Ronnie Atkins: ‘Make It Count’

Released on March 18, 2022 (Frontiers Music Srl)

It’s always cool when you hear a new single from an artist and you are so blown away that you decide there and then that you need to get the entire album. Of course, when that occurs, you’re hoping that the other tracks on the record, which you have yet to hear, will be at the same level as the song that blew you away in the first place. In the case of Ronnie Atkins‘ second full-length solo record Make It Count, the single that got my attention right away was “Rising Tide.” As it turns out from looking at Sleaze Roxx‘s “news” postings regarding Atkins, I must have heard the song “Unsung Heroes” prior to “Rising Tide” but the former did nothing for me. However, upon listening to “Rising Tide”, not only did I end up listening to the song a couple more times in a row, I decided there and then that I needed to add Make It Count in my record collection. And that was simply because if Ronnie Atkins had a couple more songs at the sublime level of “Rising Tide”, I had likely found Sleaze Roxx‘s album of the year for 2022.

Although “Rising Tide” starts with what sounds like a keyboard intro (not my favorite), the song quickly picks up the pace with the very enjoyable verses and the song just never lets up. I was thinking this is the best song that I have heard involving Atkins since Pretty Maids‘ classic track “Future World” a few decades ago. As I listened to the song one more time for the purpose of this review, I finally realized that “Rising Tide” could be easily found on one of Masterplan‘s first two albums. If you’ve never heard Masterplan‘s two first records — Masterplan (2003) and Aeronautics (2005) — do yourself a favour and pick up those two masterpieces. I was really hoping for more of the same on Make It Count but alas, that was not meant to be. Instead, most of Atkins‘ second full-length solo album is really comprised of melodic rock tracks with sometimes very little punch despite the singer’s quality vocals.

The opening track “I’ve Hurt Myself (By Hurting You)” is actually pretty good with some strong melodies but obviously a let down after hearing the faster paced “Rising Tide.” “Unsung Heroes” is another decent track that feels a little watered down with the keyboards and heavily melodic chorus. I definitely enjoy the verses a lot more than the chorus part for that track. “The Tracks We Leave Behind” has some great melodies and is probably one of the best songs on the album with the verses flowing quite well into the chorus (and back) than some of the aforementioned tracks that I previously mentioned. “All I Ask of You” will likely get you singing along but I could have done without the needless slowed down portion just before the rather cool and explosive guitar solo. Sometimes, I think that Atkins and his co-writer / producer Chris Laney just pieced together various ideas that they had into one song and some parts just don’t work as well as others. After the two slower and sappy tracks “Grace” and “Let Love Lead The Way”, Atkins is back to his rocking best with “Blood Cries Out.” If only there were more songs in this vain on Make It Count… The last three songs on the album continue in the more melodic path ending with the title track.

Had I not been strongly and secretly hoping for more songs similar to “Rising Tide” prior to purchasing Make It Count, I would have appreciated the album a lot more. Overall, the songs are for the most part well crafted. There are some excellent melodies throughout and Atkins possesses a great voice that doesn’t seem to have weakened over time. Make It Count may not have contained the type of songs that I was hoping for but Atkins has for the most part delivered some quality material. It’s just a little too watered down and melodic for my musical taste. Perhaps it’s the Frontiers influence? Whatever the case, Make It Count is a decent album but just doesn’t possess enough grit to keep me fully interested.

Track List:
01. I’ve Hurt Myself (By Hurting You)
02. Unsung Heroes
03. Rising Tide
04. Remain To Remind Me
05. The Tracks We Leave Behind
06. All I Ask Of You
07. Grace
08. Let Love Lead The Way
09. Blood Cries Out
10. Easier To Leave (Than Being Left Behind)
11. Fallen
12. Make It Count

Band Members:
Ronnie Atkins – lead and backing vocals
Allen Sorensen – drums
Pontus Egberg – bass
Chris Laney – guitar, keyboards (2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12), solo (5)

Additional Musicians:
John Berg – solo (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9)
Morten Sandager – keyboards (1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
Linnéa Vickstróm – background vocals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12)
Anders Ringman – acoustic guitar (4, 8)
Oliver Hartmann – solo (7, 11)
Pontus Norgren – solo (8, 10)
Lasse Wellander – clean rhythm guitar (12), solo (12)

Produced and arranged by Chris Laney
Mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen

Band Websites:
Pretty Maids’ Official Website

Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, August 2022

Ronnie Atkins‘ “Rising Tide” video:

Ronnie Atkins‘ “Make It Count” video:

Ronnie Atkins‘ “I’ve Hurt Myself (By Hurting You)” video:

Ronnie Atkins‘ “Unsung Heroes” video: