Monday, April 25, 2011

Classic melodic rock CD of the week

By Stephen Kasenda

NIGHT RANGER "Midnight Madness" (1983)

Kelly Keagy probably never had a thought that a simple story about his younger sister which was lyrically portrayed in "Sister Christian" could have propelled Night Ranger's name to the sky and boosted "Midnight Madness"' sales to their biggest selling album of all time. But this album is not all about that ballad; in fact, there are several real rockers that will steal your attention such as "(You Can Still) Rock In America", a classic concert anthem with Fitzgerald's fingers dancing swiftly on his keyboard and the Watson/Gillis duo unleashing superb rhythm and solos. "Why Does Love Have To Change" is an underappreciated huge melodic rock tune - check out the beat-pumping chorus after the grandeur verse…simply stunning. "Chippin' Away", a song that's rarely seen in their set list, carries big potential behind its back as well.

Going back to that ballad, I always think that "When You Close Your Eyes" is far superior compared to "Sister". With its killer arrangement and memorable chorus, this track is a sure winner, but nevertheless, both served as the important keys of this album. Two tracks that I think are subpar here are "Touch of Madness" and "Let Him Run", but "Rumours In The Air" and "Passion Play" are among the highlights and serve as great examples of Night Ranger's capability of molding fine compositions.

Night Ranger's first three records are undoubtedly their best and since their formation in 1980, the band hasn't been able to produce any better output than this, and that also includes Jack Blades' side project, Damn Yankees. But I always look out for their latest release as I'm secretly hoping that they will be able to push their limit and boundaries and knock this album down from the top, a respectable position of what I called 'their best album to date'.

Read more of Stephen’s features at MetalMusicArchives.