RSO - 'Radio Free America' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 03, 2018    
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I absolutely love this release, and it was just a touch closer than it should've been.

I'm probably going to get some flak for this one! Firstly, the important disclosure – Richie Sambora is my all-time artist, 'Stranger In This Town' my all-time album and 'One Light Burning' my all-time song. For those wondering why this is in Re-issues, twelve of the fifteen tracks have been previously released as EPs or singles.

I'm abundantly aware several of my fellow writers are exceedingly unimpressed with RSO (including another avid Sambora fan) and I truly respect their views. I'll also freely admit that after the first couple of spins, I thought this was pretty poor as well. However, I stuck with it and a few listens later, it suddenly worked its magic on me – I was unable to shift several songs from my head for weeks! Sambora's solo albums were all somewhat different, and if you're expecting anything like them, you'll certainly be disappointed; not only is 'Radio Free America' different again, but it's rather eclectic in itself.

Time to put my cards on the table, why do I adore this release? Opener 'Making History' is somewhat riffy with a catchy chorus, 'Take Me' is an enjoyable, soulful number, 'Masterpiece' grooves along nicely on Pop-like beat, 'I Don't Want To Have To Need You Now' is rather fine and 'Rise' has a tasty guitar line alongside another memorable chorus. Then you also have the gorgeous 'Forever All The Way', the beautiful 'Truth' and the entertaining cover of 'I Got You Babe'. Obtaining bronze and silver are the wonderful 'We Are Magic' (featuring the old 'Living On A Prayer' voice-box), which had me boogieing away, and the fantastic, Countrified 'Walk With Me'. However, plundering the gold is the utterly awesome, fun-sounding 'Good Times' where Sambora and Orianthi deliciously trade vocal lines; honestly, any song that has you shaking your butt in the middle of a supermarket can't be bad and this is one of my favourites tracks of the year.

Vocally, Sambora doesn't sound as powerful as he's done previously, but the material doesn't really call for it. His vocal interactions with Orianthi are superb (she really is a bloody star) and as for the guitar playing, who the hell knows who's playing what. I recently said that if a particular release wasn't my Album of 2018 I'd pay a serious forfeit; 'Radio Free America' certainly isn't going to result in major embarrassment for anybody, but I absolutely love this release, and it was just a touch closer than it should've been!

Dave Scott

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