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 Post subject: Night Ranger: Somewhere in California
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:56 pm 
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Released: 2011
Label: Frontiers
Produced by Night Ranger

Personnel:
Jack Blades – vocals, bass
Brad Gillis – guitar
Joel Hoekstra – guitar
Eric Levy – keyboards
Kelly Keagy – vocals, drums

Night Ranger are one of those dependable bands, when I hear they’re putting out a new album I smile, because even though I’m not always blown away by what I hear, I’m rarely disappointed either. With some groups, it’s all about percentages.

That said, their previous album Hole in the Sun, didn’t garner much repeat airplay with me. I found the songs just didn’t have the usual Night Ranger hooks that keep the tunes swimming in your head.

Somewhere in California sounds like NR have learned the valuable lesson many of their peers learned; it’s always better to sound like yourself.

1) Growin’ up in California – Some squalling guitar lets you know that Gillis in the house. Essentially this song is a rewrite of “You Can Still Rock in America” but that’s fine with me. In the storytelling vein of Aerosmith’s “No Surprize,” this basically tells the tale of how the band came to be. Fun tune. They made a video for it too (and exactly when did that become noteworthy anyway?)
2) Lay it on Me – Wow, this one’s heavy. Almost an AC/DC feel here. Big shout-along chorus. Blazing guitars. It’s a shame we don’t have Gillis and Watson shredding together anymore, but Gillis and Hoekstra do a fine job thank you. Not a lot of keyboards, hopefully Eric plays guitar too 
3) Bye Bye Baby (Not Tonight) – I like how one melody gives way to another before the verse comes in. Lyrically this one is very reminiscent of “Don’t Start Thinking (I’m Alone Tonight)” from the most underrated Night Ranger album, Man in Motion. As a matter of fact, the chorus hook (“bye bye baby, bye bye”) originates from the bridge of that song. Doesn’t make it a ripoff necessarily, just mining from a similar melodic vein.
4) Follow Your Heart – I’m not going to check, but at 6:45 this must be one of Night Ranger’s longest songs, with the possible exception of their namesake song from Dawn Patrol. Heavy verses burst into a melodic yet strong chorus. Nice hypnotic twin lead melody that comes and goes throughout. The guitarists jam their faces off at the end, in reality the song doesn’t need to be as long as it is, but personally I enjoy extended melodic solos, when they’re memorable.
5) Time of our Lives – A really good, old-fashioned piano-based power ballad. I always preferred Kelly’s voice to Jack’s on the slow ones for some reason. The chorus delivers the melodic bang it promises. It goes without saying, but back in the day this could probably have been a big single, lighters aloft. You can hear shades of “Sister Christian,” “Goodbye,” etc. In other words, it’s damn good. Nice key modulation during the solo.
6) No Time to Lose – Crankin’ it back up with yet more twin leads. I love the fact that Night Ranger never had a “grunge” period (ok, Feeding Off the Mojo stands out because Blades is absent, but it still wasn’t overtly “dark”) and just wanted to make upbeat, positive rock and roll. Bless. This album could end up being my personal “sleeper” for 2011.
7) Live For Today – Another long one at 6:03, kind of a slide-guitar driven melody. Kind of sounds like an attempt at a Led Zepp-ish “mystical” sounding song, yet remaining their own sound. Laid back chorus, it’s not my favourite to be honest. Goes on too long.
8 ) It’s Not Over - Some big rolls from Keagy and muted guitars from the Gillis/Hoekstra tandem start this off. Hard rocking melody. Sometimes I think I take these guys for granted. I don’t know about live, but on record the voices of Blades and Keagy have held up remarkably well. Great chorus.
9) End of the Day – This song starts off with some cleaner guitar sounds, then it kicks in with a quintessentially 80s melodic guitar melody. Goes down so smooth. Kelly belts this out. Classic NR harmonies in the chorus. Amen.
10) Rock n’ Roll Tonight – The riffs kick in like you figure a title like this would. I’m thinking the band wanted to write a song they could conceivably kick their shows off with a la “This Boy Needs to Rock.” With a chorus that declares that they’re gonna rock and roll tonight because it makes everything alright, who the hell am I to argue? Nice Aerosmith reference in the middle!!
11) Say it With Love – One might think they’re going to close out with a ballad, indeed just as a little piano trickles in, in comes the rest of the band and voila, it’s an uptempo fast one. Different vocal style from Jack, half-sung, half-spoken during the verses, but it works. Big chorus featuring mostly Kelly. As the solos and end choruses further dig into my head, I’m momentarily overcome with a touch of frustration, that too few people will actually appreciate this music, aside from the diehard NR fans, but I also realize that the guys make their music for fans like me, not non-fans like, well, them ha ha…

And so concludes another fine addition to the Night Ranger catalogue.

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 Post subject: Re: Night Ranger: Somewhere in California
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:01 am 
The Ultimate Dio Fan
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I got this CD last month and I'm very impressed with it. Not quite the old Night Ranger, but definitely a step in the right direction.

Another kick-ass review, dude!! :B

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 Post subject: Re: Night Ranger: Somewhere in California
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:34 am 
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This is my favorite Night Ranger album. Got it on a whim when it came out and Amazon "recommended" it to me. I liked it so much I picked up their classic albums. I still like Somewhere In California the most so maybe I'm more a fan of this album than I am of Night Ranger in general. Either way this album kicks ass. Every time I hear Growin' Up In California I can imagine it being used in a tourism commercial for the state.

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 Post subject: Re: Night Ranger: Somewhere in California
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:57 am 
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Always liked NR. Giving it a spin on Rhapsody currently.

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 Post subject: Re: Night Ranger: Somewhere in California
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:15 pm 
The Lord of Destruction
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I bought it, ripped it... but never listened to it.

I turned off the best album of all-time for this... so it'd better be good. :wink:

Hmm... Not bad so far... :B



:BB Four In The Morning


PS ~ Great review, dude. It had to be to get me to turn off the mighty Priest in their heavy metal prime... 8)

_________________
"I told you... that we could fly... 'Cause we all have wings... but some of us don't know why..."
~ Michael Hutchens (RIP)


"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans..."
~ John Lennon (RIP)


"Don't get cute... Don't get funny now... It's later than you think..."
~ Greg Kihn


"As we celebrate mediocrity... all the boys upstairs wanna see...
How much you'll pay... for what you used to get for free..."

~ Tom Petty


Image

"I think you'd better ask yourself... before you criticize me...
Are you a victim of the System... or the Powers-That-Be?
If there was nothing to gain... would you do it for free?"

~ Sammy Hagar


"I was glad to come... I'll be sad to go... So while I'm here... I'll have me a real good time..."
~ Rod Stewart (The Faces)


"The earth can shake... The sky come down... The mountains all... fall to the ground...
But I will fear... none of these things... Shelter me, Lord... underneath your wings..."

~ Buddy Miller


"Rock hard... Ride free... All your life..."
~ Rob Halford


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 Post subject: Re: Night Ranger: Somewhere in California
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:29 am 
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RockHard wrote:
I bought it, ripped it... but never listened to it.

I turned off the best album of all-time for this... so it'd better be good. :wink:

Hmm... Not bad so far... :B



:BB Four In The Morning


PS ~ Great review, dude. It had to be to get me to turn off the mighty Priest in their heavy metal prime... 8)


As I recall I told you how great this album was shortly after it came out.... :bat:

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round the back fudge is made.


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 Post subject: Re: Night Ranger: Somewhere in California
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:32 pm 
The Lord of Destruction
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Favorite Band: Pinkmaiden Rainsabbath Zeppepriest
bildo wrote:
RockHard wrote:
I bought it, ripped it... but never listened to it.

I turned off the best album of all-time for this... so it'd better be good. :wink:

Hmm... Not bad so far... :B



:BB Four In The Morning


PS ~ Great review, dude. It had to be to get me to turn off the mighty Priest in their heavy metal prime... 8)


As I recall I told you how great this album was shortly after it came out.... :bat:


Next time, write a friggin' review... :roll:


:lmao:

Incidentally, in an attempt to be diplomatic (at least for me), I'll say that the album was pretty darn good musically... but the vocals left a bit to desired across the board, which surprised me a bit actually. When I took Chelsea to see them and Journey a couple of years ago, I recall Blades still being very good vocally, while Keagy was struggling a bit. On this album, it kind of sounded like they had all screamed themselves hoarse, particularly on the choruses. I listened to about 5 songs and gave it a rest.

I think that a big part of their sound has always been that big, slick, sing-along chorus... and it all just sounded a little too gritty for my taste. At times, even the guitars were a bit too "metal" for that classic Night Ranger sound. Maybe they were just trying too hard... I don't know. Some bands just sound better with that production value (a la ~ Loverboy and Bon Jovi). It's not necessarily a bad thing when done correctly. This album was just too "raw," if that makes any sense.

A shame too... The songs really had that early sound pegged at times.

I won't say it's a bad album, by any means... but "7 Wishes," "Dawn Patrol" and "Midnight Madness" are the ones that are still in my queue.




:BB (You Can Still) Rock In America... (Just Not Quite As Hard As You Used To)



PS ~ Yes, Loverboy. Those first few albums absolutely kicked ass and collected pussy. Same goes for Bon Jovi's first few albums (particularly the first two). I still skim through those albums all the time.

That's right. I said it. :lol:

_________________
"I told you... that we could fly... 'Cause we all have wings... but some of us don't know why..."
~ Michael Hutchens (RIP)


"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans..."
~ John Lennon (RIP)


"Don't get cute... Don't get funny now... It's later than you think..."
~ Greg Kihn


"As we celebrate mediocrity... all the boys upstairs wanna see...
How much you'll pay... for what you used to get for free..."

~ Tom Petty


Image

"I think you'd better ask yourself... before you criticize me...
Are you a victim of the System... or the Powers-That-Be?
If there was nothing to gain... would you do it for free?"

~ Sammy Hagar


"I was glad to come... I'll be sad to go... So while I'm here... I'll have me a real good time..."
~ Rod Stewart (The Faces)


"The earth can shake... The sky come down... The mountains all... fall to the ground...
But I will fear... none of these things... Shelter me, Lord... underneath your wings..."

~ Buddy Miller


"Rock hard... Ride free... All your life..."
~ Rob Halford


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 Post subject: Re: Night Ranger: Somewhere in California
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:45 pm 
The Ultimate Dio Fan
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Joined: Sun May 07, 2006 11:40 am
Posts: 6015
Location: Central California
Favorite Band: DIO
RockHard wrote:
bildo wrote:
RockHard wrote:
I bought it, ripped it... but never listened to it.

I turned off the best album of all-time for this... so it'd better be good. :wink:

Hmm... Not bad so far... :B



:BB Four In The Morning


PS ~ Great review, dude. It had to be to get me to turn off the mighty Priest in their heavy metal prime... 8)


As I recall I told you how great this album was shortly after it came out.... :bat:


Next time, write a friggin' review... :roll:


:lmao:

Incidentally, in an attempt to be diplomatic (at least for me), I'll say that the album was pretty darn good musically... but the vocals left a bit to desired across the board, which surprised me a bit actually. When I took Chelsea to see them and Journey a couple of years ago, I recall Blades still being very good vocally, while Keagy was struggling a bit. On this album, it kind of sounded like they had all screamed themselves hoarse, particularly on the choruses. I listened to about 5 songs and gave it a rest.

I think that a big part of their sound has always been that big, slick, sing-along chorus... and it all just sounded a little too gritty for my taste. At times, even the guitars were a bit too "metal" for that classic Night Ranger sound. Maybe they were just trying too hard... I don't know. Some bands just sound better with that production value (a la ~ Loverboy and Bon Jovi). It's not necessarily a bad thing when done correctly. This album was just too "raw," if that makes any sense.

A shame too... The songs really had that early sound pegged at times.

I won't say it's a bad album, by any means... but "7 Wishes," "Dawn Patrol" and "Midnight Madness" are the ones that are still in my queue.




:BB (You Can Still) Rock In America... (Just Not Quite As Hard As You Used To)



PS ~ Yes, Loverboy. Those first few albums absolutely kicked ass and collected pussy. Same goes for Bon Jovi's first few albums (particularly the first two). I still skim through those albums all the time.

That's right. I said it. :lol:



Nailed it, Stevemeister.

Loverboy - 1st 2 albums = bad-ass
Bon Jovi - 1st 2 albums = bad-ass

Now then..........a VERY important question.........

Why the hell isn't "Man in Motion" on your list???!!!

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When you're on your way to somewhere - But the elevator falls - Do you look for stairs to heaven - Or wander through the halls…..


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 Post subject: Re: Night Ranger: Somewhere in California
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:00 pm 
The Lord of Destruction
User avatar
Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 11:51 pm
Posts: 31626
Location: South of Heaven
Favorite Band: Pinkmaiden Rainsabbath Zeppepriest
alsworms wrote:
RockHard wrote:
bildo wrote:
RockHard wrote:
I bought it, ripped it... but never listened to it.

I turned off the best album of all-time for this... so it'd better be good. :wink:

Hmm... Not bad so far... :B



:BB Four In The Morning


PS ~ Great review, dude. It had to be to get me to turn off the mighty Priest in their heavy metal prime... 8)


As I recall I told you how great this album was shortly after it came out.... :bat:


Next time, write a friggin' review... :roll:


:lmao:

Incidentally, in an attempt to be diplomatic (at least for me), I'll say that the album was pretty darn good musically... but the vocals left a bit to desired across the board, which surprised me a bit actually. When I took Chelsea to see them and Journey a couple of years ago, I recall Blades still being very good vocally, while Keagy was struggling a bit. On this album, it kind of sounded like they had all screamed themselves hoarse, particularly on the choruses. I listened to about 5 songs and gave it a rest.

I think that a big part of their sound has always been that big, slick, sing-along chorus... and it all just sounded a little too gritty for my taste. At times, even the guitars were a bit too "metal" for that classic Night Ranger sound. Maybe they were just trying too hard... I don't know. Some bands just sound better with that production value (a la ~ Loverboy and Bon Jovi). It's not necessarily a bad thing when done correctly. This album was just too "raw," if that makes any sense.

A shame too... The songs really had that early sound pegged at times.

I won't say it's a bad album, by any means... but "7 Wishes," "Dawn Patrol" and "Midnight Madness" are the ones that are still in my queue.




:BB (You Can Still) Rock In America... (Just Not Quite As Hard As You Used To)



PS ~ Yes, Loverboy. Those first few albums absolutely kicked ass and collected pussy. Same goes for Bon Jovi's first few albums (particularly the first two). I still skim through those albums all the time.

That's right. I said it. :lol:



Nailed it, Stevemeister.

Loverboy - 1st 2 albums = bad-ass
Bon Jovi - 1st 2 albums = bad-ass

Now then..........a VERY important question.........

Why the hell isn't "Man in Motion" on your list???!!!


A very good album, as is "Big Life"... but I was looking for the crème de la crème for my rambling ensemble above. :lol:

_________________
"I told you... that we could fly... 'Cause we all have wings... but some of us don't know why..."
~ Michael Hutchens (RIP)


"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans..."
~ John Lennon (RIP)


"Don't get cute... Don't get funny now... It's later than you think..."
~ Greg Kihn


"As we celebrate mediocrity... all the boys upstairs wanna see...
How much you'll pay... for what you used to get for free..."

~ Tom Petty


Image

"I think you'd better ask yourself... before you criticize me...
Are you a victim of the System... or the Powers-That-Be?
If there was nothing to gain... would you do it for free?"

~ Sammy Hagar


"I was glad to come... I'll be sad to go... So while I'm here... I'll have me a real good time..."
~ Rod Stewart (The Faces)


"The earth can shake... The sky come down... The mountains all... fall to the ground...
But I will fear... none of these things... Shelter me, Lord... underneath your wings..."

~ Buddy Miller


"Rock hard... Ride free... All your life..."
~ Rob Halford


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 Post subject: Re: Night Ranger: Somewhere in California
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:11 am 
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Location: Canterbury, New Brunswick, Canada
Favorite Band: Y&T, Rush, Van Halen, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Journey, April Wine, many more
Facebook: Tim Durling
The first 5 NR are all tops to me, but I agree that Man in Motion stands out, simply because not only does it deliver awesome melodic rock songs, great production, etc, but it's the only one of those albums that weren't at least somewhat successful.

_________________
Saturday and Sunday nights from 6pm to 9pm (Atlantic time) playing a mix of old and new rock, at http://www.foxrocks.ca

To watch AND listen to me blather on, I give you Tim's Vinyl Confessions

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2fi5G ... iBkLtUEWFg

https://twitter.com/TimsVinyl

https://www.facebook.com/timsvinylconfessions


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 Post subject: Re: Night Ranger: Somewhere in California
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:32 am 
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The first Night Ranger albums just didn't grab me at all. This one blew me away. Go finger.

I mean figure.

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round the back fudge is made.


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 Post subject: Re: Night Ranger: Somewhere in California
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:36 am 
The Ultimate Dio Fan
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bildo wrote:
The first Night Ranger albums just didn't grab me at all.
.



:shock:


:bat:

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 Post subject: Re: Night Ranger: Somewhere in California
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:18 am 
Heavy Metal Cyber-Sleuth
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Location: Uranus
Favorite Band: The Electric Mayhem
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alsworms wrote:
bildo wrote:
The first Night Ranger albums just didn't grab me at all.
.



:shock:


:bat:


Now you know how puzzled I am that you don't love Alice Cooper. :P

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Milk, milk, lemonade,
round the back fudge is made.


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 Post subject: Re: Night Ranger: Somewhere in California
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:01 pm 
The Ultimate Dio Fan
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Joined: Sun May 07, 2006 11:40 am
Posts: 6015
Location: Central California
Favorite Band: DIO
bildo wrote:
alsworms wrote:
bildo wrote:
The first Night Ranger albums just didn't grab me at all.
.



:shock:


:bat:


Now you know how puzzled I am that you don't love Alice Cooper. :P



Alice Cooper stuff would be great..........if someone else sang the damn songs!!

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When you're on your way to somewhere - But the elevator falls - Do you look for stairs to heaven - Or wander through the halls…..


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 Post subject: Re: Night Ranger: Somewhere in California
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:24 pm 
The Lord of Destruction
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Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 11:51 pm
Posts: 31626
Location: South of Heaven
Favorite Band: Pinkmaiden Rainsabbath Zeppepriest
alsworms wrote:
bildo wrote:
alsworms wrote:
bildo wrote:
The first Night Ranger albums just didn't grab me at all.
.



:shock:


:bat:


Now you know how puzzled I am that you don't love Alice Cooper. :P



Alice Cooper stuff would be great..........if someone else sang the damn songs!!


:hide:

_________________
"I told you... that we could fly... 'Cause we all have wings... but some of us don't know why..."
~ Michael Hutchens (RIP)


"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans..."
~ John Lennon (RIP)


"Don't get cute... Don't get funny now... It's later than you think..."
~ Greg Kihn


"As we celebrate mediocrity... all the boys upstairs wanna see...
How much you'll pay... for what you used to get for free..."

~ Tom Petty


Image

"I think you'd better ask yourself... before you criticize me...
Are you a victim of the System... or the Powers-That-Be?
If there was nothing to gain... would you do it for free?"

~ Sammy Hagar


"I was glad to come... I'll be sad to go... So while I'm here... I'll have me a real good time..."
~ Rod Stewart (The Faces)


"The earth can shake... The sky come down... The mountains all... fall to the ground...
But I will fear... none of these things... Shelter me, Lord... underneath your wings..."

~ Buddy Miller


"Rock hard... Ride free... All your life..."
~ Rob Halford


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