Night Ranger – Somewhere In California (2011)

America’s 80s were characterized by PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) controversy, bands such Mötley Crüe were banned and constantly hunted. The crusade against rock were leaded by four women: Tipper Gore (wife of Senator and later Vice President Al Gore), Pam Howar (wife of Washington realtor Raymond Howar), Susan Garrett Winston (wife of Treasury Secretary James Baker) and Sally Nevius (wife of former Washington City Council Chairman John Nevius). When men are leaving for a war or they are too busy with politics, their wife becomes frustrated and get strange occupations… The most famous invention is the Parental Advisory sticker (“Parental Guidance: Explicit Lyrics”), knowned also as “The Tipper Sticker”. The PMRC also released the “Filthy Fifteen”, a list of the 15 songs they found most objectionable which contains artists and songs such as Prince “Darling Nikki”, Judas Priest “Eat Me Alive”, Mötley Crüe “Bastard”, AC/DC “Let Me Put My Love into You”, Twisted Sister “We’re Not Gonna Take It”,Madonna “Dress You Up”, etc, but one of the albums to receive the “Parental Advisory” sticker was Frank Zappa’s Grammy-winning album “Jazz From Hell”, even though it is a collection of instrumental pieces and contains no lyrics at all while the sticker says “Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics” 😆 😆 😆 I’ve been a little bit off-topics, but I also remembered this verses by Ice-T: “Yo Tip, what’s the matter? You ain’t gettin’ no dick? You’re bitchin’ about rock’n’roll, that’s censorship, dumb bitch.”
Well, we forget “things” too easily and boys and girls, not history repeat itself, but the dumb repeat over and over the same mistakes. Back then the American Senate decided what we should and what we shouldn’t listen, now days the censorship moved forward and “War on Terror” seems a pretty goddamn good excuse to let the governments to decide what’s good or bad for us and taking control over our lives.
But in that decade, the more “reasonable” rock acts such Midnight Ranger (Foreigner, Styx, Bon Jovi and other “good boys”) flourished. They 1987’s album, “Big Life” sold around 800,000 copies.

Make no mistake, being “good boys”, playing radio – and PMRC – friendly music it’s not a guilt. I wasn’t a Night Ranger fan, but Jack Blades (bass guitar, lead & backing vocals), Kelly Keagy (drums, percussion, backing and lead vocals) and Brad Gillis (lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals), the core of Midnight Ranger, delivered quality American hard rock. Although, at the end of the 80s Jack Blades left Night Ranger to formed with Ted Nugent the supergroup Damn Yankees which back than sounds much more exciting for me.
In 1996 Jack Blades returned to Night Ranger and the band co-exist with its members solo careers more or less constantly, sold 16 million albums worldwide and “Somewhere In California” is their tenth studio album.
This is not a “Californication”, but a nice, classic American hard rock album filled with good songs and good feeling. In a troubled world, sometimes this straight rock it’s quite refreshing.

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