Tom Keifer - The Way Life Goes (Merovee Records) 2013
1. Solid Ground (4:08)
This is the wait that doesn't end, yes it goes on and on my friend... Not since Guns 'n Roses "Chinese Democracy" has their been an album that fans have waited for this long. It's been close to a decade since rumors of Tom Keifer's solo album began to surface, and nothing new has come from Cinderella since 1994, despite the fact that the band has been a constant touring machine for the two decades since. As such, there are great expectations for this album. Of course this is not a Cinderella album, this is a solo album and as such it's a bit more eclectic than the average Cinderella album. The music seems almost evenly split between bluesy rock 'n' roll tracks and emotional balladry.
The album opens with one of the bluesy rock and roll songs, sounding like something Cinderella might have recorded for "Heartbreak Station". The guitars don't have that beefy, distortion like on early Cinderella albums. In fact, while all the songs are guitar driven, the guitar tone almost never has that heavy tone one might expect. That's not to say it sounds bad. In fact, the album is quite enjoyable, but if anyone is expecting "Night Songs" or "Shake Me" they will be disappointed. Other rockers from the album include the hooky "It's Not Enough", the bluesy "Cold Day in Hell" and "Ain't That A Bitch". A few songs such as "Mood Elevator", "Fools Paradise" and "The Way Life Goes" are very Aerosmith-esque ("Mood Elevator" features a guest appearance from Cinderella bandmate Jeff LaBar.) Both of these songs could have been recorded for "Get A Grip" or "Nine Lives". They just have that vibe and even Keifer's raspy howl sometimes sounds a bit like the vocal half of the Toxic Twins. The other half of the album is made up of moody ballads such as the ultra-catchy "A Different Light" and the Aerosmith-esque "You Showed Me". The first single from the album is "The Flower Song", a song that has a similar feel to Rod Stewart's "Maggie May". What's most impressive about all these songs is how catchy they are.
Despite Tom's voice problems over they years, his voice sounds great throughout, whether it be the loud shrieks or the more tender singing moments. However as good as Keifer sounds it's his songwriting and guitar playing takes center stage, offering a wide array of memorable riffs and melodies. Now if we could just get a new Cinderella album!