Although the band has put out several fine albums over the years, Golden Earring has not always had an easy time staying consistent from album to album. This 1980 effort is one of the rare instances in the Golden Earring catalog in which the group takes a good album, No Promises...No Debts, and actually improves on it. Like the aforementioned album, Prisoner of the Night presents a collection of songs that combine pop hooks and hard rock muscle in a radio-friendly way. However, Golden Earring improves on this style instead of recycling it: The guitar riffs hit harder, the hooks are catchier, and the arrangements are more willing to toss an occasional left turn at the listener while still managing to keep the songs lean and exciting. Good examples include "No for an Answer," which combines a muscular array of guitar riffs and a frenetic hard rock tempo with a killer singalong chorus, and "My Town," an amped-up slice of driving power pop that is worthy of Cheap Trick. However, the finest of the rockers is "Long Blond Animal," which combines a stomping beat, a circular guitar riff, and another infectious chorus to create a blood-pumping rocker that is as catchy as it is invigorating. Some of the other songs don't quite hit the manic highs of these standout tracks, but everything is well-arranged and features unexpected twists that keeps things fresh (i.e., the new wave synthesizer riff that pops up out of nowhere midway through the power ballad "Will and Mercy"). The end result is one of the finest albums of Golden Earring's career. It's a required listen for the group's fans and an album that is likely to win over any pop/rock devotee who gives it a spin.
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AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco