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Newman - Ignition

by Emily Schneider at 24 March 2020, 5:07 PM

Rock 'n Roll music. It's been a fast evolving genre, especially in the 70s and 80s when it ruled the radio airways. AOR is a branch of Rock that is still to this day one of the most iconic for many reasons; it's catchy, it's emotional, it's fun, and oh, did I mention it's catchy? British AOR band NEWMAN is one of those bands wanting to keep the spirit of Melodic Rock alive in the modern day. The band has been consistently creating albums since 1998. Their 12th album “Ignition” arrives on March 27th 2020 and you will certainly feel the nostalgia for days gone by after hearing this one.

“End of the Road” is an interesting choice for an opening track. It's a break up song with a quaint melody reminiscent of something on adult contemporary radio stations. It's not exactly an exciting intro, but I liked it well enough. “Chasing Midnight” continues the trend from the last, but this one has a little more atmosphere with some keys blended in. It has a 'drive with the windows down on a summer night' feel to it with its bright melody. “Ignition” turned out to be a song about a one night stand. This song had some laugh-worthy double entente in the lyrics and a fun 80s inspired flow. I liked the groovy bass line and retro dance beat through the song. “Worth Dying For” reminded me of JOURNEY with how it the verses really build up to a catchy chorus. Great choice to make this a single because this is a prime example of what fans of AOR like to hear most; a catchy melody, a solid guitar solo, and emotional lyrics to top it all off.

“To Go On Loving You” has a surprising intro. It begins with the chorus, but just the vocals layered like something by BOSTON. This trend with the vocals continues through the song, just with added music. I like that the keys got some time to shine in this song, they sounded great! I got nostalgic while listening to this song; I grew up hearing a lot of 80s Radio Rock (although I'm a 90s kid) and this song really captures that unique feeling beautifully. “Last Chance” is a lighthearted track. The melody is so sweet and reassuring to pair with the lyrics. You can imagine a guy rushing after the girl of his dreams with a bouquet of flowers and maybe a boombox in homage to the movie “Say Anything”. “Wild Child” is the song about a young rebellious woman that every rock band has to have. The particular tempo and melody style in this song reminds me of FOREIGNER and man, is it catchy. “Promise Me” felt a bit newer than the 80s laden tracks prior to this. The keys brought the track more to the 90s, which was a pleasant change up. Steve's vocals shine vibrantly in this track with his wide vocal range and the powerful emotion he evokes in the words he's singing. “The Island” sets the scene with some birds and the sound of ocean waves, then the song proceeds to take on a tempo that resembles something by Phil Collins. There's a subtle nautical feel to this song with the reverb and the percussion instruments that flow through this song, I kept thinking it was quite clever to do that.  “Welcome to the Rush”  has a great energetic feel to it. I honestly would have placed this track as the first song and not just because of the title. It just has this introductory energy, I feel like there's so much more to come by the end. Change places with the first track, and this would be just right.

Overall, I admittedly never listen to modern day Melodic Rock. It's just not a genre I look into very often, so this was something new for me. I can say NEWMAN does a great job at bringing in that nostalgic arena rock feel, just like the music you'd hear on the radio in the 80s. The vocals are great, with just the right amount of emotion to make it mildly cheesy but not over the top so it stays enjoyable. The keys and guitars channeled that AOR iconic feel by playing those catchy hum-worthy melodies as well. While this won't have me running out to a record store to buy the album, I can still say this is a solid album that is exactly what you expect, but can enjoy nevertheless.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. End Of The Road
2. Chasing Midnight
3. Ignition
4. Worth Dying For
5. To Go On Loving You
6. Moving Target
7. Last Chance
8. Life In The Underground
9. Wild Child
10. Promise Me
11. The Island
12. Welcome To The Rush
Steve Newman - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Rob McEwen - Drums & Percussion
Dave Bartlett - backing vocals on “End Of The Road,” “Ignition,” and “Moving Target
Mark Thompson-Smith - backing vocals on “Worth Dying For,” and “Welcome To The Rush
Record Label: AOR Heaven


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Edited 07 December 2022

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