Though on paper a Broadway musical incorporating 1980s arena rock songs into a comedic love story sounded like a long shot, Rock of Ages became a surprise hit, striking just the right mix of nostalgia, outright silliness, and healthy respect for the glory of big hair hits. The original Broadway cast recording was mixed by Michael Barbiero (Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction and Metallica's ...And Justice for All), and the veteran engineer gives extra sonic heft to the recordings, resulting in one of the few cast albums that actually rocks. Led by Constantine Maroulis, best known as the sixth runner-up on the 2005 season of American Idol, and Lauren Molina (Sweeny Todd), the cast does a fine job of mixing the bombastic flavor of the original songs with a lighthearted sense of Broadway cheese in a manner that often recalls the best moments of Grease. Though remaking all-time classic tracks like Pat Benatar's "Shadows of the Night," Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself for Loving You," and Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" may seem like musical heresy to some fans, the actors and musicians imbue the proceedings with a sense of fun and party-time abandon that keeps the pyrotechnic fires of '80s rock burning bright all the way down the Great Whitesnake Way.
AllMusic Review by Pemberton Roach