My Don't Let Up review!

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My Don't Let Up review!

Postby BBKlima » Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:05 am

Don't Let Up Review

For full disclosure, I am a huge Night Ranger fan. I think these guys could release a CD of them banging sticks on garbage cans and I would love it. I've been a fan since hearing When You Close Your Eyes back in 1984, and I they have been my favorite band ever since. They were my first concert in 1985 on the 7 Wishes tour. Since 7 Wishes, I have bought every one of their albums the day it was released, or preordered it (last 4!).
I say all of this to say, I may not be the most objective reviewer when it comes to this band. I believe that when Jack, and Kelly, and Brad get together to write music, it is like putting chocolate and caramel and peanuts into a mixer. You aren't sure how it is going to turn out but you are sure it is going to be a salty and sweet treat.

Don't Let Up is no different. I listened for the last few weeks to the 4 songs that were released before the CD came out. I preordered the deluxe edition and counted down the days for it to be released. I listened to all of their previous albums, in order, multiple times running up to the release of Don't Let Up. So when the mail got delivered last Friday and I pulled that padded envelope out of the mailbox, I was like a kid in the candy store! I couldn't want for my ears to feast on the 11 (well 7) new and unheard Night Ranger tunes. Below is my song by song review.

One last thing, this is definitely their most diverse release since Hole In The Sun. It kind of reminds me of Big Life in that after 3 straight ahead hard rock albums they put out a CD of songs that was diverse and showed musical growth. I loved Somewhere In California and High Road. But naturally this CD had to be a little bit different. Of course no one saw coming that they guys would release a CD without a true ballad. But here we are, with the aptly named Don't Let Up, and not a ballad to be found. A muscle car on the cover is a perfect prelude for what you are about to hear!

Here we go:

Somehow, Someway - What a way to start off the album. The guitar work is incredible and vintage Night Ranger! Seriously, you can tell this is Night Ranger from a mile away. And Jack's voice, which I thought was outstanding on the last two releases, is incredible on this track. And that chorus! WOW, just when you think this band can't go any bigger on a song chorus, and this one just hits you right in the face. Lyrically, Jack is on top of his game with this one. As Brad and Keri tear up their fret boards. And as always Kelly is there with a beat and Jack laying down a groove. Kelly comes in vocally for the bridge, and that guy's voice is so consistent now for 35 years! Then the solo kicks in, sounds like a dual solo, Brad and then Keri. This is quintessential Night Ranger from start to end, a typical Night Ranger up-tempo rocker. Just incredible from beginning to end.

Running Out Of Time - Right from the start this one sounds a little different. Maybe a bit more poppish, in the vain of Love Is Standing Near from Big Life. Just sounds so fresh and relevant here in 2017, but still with that big dual guitar sound that made Night Ranger famous when Jeff was still in band. Again, Jack sounds great especially on the verse, I love the melody of this song. And then not only is the chorus big, but it is so catchy, and Kelly's voice sounds so good with the backing vocals (which Jack has switched to for the chorus). You can't say much more about this song except that it is just so well written, composed, played and sung, it is ashamed this won't get the radio play it deserves. The vocal arrangement on this one are intricate yet simple at the same time, and come off sounding great. Oh, AND THAT GUITAR SOLO! Wow, it will bring tears to your eyes.

Truth – Was a favorite of mine immediately when it was released a few weeks prior to the CD release. This one is more mature in both mood and theme. Reminds me a bit of Soul Survivor of Seven in that vein. However, Truth also manages to be a more of a straight-ahead rocker as well. Very well written lyrically, and again Jack’s voice sounds so good especially considering he is just shy of 63 years old. I think this song is perfectly place on the album following two of the fun, up-tempo numbers, the guys decide to get serious. The guitar solo has a really cool tone to it especially the beginning, almost dissident in feel. I’ve always loved how Brad was able to write solos that perfectly fit the song, and this one does the same. And the song goes out with a flurry reminiscent of Raining Comes Crashing Down off of Big Life. Great song.

Day and Night – This one starts off sounding like the guys were trying to channel their inner Metallica, and then goes into more of a straight-ahead rocker, with great guitar play. And Kelly sounds so good on the lead vocal on this one. This just a jam from start to finish, an in your face, rocker that you hope never ends! Great vocal arrangements again. These guys just know how compose a song. And the full band jam following the guitar solo shows their diversity. Love this one, can’t wait to drive down the road with the windows down with this one blasting on the speakers!

Don’t Let Up – After the in your face jam of Day and Night, this one is perfect to get back to more of a pop, hard rock song. And this one is that. In the vein of Color Of Your Smile from Big Life, this one has a huge chorus, and is just a fun, catchy tune. The dual guitars are so incredible sounding, and Jacks’ vocal is spot on. I read that he had vocal problems near the end of recording, but there is no trace of that on this one. A very good tune. 5 songs in and no filler to be found so far! And the solo on this one is awesome! And I love the vocal only chorus/bridge! Jack sounds awesome on it.

(Won’t Be Your) Fool Again – This is definitely the most diverse track on the album. Listening to it earlier today it dawned on me, this Night Ranger’s Smoking In The Boys’ Room, or Once Bitten Twice Shy. They’ve always flirted with different styles, whether it was acoustic, or Beatlesesque songs. This one just has that old time rock n roll, bluesy sound! At first I didn’t think I’d like, but the more I listen to it, the more it has grown on me. The guys are stretching their wings here and I can appreciate that. Jack again sounds great! This will be one I share with others to show how versatile this band is. I almost hope they play this one live this summer!

Say What You Want – After the departure from their usual style, this one is perfect to get the guys back to an up-tempo rocker. This one just blazes out of the gate and doesn’t let up! Kelly again sounds great on the lead vocals, and Eric’s subtle backing piano fits perfect with the guitar work on this one. Just a solid song all around, with a great groove to it. Another one that will be awesome to fly down the road to this summer. The dual guitar solo is mind-blowing on this one. This one would be fun one to hear and watch played live. And the little tempo change 3 minutes in is really cool as well. Say It With Love snuck up on me from Somewhere in California and became a favorite, I see this one doing the same.

We Can Work It Out – Starts out as if it is going to be a duet ballad, but then the chorus kicks in and there is nothing ballad about it! I love the harmonizing in this one. Both Kelly and Jack were due after all these years to do something like this! Reminiscent of a Damn Yankees song. I know the guys have said they came in with no previous material for this album, but this one has that feel to it, as if it was written for Jack and Tommy to sing together! Eric’s keys work so well on this one. And acoustic guitar solo fits this song perfectly! P.S. I am glad this one wasn’t a cover of the Beatles tune of the same name.

Comfort Me – Once again, after a slight departure from the norm, the guys get back in the groove with another up-tempo, straight ahead rocker. Jack again sounds great on this one. And then the chorus just come in huge and spectacular! Kelly is really showing his chops on this one, maybe the best drumbeat I’ve ever heard on a Night Ranger song. Just such a solid tune. Great arrangement and vocals. I love the dueling guitar closing on this one.

Jamie – The dual guitar beginning of this one sets up another incredible up-tempo rocker. Just when you think these guys must be out of ideas for straight-ahead rockers, here they come with another that sounds unique and refresh, but has all of the usual elements. Great vocals, a huge chorus, and great musicianship. The guitar work on this one is sneakily complex. And just a great solo again, with both Brad and Keri showing their chops. Like all Night Ranger albums, each song is just so good you never find yourself reaching for the next button. I think this one will be underrated, sadly, and it so good.

Nothing Left Of Yesterday – Another one that starts out as if it will be a ballad. Jack sounds incredible on this one! Almost has a Shaw-Blades feel to it, like it could have come right off Hallucination. Then the chorus kicks in. So big and catchy! I think this is a perfect album closer. This is the type of song other bands would build an entire album around, but here is Night Ranger with their solid composition putting at the end, almost as an afterthought. It is a great song in its own right. Another dual guitar solo. Such a uniquely Night Ranger sound!

All in all, another solid effort by the most underrated band of the post-classic rock period. I give it a solid 5 out of 5. Just so consistent beginning to end, just like every other Night Ranger album. This one will fit nicely with the rest and will be in my heavy rotation this summer!
Ol' 78
Posts: 85
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:59 pm

Re: My Don't Let Up review!

Postby BBKlima » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:25 pm

After 3 weeks of listening to this almost exclusively (I listned to Big Life a couple of times a week ago because a couple of the songs on DLU reminded me of BL), I am loving this album more and more. Great songs. Won't Be Your Fool Again is my least favorite, but even it is awesome.
Ol' 78
Posts: 85
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:59 pm

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