If you're reading this hoping for some postmodern exegesis on early '80s hard rock or some guilty-pleasure about "Sister Christian," read no further. Night Ranger never pretended to be anything more than a melodic hard-rock band, so there's no point in pretending otherwise. But, as San Francisco's best practitioners of a very particular sound — that same sound Loverboy was producing in Canada and Bon Jovi in Jersey — they certainly succeeded quite well. Sure, the music from their best record (1982's debut disc, Dawn Patrol) hasn't aged all that gracefully; the tinny, superfluous keyboard lines and upfront, four-on-the-floor drumming date the tunes mercilessly. But date-markers aside, the tunes are still catchy, and the guitar lines — especially on cuts like "Don't Tell Me You Love Me" — are surprisingly chunky. Even on the album that contained "Sister Christian" (Midnight Madness), Night Ranger got in a couple of sturdy, singalong rockers. Amazingly, though, they were regarded as lightweights in a somewhat lightweight scene, the band has managed to persevere for more than a quarter-century with various lineups, thanks mainly to the irrefutable lighter-ballad power of "Sister Christian." Don't try to revise history to make them seem more substantial than they were; just enjoy the songs in all their insipid goodness.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.