Released: 2005, Universal Music
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Cinderella was one of those bands whose initial foray on the scene saddled them throughout their brief career. Riding the dolled-up glam wave of the mid-80s with Poison, Slaughter and The Vinnie Vincent Invasion, NIGHT SONGS saw the band in full makeup, gigantic hair, fluorescent spandex and stiletto boots. The songs on that release were catchy, simple and ready for the video channels and the band achieved great success because of that record. Their sophomore release, LONG COLD WINTER, saw them moving away from the overtly glam image and also growing as musicians and songwriters with a bluesy edge beginning to pop up. It wasn’t until the next release, HEARTBREAK STATION, though, where the music became more important than the image and stripped down songs started to become the norm. Sadly, just as Cinderella was beginning to break out of the confines of pop metal, the musical climate changed almost overnight and the band was seen as has–beens of a bygone era. 1995’s STILL CLIMBING was an attempt to remain viable but that release failed to make any impact in the current scene and the band’s early fans had moved on.
It was a short ride but over the course of three albums, Cinderella left an indelible impression on the late 80s. Poison was certainly bigger but they seemed more into partying and getting laid, while Cinderella was more about the music. ROCKED, WIRED & BLUESED: THE GREATEST HITS gathers all the hits and throws in a few forgotten gems for old fans and newcomers to sink their teeth into. 1986’s NIGHT SONGS, guided by Jon Bon Jovi, was (and is) a near-perfect glam album and four tracks get the nod here. The music takes a child of the 80s like myself back to high school and elicits great memories of cruising to “Shake Me” and “Somebody Save Me.” Tom Keifer’s raspy vocals complemented the bluesy, Rolling Stones/Aerosmith riff hybrid of Jeff LaBar, whose wailing solos still sound killer. LONG COLD WINTER, the band’s 1988 breakthrough release, “Fallin’ Apart At The Seams” is one of the most underrated songs of the 80s and why it never became a hit amazes me. “Don’t Know What You Got (‘Til It’s Gone)” put Cinderella on the map and was played endlessly on MTV at the time. The piano-driven power ballad is as cheesy as a Wisconsin dairy but damn if it doesn’t get you singing along! “Gypsy Road” and “The Last Mile” explore the perils of touring and the exhausting success the band was having by this point. Both are catchy as hell and remain timeless. On 1991’s HEARTBREAK STATION, the band channeled a more organic sound forsaking the radio-friendly anthems for deeper, soulful lyrics as well as challenging themselves as musicians. Tracks like the bluesy, R&B-influence of “Shelter Me” and honky-tonk jam on “The More Things Change” finally made Cinderella a respected band rather than a novelty act but just like that, it was over. “Hot and Bothered” was one last blip on the radar thanks to the WAYNE’S WORLD soundtrack but Cinderella’s last kick at the cat with STILL CLIMBING was noticed only by its die-hard fan base.
Today, Cinderella tours with fellow 80s acts Poison, Slaughter, Quiet Riot and Ratt playing the hits to fans looking for some nostalgia and for those unable to make it to the live shows, the tracks on ROCKED, WIRED & BLUESED: THE GREATEST HITS will surely get you by. This is an excellent, bargain-priced collection that is sure to please long-time fans and is also a great introduction to one of the best glam bands of the 80s.
KILLER KUTS: “Night Songs,” “Shake Me,” “Nobody’s Fool,” “Somebody Save Me,” “Bad Seamstress Blues/Fallin’ Apart At The Seams,” “Gypsy Road,” “Don’t Know What You Got (‘Til It’s Gone),” “The Last Mile”