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Cinderella – Heartbreak Station [1990]

It’s almost as if Cinderella’s Tom Keifer used glam metal as a Trojan horse to get his foot in the door of the industry. It certainly worked, as Cinderella’s first two albums were major hits. So for album number three, it seems Keifer and Cinderella had earned themselves a little bit of artistic leeway to try something a bit different. Keifer’s real passion, it seems, was blues rock. With Heartbreak Station, it became abundantly clear that Keifer’s taste for southern-fried blues was in full bloom. There’s slide guitars, lap steels, the jingle-jangle of pianos, and even cowbells.

The problem is that Keifer didn’t real put any original twist on these songs. Instead, he just created a collage of well-worn southern rock and blues devices ripped directly from the records that influenced him. This is really apparent with the derivative lyrics on Heartbreak Station. When Keifer sings of picking up his gee-tar and playing, or of sitting on his daddy’s knee, or his po’ boy heart breaking — you have to almost laugh. Dude was born in Pennsylvania and spent the last five years of his life wearing more make up than Tammy Fay Bakker for Christ’s sake! Now he wants us to picture him twanging on the front porch with an ol’ hound dog by his side? How can we possibly take him seriously?

Putting the questionable motives aside for a moment and looking at Heartbreak Station from a purely musical perspective, I will concede the album has some good songs. The familiar chord progressions we find on tracks Shelter Me and One For Rock And Roll make them immediately accessible. The title track is another fave. I cannot say, however, that Heartbreak Station is better than Long Cold Winter (1988) — that album had at least two serious gems in Gypsy Rose and Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone). Heartbreak Station doesn’t have any songs to rival those — and the album really falls off the shelf on side two thanks to some less-than-stellar filler like Love Gone Bad and Electric Love.

Band Members
Eric Brittingham – Bass
Fred Coury – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Jeff LaBar – Guitars
Tom Keifer – Vocals, Guitars, Mandolin, Piano, Dobro

Tracks
01. The More Things Change (4:21)
02. Love’s Get Me Doin’ Time (5:20)
03. Shelter Me (4:50)
04. Heartbreak Station (4:27)
05. Sick For The Cure (3:39)
06. One For Rock ‘N’ Roll (4:28)
07. Dead Man’s Road (6:38)
08. Make Your Own Way (4:17)
09. Electric Love (5:24)
10. Love Gone Bad (4:23)
11. Winds Of Change (5:35)

Jeff from Play it Loud

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