perfect for the song and not all flashy. Glen Sobel’s drum give the song enough punch to be effective without being overbearing.
“On My Own” is a heavy, modern rock song. The guitar riffs have a nasty grit to it by Howie and his solo is a frenzy of notes played at break-neck speed. Jeff attacks the lyrics with a lot of passion and anger. And that chorus just soars. A dark, heavier track that is quite different than what we are used to but it is welcomed with open arms.
Then with “Find Our Way” we continue the rock, but back to the melodic rock we expect from Jeff and company. More great guitar work by Howie Simon, as he has really shined on this album. Another solid track.
On the last ballad, we get the acoustic masterpiece, “Sacred Eyes”. Another co-write for Gary Schutt and his guitar work on here is the star next to those incredible Soto vocals. Jeff lays it all out there and no denying the power in that voice. When it is time for his vocals to be front and center, he never fails. Don’t forget Mr. Sobel as his percussion work is the back drop that holds everything together. One of my favorite tracks on the album.
The final track is actual a bonus track on the original album called “Dulce Lady”. This is a very Talisman type song and I wonder if it is a leftover track. Either way, a typical melodic rock track, but a little lackluster and nothing outstanding. Would be the only song I might skip from time to time.
- Believe in Me – Keeper
- Soul Divine – Keeper
- Drowning – Keeper
- If This is the End – Keeper
- Lost in the Translation – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- Doin’ Time – Keeper
- High Time – Keeper
- Beginning 2 End – Keeper
- On My Own – Keeper
- Find My Way – Keeper
- Sacred Eyes – Keeper
- Dulce Lady – Delete
The Track Score is 10.5 out of 12 Tracks or 88%. I am biased on this album since it was my first Soto solo album therefore it is a favorite of mine. I would say there are some classic songs on here with “Believe In Me”, “Soul Divine” and “Drowning” and then some great ballads with “Sacred Eyes” and “If This is the End. It is probably the one solo album I listen to the most and why it gets a great score. My Overall Score is 5.0 Out of 5.0 Stars. He really outdoes himself with this one and has really come in to his own. I think this is the start of Jeff really pushing himself and finding his voice and we are all better for it.
Now, my copy of the album is a re-issue, “Special Edition”, copy with 5 bonus tracks. Three of which are from the ‘Believe in Me’ E.P. and 1 new unreleased track and then an acoustic version of a song on the album. The tracks are as follows…
- Turned the Page
- As I Do 2 U
- This Ain’t The Love
- Lonely Shade of Blue
- Soul Divine (Acoustic)
The first of the bonus tracks is an unreleased track called “Turned the Page”. There were 13 songs produced for the album and only 12 released, this was the lone holdover that was left off the album. And for good reason. Although it is a good song, the album had enough of this style already included. It is a melodic rocker and everything sounds great, but nothing new to offer.
The next track is one of two demos from a project that never got off the ground called Three Kings. It had Jamie Borger (drummer for Talisman) and Goran Elmquist. The first track is called “As I Do 2 U” and it is an acoustic ballad. Being a demo, it feels unfinished but it isn’t half bad. A little cheesy, but there are elements there that could’ve turned in to something nice.
The second Three Kings demo is called “This Ain’t the Love” and yes, another ballad and yes, acoustic. Some nice echo added to Jeff’s vocals for dramatic effect at certain times. A more serious sounding song and less cheesy. A very soft, tender hearted track and with a little work could be something special. Around two minutes, Jamie’s drums come in the song gets a little punchier. A nice track.
There was another project Jeff worked on for years called Slam and nothing was ever released. Now, we get a demo from that project called “Lonely Shade of Blue”. And yes, it is another ballad, but this is the best one so far. And you won’t believe me, but it is acoustic too. This one feels like it was from the late 80’s, early 90’s (and probably was recorded back then). Very Danger Danger like to me. But it is the chorus and Jeff’s vocals that are the winner. Very contagious, very catchy and memorable. Jeff’s vocals are all falsetto and smooth as silk. And there is a saxophone added for good measure (not very Danger Danger like). On a side note, Jeff did record this song with his band Takara during the 90’s.
The final track is an acoustic track for the incredible song “Soul Divine” from the album. It has a whole tribal drum feel and then some brilliant acoustical guitars. It sounds like they are performing live and I am guessing Howie Simon on backing vocals as well. There is nothing in the notes that tell me where and when they performed this, but that’s okay because it is totally brilliant.
And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the deep dive in to the Special Edition version of “Lost in the Translation”. See you next week for some Queen Covers.
UP NEXT: JEFF SCOTT SOTO – LIVE AT THE QUEEN CONVENTION (2004)
THE JEFF SCOTT SOTO SERIES:
- Panther – ‘Panther’ (1986) – recorded in 1984
- Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Rising Force’ (1984)
- Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Marching Out’ (1985)
- Kuni – ‘Lookin’ For Action’ (1988)
- Kryst the Conqueror – ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ (1989) / ‘Soldiers of Light: The Complete Recordings (2019)
- Eyes – ‘Eyes’ (1990)
- Eyes – “Nobody Said It Was Easy” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
- Talisman – ‘Talisman’ (1990)
- Talisman – “I’ll Be Waiting” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
- Skrapp Mettle – ‘Sensitive’ (1991)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Eternal Prisoner’ (1992)
- Bakteria – ‘Deficate! Suffocate! Mutilate! Masturbate!’ (1992 / 2009)
- Eyes – ‘Windows of the Soul’ (1993)
- Talisman – ‘Genesis’ (1993)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘The Ballads’ (1993)
- Biker Mice From Mars – ‘Biker Mice From Mars (Soundtrack)’ (1993)
- Takara – ‘Eternal Faith’ (1993)
- Talisman – ‘5 Out Of 5 (Live in Japan)’ (1994)
- Talisman – ‘Humanimal’ (1994)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Between the Walls’ (1994)
- Gary Schutt – ‘Sentimetal’ (1994)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Love Parade’ (1994)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Made in Germany (Live)’ (1995)
- Takara – ‘Taste of Heaven’ (1995)
- Talisman – ‘Life’ (1995)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Black Moon Pyramid’ (1996)
- Human Clay – ‘Human Clay’ (1996)
- Talisman – ‘Best of’ (1996)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Magic’ (1997)
- Human Clay – ‘U4IA’ (1997)
- Boogie Knights – ‘Welcome to the Jungle Boogie’ (1997)
- Takara – ‘Blind in Paradise’ (1998)
- Talisman – ‘Truth’ (1998)
- ‘Rock Star: Music from the Motion Picture (Soundtrack)’ – Various Artists (2001)
- Humanimal – ‘Humanimal’ (2002)
- Humanimal – Find My Way Home: Limited Edition E.P. (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Holding On E.P.’ (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Prism’ (2002)
- Talisman – ‘Live at Sweden Rock Festival’ (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘JSS Live at the Gods 2002’ (2003)
- Talisman – ‘Cats & Dogs’ (2003)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Believe in Me E.P.’ (2004
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Lost in the Translation’ (2004)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at the Queen Convention 2003’ (2004)
- Soul Sirkus – ‘World Play’ (2004/2005)
- Talisman – ‘Five Men Live’ (2005)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Essential Ballads’ (2006)
- Talisman – ‘7’ (2006)
- Journey – ‘Live from Atlanta (Bootleg)’ (2006)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘B-Sides’ (2006)
- Redlist – ‘Ignorance’ (2007)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Beautiful Mess’ (2009)
- Jeff Scott Soto – “21st Century” / “Gin & Tonic Sky” CD Single (2009) – Bonus Edition
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘One Night in Madrid’ (2009)
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra – ‘Night Castle’ (2009)
- W.E.T. – ‘W.E.T.’ (2009)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at Firefest 2008’ (2010)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Damage Control’ (2012)
- W.E.T. – ‘Rise’ (2013)
- W.E.T. – ‘One Live in Stockholm’ (2014)
- SOTO – ‘Inside the Vertigo’ (2015)
- SOTO – ‘Divak’ (2016)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Retribution’ (2017)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘Psychotic Symphony’ (2017)
- W.E.T. – ‘Earthrage’ (2018)
- SOTO – ‘Origami’ (2019)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘Live With the Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony’ (2019)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Wide Away (In My Dreamland)’ (2020)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live and Loud in Milan 2019’ (2020)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘MMXX’ (2020)
- SOTO – ‘Revision’ (2020)
- W.E.T. – ‘Retransmission’ (2021)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘The Duets Collection, Vol. 1’ (2021)
- Jeff Scott Soto / Jason Bieler – Live In Concert (2022) – Bonus Edition