I can respect that... I believe the current "sound" of the modern AOR era has been around long enough that it is pretty distinct from anything before the early 2000s. Production is different, and I think production standards today are quite good, especially compared with the inconsistency of ten years ago. It's just a different sound. When I create playlists for workouts, I rarely mix eras - it's either 80s (with possibly some late 70s and early 90s) or somewhere like 2006 on (more heavily 2010 and later). I enjoy both a lot, but they don't mix that well for me. I also think modern bands are starting more to try to get away from recreating the 80s songs over and over. I'm glad I like the new stuff, but I can understand how it doesn't impress others. Heck, that started to happen to me in the latter 80s when "hair metal" all started to sound the same to me, and then when grunge and other "alt rock" became the big thing. And even though I don't seek out the mainstream U.S. pop music, I hear enough of it to know that I liked it a lot better a dozen years ago, when artists like Maroon 5 actually had some good songs on the radio.
#2 | melodiapositiva | ? at January 19 2019 12:28:14
This is a very nice record ,it sounds a lot to the british band Voyager without the prog tones .The cover is really beautiful on vinyl ,a good lp for the collection in every sense.
#3 | george_the_jack | ? at January 18 2019 14:26:13
When I read your list Jeff, can't help but notice there's a ton of albums I haven't even listened once over the course of last year. That proves my deteriorating interest about new music I guess...
I found the Midnite City album flat and cheesy as a whole although it had its moments while Perfect Plan, Groundbreaker, Issa and Gioeli-Castronovo were good but nothing spectacular that'd make me want to go back and play them. I also can't get that new Jerome Mazza album that all of you liked so much. I liked his previous a lot more. The new one sounds heavily processed in the studio and very plastic for my liking.
#4 | george_the_jack | ? at January 18 2019 13:40:19
I only discovered this one recently and it's very very good so keep finding myself revisiting it. It's actually way better than anything else I listened to in 2018! That alone says a lot about how things have changed in the genre over the past few years and possibly what musical trends are set to prevail going forward. I mean this one here is traditional melodic rock in every sense (from production to songwriting and individual performances) while releases from 2018 are leaning towards more ''modern'' forms that don't do anything for me, personally. Curious what the future brings but 2017 and 2018 were hugely unispiring for me in terms of new music that reached my ears except the likes of the excellent ''The Night Light Orchestra''.
#5 | melodiapositiva | ? at January 17 2019 19:43:28
Mark free reach the stratosphere with his voice in this album ,his singing on"slow down the night" is superb,in the same league with Perry and Gramm.
Consider me fully converted to 7th Heaven's deliciously infectious sugar-coated brand of pop rock. Just listening to this makes me feel young again, though I doubt that it will cure my fast receding hairline! Guaranteed to put a smile on your face and the perfect antidote if you're looking for some light relief. Goodness only knows we could all do with it at the moment. Kudos to you George for bringing this to our attention
No, never seen any photos of the Capozzi/Robinson line-up. I'm sure there must be some live shots out there someplace, but none I've ever seen, which is surprising given the nature of the internet. I've never seen any from the Mike Clayton era either. I know that by 83 Felix Robinson had already cut his hair and was much older than Vito Bratta and Mike Tramp. There are YouTube videos out there of what Capozzi looks like as of last July. The reason he left the band was kinda connected to the look in as much as Nicky wasn't into it himself. He says as much in this video:
reyno-roxx have you ever seen photos of the Tramp-Bratta-Capozzi-Robinson line up and/or do they exist at all? I mean, if not promo photos with them all (I don't think there's any), at least photos of them in studio in Frankfurt or during rehearsals or live shows (not sure if this line up ever played live shows). If I remember well -but could be wrong- Capozzi was let go due to "wrong look" matter and age vs D'Angelo, same for Robinson who probably didn't want to tour at all.
I have never seen any, it looks like the material is as elusive as the Coverdale-Sykes-Murray-Dunbar (& Airey) line up of Whitesnake, of which only recently some photos of Dunbar and Airey in studio with WS appeared in the recent 1987 box set.
I picked up the V&R version years ago for pennies in the (in)famous Yanks/Powercuts records sale, they used to have loads of copies of it dead cheap but in the sales prices dropped through the floor on some items. I thought this was an okay album at the time but it has certainly grown in stature in my opinion and gets played much more regularly these days than when I first bought it. Its the only Shooting Star album I have strangely, I did buy the first when it came out on import but sold it on as I wasn't that impressed, bit too wimpy for me back then. Another band since though I have come to appreciate more than I did having heard a little more.
#12 | englandashes | ? at January 12 2019 23:58:58
The Whitewing is now available on CD.
#13 | englandashes | ? at January 12 2019 22:14:43
I wonder where , overrated?, no way as it contains ‘Broken Heart’, my favourite White Lion track.
This is as good as it gets if you can listen with open ears. More on the Hard AOR side than the Pomp of their early releases. I was lucky enough to find a V&R copy, kind of a picture cd with that boot in shades of grey on the front. The physical cd is heavy, not like the lighter ones nowadays.
I would be tempted to say that this is my favourite album by JW, every track hits home with me. The track Euroshima (which I believe was going to be the original album title) has some real poignant lyrics, but that has always been John Waites forte. The extended version of that song is cool too, I can remember clutching a hastily recorded cassette so I could play it my mates while crushed in his dads Lada as we drove up to a rock night in Bury. I read in the classic rock AOR mag some guy saying he couldn't understand why JW was regarded as a top AOR singer as he never hits the high notes....really??? Following that logic guitarists who play the fastest are the best too harder,louder,faster,higher = better obviously, I must have missed the point of feeling and passion in music...I wasted my whole life when I could have been listening to Jim Gillette. The guy who wrote it should try singing Missing You, it's darn tricky. Anyway fandabbydozeeeeee album.
Looking back one year on this list, it's held up quite well. I do have one addition - the excellent Crazy Lixx 'Rough Justice' album that I did not discover until early 2018. That one kicks ass all the way to number 2 - I also gave it a 10 in my review. And I'd move the Pride Of Lions album above the cutoff line I put after number 6.
Good to see Fortnox back together again after the success of their Rock Candy CD reissue. The trio of Rick, Joel and Nathan are in rehearsals, but it could take them well into 2019 before they are out playing gigs. Keep a check on Rick and Joel's FB pages for updates.
I've been giving these guys a re-listen, since I backloaded the interview we did with them in 2000. eighteen years on, and they sound like prime-time Danger Danger and (gasp) White Widdow !! I do have this CD stashed away somewhere in storage.
#29 | englandashes | ? at January 03 2019 21:07:41
Yep, beginning to warm to The Lemon Twigs, probably the strangest thing I have heard since one of favourite albums of all time, Big Money’s , Moonraker. Well done Malcolm for your very personal account of the year, a remarkable year for you and your family.
This was one of my most anticipated albums of the year. I was hoping for a return to form after the slight letdown of the previous album. I do think this is a bit better than "Silhouette", especially the production, which is not as "boomy". I'll agree that it is a bit too derivative. These guys have always seemed somewhat one-dimensional to me. That one dimension can be awfully good, but I've wondered how long they can carry that onward. Their best effort for me remains "Crossfire", which was their most aggressive album. I'm not sure why they dialed it down. This one could certainly use more of that aggression. They did take a risk and tried something new with the piano ballad, and I think it worked pretty well. I'll give them props for that move. This album almost seems like they were going more for the early 80s vibe, when synths were somewhat overtaking guitars in the sounds of many artists. I hear echos of artists like Dakota and that legendary Van Zant album here, although this doesn't rise to that level.
All in all, I do certainly like this, but not as much as I expected or wanted. I'm finding myself classifying it as part of my "mellow AOR" collection, which is kinda surprising. Especially with a name like White Widdow, which is a tough-sounding name.
This is really good, very German in sound. Never heard of the main guy ever. Carmine Rojas was David Bowie's leftenant for many years. No clips on YouTube, very rare LP, never on CD. where do you find these gems DZ?
Thanks Chris, a little Alter Bridge treasure hunt is on this weekend.
#40 | englandashes | ? at January 01 2019 22:01:31
George, has to be Fortress released in 2013, pretty sure it made my top 10 and still regularly played, plus the tracks, my champion from 2016 Last Hero and the stunning Open Your Eyes from debut. The Myles Kennedy solo release also recommended , especially tracks Nothing But A Name and Love Can Only Heal, made my top 20 this year, picked up AB live at Albert Hall over the break, so need to listen to this.
#41 | melodiapositiva | ? at January 01 2019 17:53:08
I like all kansas albums this included,but i think half of the songs here are mediocre and not very inspirated .Livgren ´s songs are still very good but i only like "away from you" from Walsh ,the other more progressive songs are pointless ,trying to capture the sound of older albums but
without conviction.Apart from that Walsh voice sounds great as always.
Peppy Castro post Balance, as discussed in forums many moons ago, sings two songs on the soundtrack of the german hard core movie "Born For Love 2" from 1987, namely "Don't Say No" (Flechsig/Putzig/Reuther/Rex) and "Heart Of Hearts" (sic) (Fischer/Chase/Blake). For what I know this stuff has never been released on CD or vinyl ever.
Couldn't check the end credits of "Born For Love" (part 1 - made with same actors and production!) to see if Peppy is there too.... anyone?
I think it is fan's financial circumstances that prevent them from buying music. Retail CD"S selling on the high street are upward of 20 and 30 dollars in Australia. That money is better spent on your mobile phone connection or your home internet. Young people know this. Music fans are not dumb. I'm of the opinion that physical CD's are on the way out.
This past year has seen me embracing my Power Pop roots big time. My particular list differs greatly from yours George, but isn't that the beauty of it ?, at the heart of it all though lies a deep seated love in all things Rock and all things Melodic..long may it continue.
Just recently picked up Nickelback's 'Dark Horse' based on Jeffs' recommendation. Only ten years late, go figure.
#58 | melodiapositiva | ? at December 28 2018 12:16:59
Maybe I have not expressed myself well. I love the album and Sykes' compositions seem great to me but
the sound of the guitar solos seems too loud for my taste,and i´m sure i´m not the only one who thinks this way.I prefer the guitar sound of Moody and Marsden ,that´s all....
Terrific AOR album. 'Did It All For Love' was also a big hit in Brazil. A remix of this ballad, with Mervyn Spence on vocals under the 'O'Ryan' pseudonym, is a bonus track in the Cd reissue. Max Bacon participated in a talent contest after GTR and I read is currently a pub owner in England.
#63 | melodiapositiva | ? at December 26 2018 10:26:51
As they say, It's never too late. I missed this album in the reviews section because it's a great classic from the 80's. The first album was also great but this time we have a few singers to share the songs, and what singers! Especially Ray Gillen, he's on fire here. I love the John Wetton ballad that by the way was a big hit that year in Puerto Rico And don't forget the great Max Bacon, one of the most unlucky singers in AOR, it's not fair with such a beautiful voice he couldn't have a more successful career.
Ex Airrace singer Keith Murrell sings background vocals on this album on "Coast To Coast" and "Just The Beginning". He is wrongly credited in the liner notes as "Keith MORELL" (sic) ! Reminds me of "GUIFFRIA" wrongly spelled on an Angel album, and not only see the first picture below .... sic sic
@Gdazegod regarding your question about the Paysons, I can't confirm if Arthur and Janice (Payson) are relatives or husband/wife or simply lastnamesakes. What is sure is that Arthur - not yet a Sir! - was a co-writer and arranger (but not producer) on Janice's 1985 Atlantic album when he was already 34, I have it. At Arthur's 34 they could have easily been a husband and wife couple also...Never found an mp3 rip of the album around tho'....anyone?
I brought that to light since it contained another version of Changes Of Heart already put out by "Dominique" a year before again on Atlantic, in a much superior and rockier/aor-ish version. Janice's take was very Madonna-esque...
Interesting. I remember hearing '7 Year Ache' on the radio back then and there was nothing remotely Country about it and very AOR. Never bothered with her albums, but might look into her catalog now....
As you say George, rather disjointed but there`s enough quality here to keep me satisfied.This Synthwave movement is, I reckon the new AOR. Bands such as LeBrock have got it sussed.Big Keys, Choruses, great melodies.
I'm reminiscing about 30 years of stuff - graduation from college, getting engaged (still married to the gal), landing my first job - and getting this album. I mentioned that I mentally link it with the Survivor 'Too Hot To Sleep' album, which I play at least a couple of times per month. I'm playing this whole album for what is probably the first time in two years or so. I consider it to be one that is backloaded with the stronger songs, which is likely why it didn't grab me as much years ago. I think the second half is pretty similar to what's on 'Dawn Patrol'. And I still wish that 'I Did It For Love' made more sense lyrically. I thought it was me back then; now I think it's them.
I have the Jap CD of this. Not a great CD, but I won't sell it.
#79 | george_the_jack | ? at December 19 2018 16:31:22
That's an excellent album.
For me Robin Beck's numbers work best, especially ''First time'' but there's great stuff throughout the whole thing.
The Queensryche covers while they are admittedly very good, I wouldn't go as far as to say they're better than the originals - we're dealing with the iconic ''Operation Mindcrime'' and ''Empire'' after all, which IMO feature one of the best productions ever in rock music no matter the genre. However, that was a very brave attempt and worked out quite nicely!
They only tracks I didn't like as much are the Toto ones but I can see why they may appeal to some.
All in all, a very refreshing listen that provides a different perspective on well-known classics.
'She Got The Look' is a fantastic AOR song with those keyboards and harmonies. Listening to it in the Heavy Metal Collection Vol. 3 cd, which includes Raven and Venom songs among others in an interesting compilation.
This is really good. I was thinking of artists like Gerry Rafferty, Rupert Holmes, Ian Matthews, that sort of thing. Preservation Records are a Norwegian reissue label. I've had this album since it was released, and we should've covered it earlier. Just landed their debut (1977's 'Dedicate' ). Giving that a listen atm.
I hear that better now. I had to concentrate a little harder. I've often had trouble determining who's singing when there are two vocalists with similar vocal timbres, like in .38 Special and Night Ranger (although I've figured out who's singing in all their stuff by now). Not much of a problem with Air Supply, though
#93 | Carl Noonan | ? at December 07 2018 13:57:49
Hi Jeff re the bonus track 'Streets of Fire' . Steve and Jerome duet on that song. Steve takes the first verse, Jerome takes the second and they duet throughout the rest of the track :-)
Yes, it came out in the summer. It took a while for my copy to arrive, although I only ordered the single CD option.
#96 | george_the_jack | ? at December 04 2018 22:54:41
I know I'm not in the majority, but on their debut I had issues with the vocals. Same thing held me back from enjoying the Night Flight Orchestra right from the first listens. Those are really incredible though and I could withdraw my initial reservations for their lead singer. I hope my mind will also change with the new Care Of Night. The lyric video is promising.
Has this CD been released yet ?? I bought the 3 cd package frpm pledge music as soon as I read the review . But haven't received anything yet. I was under the impression that it came out in late summer.
#98 | Carl Noonan | ? at December 03 2018 18:39:43
I think the last 3 tracks are among the best on the album :-)
#99 | melodiapositiva | ? at December 03 2018 16:38:20
This man should have been the replacement of Steve walsh in Kansas .He´s like a young Walsh ,i love his voice!
#100 | jeffrey343 | ? at December 03 2018 16:20:21
You must have posted this right as I was writing my comment