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Night Ranger Takes The High Road
on June 10, 2014
Night Ranger's 11th studio album, High Road, has just come out. But is it any good? I'm happy to report that Night Ranger fans, and those who enjoy great rock music, will love this album. In addition to having a gorgeous album cover, High Road is full of upbeat, guitar-driven rock songs, along with a few ballads and an instrumental track for good measure.
If you buy the Deluxe Version, you'll receive a bonus track, "The Mountain Song," and a DVD with two music videos and a behind-the-scenes video about how the album was made. And the Best Buy-exclusive Deluxe Version features a second bonus track, "Don't Even Know Your Name."
Below is my track-by-track review of High Road:
This might be my favorite rocker on the album. It's a country-infused rock song that makes you want to drive down a highway in a convertible with the wind blowing through your hair. It's such a positive song, you can't help but feel good after listening to it.
"Knock Knock Never Stop"
A killer guitar riff? Check. A ferocious vocal? Check. An infectious melody? Check. This song has it all and it serves as a great follow-up to "High Road."
"Rollin' On" has a harder edge to it than the first two tracks, as well as a dark, funky groove. It's a fun guitar-driven number that would be great to hear live.
"Don't Live Here Anymore"
This is hands-down the best ballad on the album. Kelly's vocal is phenomenal, the lyrics are tremendous and the piano is beautifully haunting. It's a gorgeous song about overcoming addiction and arguably the best track on the album.
"I'm Coming Home"
Yet another great guitar riff. This, along with the strong harmonies, makes for a fun song that's worth listening to over and over again.
While this isn't as strong as the first five tracks, it's still an enjoyable rocker with great guitar work.
"Only For You Only"
This is Jack Blades' ballad on the album and it's a winner. Vocally, he's in great form and the chorus has a terrific hook. I also love the arrangement, which features impressive harmonies, beautiful piano and a blistering guitar solo. It's one of the most infectious songs on High Road.
Similar to "X Generation," this song is good but not great, especially when it has to follow a song as superb as "Only For You Only."
Featuring a great guitar solo and harmonies, "St. Bartholomew" kicks the album into a new gear and gets things back on track. It's a fun rocker through and through.
This song is one of the best on the album. I especially love the last minute where Kelly's raspy vocals are featured over top a gospel-inspired chorus, replete with Brad and Joel's wailing guitars and Eric plucking away at the piano. It sounds like they had a lot of fun laying down this track.
"LA No Name"
As Night Ranger made abundantly clear in their acoustic album, 24 Strings and a Drummer, they are excellent musicians. So it's fitting that they should end High Road with an instrumental that shows off their technical skills. With a a Spanish flair, it's an impressive number that ends a strong album on a high note.
High Road is a great album that continues what the band started on Somewhere in California. If you're a big Night Ranger fan, or just enjoy well-played classic rock, pick up High Road. It's an exceptional collection of music by an incredibly underappreciated band.