Night Ranger
Don’t Let Up
(Frontiers Music)

Let’s face it, Night Ranger have been an “old man’s band” for many years now. Most people don’t even realize that they’re even still active, nor could care less about hearing anything other than the “classics” at their shows. Yet here they are, twelve albums into their career and still going.

Don’t Let Up starts out promising with the upbeat “Somehow Someway,” and closes with a decent enough power ballad in the shape of “Nothing Left of Yesterday.” Unfortunately, everything else in between is not much more than just filler. The majority of the material found here – right down to the album cover itself – comes off as just plain dated. As a live act, Night Ranger still puts on a good show (this is speaking from personal experience), but unfortunately their appeal these days doesn’t stretch much further than simple nostalgia.

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7 Comments

  1. As a seasoned woman who has been with Night Ranger since day one, I can say that your review must come from ignorance. It doesn’t sound like you really listened to any of it. You can only name two songs and claim the rest is filler without any substantiation to your words.

    Night Ranger has been around for 35 years and has been one of the most under-rated bands to come out of the 1980s. They were influenced by 1960s rock and 1970s funk. In a time that was dominated by hair and glam metal bands, Night Ranger did it there way with a string of Top 40 hits. By Jack Blades’ self-admission that the majority of their fans are still men, this in no way means it is or they are an old-man band. At any given concert, you can find old and young men, old and young women and there is a whole new generation who appreciates not only “Sister Christian” and “Rock in America” but also classics like “Penny”, “Color of your Smile” and new songs like “High Road”, “St. Bartholomew” and many others.
    If we really want to be honest, most young male bands have about two good albums in them before they lose their testosterone swelled…edge. Any band gets stale over time. They either go through a rebirth or they continue to churn and burn. Night Ranger has had their fair share of all of the above. The original band members including Jack, Kelly Keagy, and Brad were all older by the time they hit it big in the 80s. They were more mature by rock standards if in age alone. By the time they got to the 1990s, it was an introspective and experimental time for the group, who were mid-career, their appeal just broadened more with their hybrid dark grunge rock. They’ve returned to their rock roots in recent years- and Don’t Let Up is proof.

    Don’t Let Up is full of Night Ranger’s signature style-dualing guitars, harmony and grit. It starts out with “Somehow Someday” which sets the rocking tone of the album. This wave continues into “Running out of Time” where dualing guitars scream us to the finish. “Truth” turns the tone a bit darker with Jack Blades’ gritty voice screaming for vindication. “Day and Night” showcases Kelly Keagy’s ability to belt out acid truth by pounding home, their funk roots in the last half of the song. The tone goes back to popish rock with the title track “Don’t Let Up” with the hookish “Don’t let up on the big picture, baby/There’s a whole world just waiting for you maybe/ If you roll with me/I’ll be your greatest alibi.” “(Won’t be your) Fool Again” harkens to a semi-country fried rock vibe. “Say What You Want” could easily be a road trip song, pounding out a hard beat as you roll that retro car from the cover down the road. The ballads of the album “We Can Work It Out” and “Nothing Left of Yesterday” are the most middle of the road and least in your face songs as one would expect. The harmonies of “We Can Work It Out” are some of the most polished of Night Ranger’s career proving that their voices have not failed over time. “Comfort Me”, one of the best tracks on the album, delivers maximum rockage with the signature California easy flair. Finally, “Jamie” is full on throwback to Dawn Patrol with hard lyrics (I need a lover, a stone cold lover/I need a lover, a suicide lover) and guitars that will leave you screaming for more.

    I look forward to seeing Night Ranger in concert for the 17th time this year and especially look forward to shaking me middle aged ass to some of this new music. Devil horns to all.

  2. Chris Mill Reply

    As far as music currently being produced by bands from the 80’s, this record is a clear standout! I’d like to know what current music from older bands you think is good?.

  3. I think the reviewer has it spot on. They may not have named any of the songs but 70% of it is junk anyway. It does start off promising with Someday Somehow and it does end strong with Nothing Left of Yesterday. Everything in between is a hit or mostly a miss. Comfort Me is easily the standout of the album and Truth, Jamie, Say What You Want and Running Out of Time are just decent. The rest is totally forgettable except for (Won’t Be Your) Fool Again. This will be remembered as quite simply, the worst song in the history of this band. It is pure crap. Jack and Kelly are also terrible throughout. Jack sings with that shitty twang in his voice that I though he only reserved for Shaw/Blades albums and Kelly is disgraceful! He honestly sounds like he doesn’t want to be involved. Last time I felt like this was when I first heard Hole in the Sun, an album that I still struggle to like. After two weeks with this album though, I am totally disgusted that a band of their calibre could produce crap like this.
    The new guitarist Keri Kelly is not a very good fit either. Joel was perfect for them but this guy sounds totally out of place with the rest of the band.
    If like me, you have the advance Japanese release, you will at least have a superior acoustic version of We Can Work It Out. The album version is garbage but this one makes it just palatable.

    The lyric to Running Out of Time perfectly sums up the band right now….. “Your running out of time, gotta get your head back in the game!”
    Night Ranger needs to practice what they are preaching here. 5/10 for me and I am being generous!

  4. Chuck Charles Reply

    I love Night Ranger. I always have. This new release has some good ones and some not so good. After listening to it over and over for the last 24 hours, I am left with the taste of cigarettes, booze, and day-old coffee on my mind’s breath. Somehow, Someway (*wry chuckle*) it is a preferable feeling than listening to the candy coated shit droppings of “today’s music”.

    The good: Somehow Someway, Running out of Time, Don’t Let Up, Comfort Me

    The so-so: We Can Work It Out, Truth, Day and Night

    The bad: Say What You Want, Nothing Left of Yesterday

    The awful: Jamie, Won’t Be Your Fool Again

  5. Richard Ferry Reply

    Let me begin by saying I am not a rock and roll guy. I grew up with country music back in the 50’s and 60’s with a little bit of Blues and Chuck Berry mixed in. I had the opportunity to see and hear Night Ranger this past weekend down at Epcot park down in Orlando and I was totally floored by their performance. By biggest regret is that I missed them back in the 80’s Now almost a week later I can’t get the music out of my head. I just ordered the new CD and it is great. I am totally surprised by Jesse and Craig’s reviews, I would venture to say their only claim to fame is that that they learned to type in school and I would bet in 35 years they would still have to have a step ladder to kiss Night Ranger’s posterior.

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