Deep Tracks: Night Ranger – The Color of Your Smile

The Color of Your Smile (1987)

R-2848186-1303818856.jpegThis song is my favorite track from Big Life and the first video I watched on Canada’s MTV equivalent Much Music TV. I was visiting a relative in Arkansas who had a satellite television hook up, so I watched a few hours of music videos on this station. This song has that typical Night Ranger beginning: a rising keyboard that leads into a great rhythm guitar. Ironically, original keyboardist Alan Fitzgerald would leave the band after the Big Life album because he felt the band was writing too much guitar driven music. This song has great energy that is infectious and video that is linked here really captures that energetic joy. Of the five songs featured this week, “Color of Your Smile” has my favorite solo. This one features both Gillis and Watson who play sort of dueling solo roles. I am one who really likes well thought out and well written lyrics, but occasionally simple ones work best. Here we just have a man who likes to hang out with a woman. He is intrigued by her looks, but knows that it may not last long, “And I’m aware / Of all the friends you’ve gone through / A situation that convinces me / I’m cool on price / But short on my nights with you.” It just doesn’t matter – for a while anyway, “Never had a tougher situation / Lot of trouble with your reputation / I think, I’ll go and take a well deserved holiday.” Great energy – great song – great week of Night Ranger.

I honestly believe that you fans of ‘80s rock liked what you have heard here this week. I admire Night Ranger for continuing to make high quality music throughout the two decades that have followed their ‘80s heyday. They have released six more albums between 1995 and 2014. I have them all and can honestly say that they have not compromised their musical style one bit. They are still true to their California rock roots – as can be heard in this, their most recent video, the titular song from the from the album High Road released in 2014.

Yes, they are older and the band members have changed a bit, but that core of Jack Blades, Brad Gillis, and Kelly Keagy are still together and still making great music. I am finding it impossible to let the band go with only five deep tracks, so next week I am going to share five more. I may also reveal the third tape I bought that day. I do say MAY because it is a bit embarrassing.

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