BY JAY ROBERTS (SPECIAL TO LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE)
The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s that I have acquired through Purchase Street Records in New Bedford, MA.
The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from the 1980’s through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums.
These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.
NIGHT RANGER – 7 WISHES (1985)
The second and final of Night Ranger’s platinum selling albums (the band’s third studio release overall), 7 Wishes, showcases the band still at the heights of their commercial peak. The album contains three hit songs that have become staples for any kind of best of collection that might be put together for the band.
The biggest thing I discovered about this album while listening to it is that beyond the hit singles, I never actually listened to this album. I figured that out because I have no memory of the rest of the album’s track listing. So, while I was a huge fan of the hits and their previous smash hit album Midnight Madness, I guess I had kind of already started tuning out the band or something.
Speaking of those hits, they are all really good in their own right. I did notice that when I listened to “Sentimental Street” that it didn’t quite have the same grip it did when it was a charting song. Luckily, both “Four In The Morning” and “Goodbye” remained as strong as always in my mind. The latter song is still perhaps my favorite power ballad from Night Ranger outside of “Sister Christian.” Hell, at times I might even find myself preferring it instead.
Despite those noteworthy tracks, the album is chock full of interesting music. The opening song is the title track (though it is spelled “Seven Wishes”). It gets the album off to a charged pace and the song has an instantly gratifying sound.
I didn’t care for how the opening of “Faces” was constructed but once you get into the song, things get a lot better. In the case of “I Need A Woman,” the song was hit and miss throughout. It had some good moments throughout but it never really got all tied together well enough to be a song that resonates well.
Side two opens with the killer rocker “This Boy Needs To Rock.” I can’t remember ever hearing this song so it was a little bit of a new discovery for me. I shouldn’t be all that surprised that this is probably the most aggressive sounding song on the album given that Brad Gillis co-wrote it. Meanwhile, the track “Interstate Love Affair” unintentionally made me think instead of the Stone Temple Pilots song “Interstate Love Song.”
I found myself enjoying the album a whole lot. Jack Blades displayed a strong touch in the songwriting on this album as he either wrote or co-wrote each of the 10 tracks. The melodies were strong and when the band cut loose and rocked out they really had the chops to do it right.
As I listened to this cassette, I found myself thinking back to when this album would’ve been released. I was 14 years old and really still in my rock and roll fandom infancy. It was a nice reminder of my own musical roots while at the same time revisiting the band’s heights. I know each generation has their own perfect musical era, but for my money nothing is ever going to top the 1980’s, whether rock, pop or metal the decade had a little bit of everything for everyone and Night Ranger spent a few years right there in the middle of it all.
The best thing is that each time I listen to a Night Ranger album that I missed out on the first time around, it makes me like the band even more while simultaneously cursing myself for missing out on the release originally.
Note of Interest: Motley Crue’s Vince Neil and Tommy Lee are listed as providing background vocals on the song “Night Machine.”