If you watched “Rocky IV” in the 80’s, you would have heard it’s melodic rock soundtrack.
At its essence, the “Rocky IV” movie is a combination of music videos segments.
The “Apollo vs Drago” pre fight has 4 minutes devoted to “Living In America”. There are two training scenes, with “Hearts On Fire” and “Training Montage” taking up 8 minutes in total. Then there is the final fight scene, which takes up another 4 minutes.
There is also a scene in the movie, which involves Rocky driving his sports car, with the song “No Easy Way Out” playing and various scenes of Rocky’s time with Apollo flashing before his eyes. It happened at a pivotal time in the time, with Apollo dying in the ring, Rocky then organising a fight against Drago (Apollo’s killer) and Adrian telling him, “you can’t win”.
Close to 30 minutes of a 90 minute movie is devoted to musical scenes.
So it was only a matter of time before an album came out from Robert Tepper.
But before that, another Stallone movie came out in 1986 called “Cobra” which had the song “Angel In The City”, another Tepper cut.
So Tepper had momentum with the soundtrack songs, released the album and nothing. Back when sales was the metric of success, the album stiffed and charted low.
But it doesn’t mean the album is crap. It’s actually very good melodic rock album.
First check out the studio band, as it has some experience.
While Tepper does the vocals, Dan Huff and Guy Marshall play the guitars.
Myron Grombacher is on drums.
Tim Landers on bass and a range of keyboardists in Kim Bullard, Alan Pasqua and Richard Gibbs.
You can Google their names and see their body of work as band members and session musos.
Let’s get to the album.
“No Easy Way Out” was released in 1986 by Scotti Brothers Records.
And it’s no surprise, that the album starts off with the two soundtrack songs.
No Easy Way Out
The bass riff to start it off is iconic. The feel of it reminds me of the bass riff in “Living On A Prayer”.
The vocal melody from Tepper is emotive and how good is the outro solo.
There’s no easy way out
There’s no short cut home
Truth right there.
Angel Of The City
The bass groove is simple, yet memorable as it drives the song with the synth chords.
The song will always bring back memories of the”Cobra” movie. Brigitte Nielsen is doing a photo shoot while “The Night Slasher” and his entourage get ready to kill another victim.
Whip it cracks just like thunder
Some survive her, most go under
The lyrics deal with the survival of the 9 to 5 grind by looking for some mythical Angel to save us.
Don’t Walk Away
Another classic. Latin like but with a bit of New Wave and a whole slab of melodic rock. It basically could be on a melodic rock, a Duran Duran album or a Ricky Martin album.
Once we had a purpose
Once, once we had a song
Once the feeling disappears
It’s all gone
Can love ever come back if disappears?
Your Love Hurts
It has this “Purple Rain” vibe which I like.
Press play to hear the synth melody.
It’s got this Bruce Springsteen spirit which I like.
A restless spirit
Looking for a chance
In this restless world
Aren’t we all.
It’s like mid 80s Rush and I like it.
It’s a favorite. Very pop rock like.
Check out the arpeggios in the Intro which also reappear in the Chorus.
My soul survivor
Without you, what do I have left
My soul survivor
Cannot make it by myself
Press play to hear the vocal melody in the Chorus. It reminds me of the band Gun.
If That’s What You Call Lovin’
The balladeer career of Michael Bolton would be proud of this one.
The song fits on the album however I’m not a huge fan of songs like these.
Almost soul funk rock. Mid 80s Rush definitely comes to mind.
After the second album “Modern Madness” (1988), Tepper got put on ice by his label. They weren’t interested to release any new music from him, nor did they want to release him from his contract.
He finally got out of this deal in the mid 90s and his third album came out in 1996.