By Brent Michael, Rock At Night Tampa Senior Correspondent
ALBUM REVIEW: Crosson’s Rock’N’Roll Love Affair, released April 24, 2020-Galaxy Records
Don’t you miss the late ’70s, and ’80s? Arena rock, glam bands, hair bands, heavy metal on the mainstream charts, wailing guitars? The heyday of bands like Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, Poison, Aerosmith, KISS, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Ratt, the list goes on! Flashy shows, flashier clothes, the harmonic vocals, the disco influences, all combined to make the era unique for metal fans – and now, it’s back!
Crosson describes itself as “Theatrical Glam Rock Warriors,” and I’d say that’s accurate. It’s also the latest – end?- stage in the evolution of the band. In 2008 they had an Adam Ant look going, by 2011 they were more gothic, and by 2016 they had transitioned to the Poison-style look of today.
But what about the music, you say? This ten-song album is replete with anthemic rock, beginning with “Everyone’s A Star,” the opening chords bringing to mind Ram Jam’s “Black Betty.” Only the first few seconds, though, because it changes up into more of a motivational song – and weren’t there a lot of motivational speakers who gained fame in the early ’80s? “Givin’ Up Living Giving Up” follows it, and despite the title follows the same theme.
“Rest In Peace” seems to be a thank you to a deceased lover, one who supported him but was suddenly gone, swirling into a fantasy about meeting her “on the other side.” Not a downbeat song, it’s more appropriate for a wake than a funeral! “We All Need An Enemy” is an interesting take on an anti-war song, decrying the manipulation of people into hating others we don’t know, while acknowledging the motivational aspect of our need for an opposition, for struggle to make us stronger.
“Weak At The Knees (For A Hot Brunette)” brings us back to the more typical rock song subject, a song written because Jason Crosson was tired of songs about blondes, and has a thing for brunettes! Sounding like a cross between Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, the song is just good clean fun! Well, maybe not so clean. It also reminds me of another unique thing about this band: Lead Singer Jason Crosson doesn’t sound like a eunuch! Seriously, I’m reminded of a comedic routine done by a local band way back in 1977. When the time came to do a Leo Sayer song, the male lead singer turned to the female lead – and she delivered a swift kick up between the legs to help him hit the high notes! Okay, it was funny then, but the point is that many bands gained fame because their vocals hit those extremely high notes. Not Crosson; though the band does have two ladies for some high-pitched choruses, most of the male vocals sound like male vocals! “Rock ‘N Roll Love Affair” sounds like Godsmack’s “Voodoo” at the start, but shifts to Scorpion-style guitars and layered complex vocal harmonies – another signature of Crosson’s style – to give it a sound all its own.
“Possessed” starts with a staccato snare and keeps that driving rhythm throughout, with vocals reminiscent of David Bowie! “You’re The Reason” is the closest thing to a ballad on the album, another thank-you song, this one to the woman who picked up the pieces – after the other one died? Something to ask in an interview!
Winding up the album is “Merry Go Round,” which sounds as if the band wanted to write Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” but found out the song was already done, so they changed the lyrics and music but still brought the emotion, the same pain of a guy done wrong by a temptress working her way through all the men in town, leaving a trail of broken hearts. Personally, I thought it was one of the strongest songs on the album. Ending up, Crosson is “Back on The Attack,” which sounds a lot like “Detroit Rock City” by Kiss in the beginning, another war song, but this time on a personal level – directed at a former lover, or at former band members? More likely the latter, by the use of “we” and “leading the pack.” Maybe critics who were unkind?
All in all, 10 songs with considerable variety yet all fitting under the metal umbrella!
|01-Everyone’s A Star||4:46|
|02-Givin’ Up Living Giving Up||3:30|
|03-Rest In Peace||4:16|
|04-We All Need An Enemy||3:25|
|05-Weak At The Knees (For A Hot Brunette)||3:49|
|06-Rock ‘N Roll Love Affair||3:39|
|08-You’re The Reason||3:50|
|09-Merry Go Round||3:49|
|10-Back on The Attack||3:52|
The album was once again mixed by legendary U.S producer Duane Baron (Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, Poison), mastered by U.S mastering legend Dave Donnelly (Aerosmith, KISS, Whitesnake) , and engineered by Aussie veteran Russell Pilling (The Vines, Hoodoo Gurus)