Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Night Ranger ~ Somewhere In California

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: hard rock
Label: Century Media
Year: 2011
Home: n/a

Members: Jack Blades ~ bass/vocals
Kelly Keagy ~ drums/vocals
Joel Hoekstra ~ guitars
Brad Gillis ~ guitars/vocals
Eric Levy ~ keyboards

NR is one of those bands I never thought I'd be saying I'm listening to their new album. Let alone acknowledge that a new album has brought their name right back into the media like a bomb. Considering, for most of us they're a one hit wonder with "Sister Christian", a song many can't remember until they hear the opening. But, I guess, when it comes to one hit wonders from the past, the rules are broken nowadays & everyone gets a second chance. I've found myself listening to a lot of comebacks, such as Stryper, Tygers of Pang, Cinderella, Journey, Yes, Devo, Heart, The Cars & for the most part many of them have come out with some good music. Though, many of the reunited 80's bands were not very original in the beginning, as let's be honest that hair metal is a limited template few rose above but many imitated too well. So, most of these comebacks sound nothing like the band they once were, even barring new members, ... now they sound like so many of the alt rock heavy metal bands on the scene. So, they go from one cliche to another. It's ashame. Are they that desperate to have a hit that they'd rather sound like everyone else rather than do something that stands out over the long term? Or, at this point do they not care just as long as they can play again? So few are really trying to climb highs. Some have chosen not to change their sound very much, such as the Cars & Devo, but others are just jumping on the bandwagon like they did once upon a time. The high ends up being talk about the comeback, not the music itself. As for the return of NT some reviewers say its a good album. Certainly I agree in the sense that it has some powerful fire breathing guitar solos, courtesy new face Joel Hoekstra of Trans-Siberian Orchestra & the Rock Of Ages Broadway show. But, the material isn't anything necessarily amazing. They've certainly done better & I've read they've done much worse. The material just isn't strong & memorable. It's like many bands - they've come back with a good reinvented sound & really that's all that counts, let alone that they've come back. We give the outcome some slack because the band has done their time & should get some kudos. Though, really, the test of a band will be if we're listening over & over. Then, we give them truly deserved kudos. This is an album for guitar freaks as the fingers fly fast in trills & runs like there's no tomorrow, but its relatively over the top & often shallow & for that I was rather disappointed & I think others will be too. It's the Rock Of Ages world of shallow party rock for the beach. I have trouble finding any soul to connect with to make it more than that. It's not shallow like Kiss's love songs, or overly melodramatic, just a lot of big riffs. There's some fun rock songs (i.e. title track, "Lay It On Me," "Follow Your Heart," "No Time To Lose Ya","Live For Today"), but fun is basically the key word. So, I guess, if you can't get Bon Jovi then get NR for your house party. Of note, this is the first album with guitarist Brad Gillis & keyboardist Eric Levy.

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