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Still Climbing

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Reviews

Average Rating
★★★★½
(24 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • At the time Cinderella released Still Climbing, grunge music was still riding high as bands like Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, and Soundgarden were topping the Billboard album charts. Hard rock or “hair metal” was dismissed as nearly every band of the genre except for its superstars (ex…Bon Jovi, Def Leppard) became extinct in the eyes of the general public. Which brings us to Cinderella, a band coming off 3 platinum albums, several Top 40 hits, and a sound more suited to traditional rockers Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones than hair metal bands Poison and White Lion. Sadly, they met the same fate as those latter bands despite their strong catalog of music.

    Although it sold very little and barely made the charts, Still Climbing is a very strong release and their most consistent album since their debut album Night Songs. After the riff-rock of their debut, the band expanded their sound with each release and they reached their apex here. While many ’80s hard rock bands would add horns and keyboards to spice up their sound, none of them did it as well as Cinderella as evidenced by the R&B horns on the killer tracks “All Comes Down” and “Talk Is Cheap” and the piano on the stellar title song. “Hard To Find The Words” is arguably their best ballad and in another time would have been a huge hit along the lines of “Don’t Know What You Got (Til It’s Gone).” The hard rockers “Blood From A Stone” and “Easy Come Easy Go” are great hard rock songs played with conviction even if they don’t possess the catchy hooks of earlier hits “Gypsy Road” and “Shake Me.” The killer opener “Bad Attitude Shuffle” and “Free Wheelin” rock even harder and are much stronger than the heaviest songs on their previous albums such as “Fire And Ice” and “Love Gone Bad.” Other decent tracks include the introspective “The Road’s Still Long” and “Hot & Bothered” which was originally released on the Wayne’s World soundtrack. The only song that really doesn’t work is the ballad “Through The Rain” which sounds forced compared to the rest of the set. However, this is a very strong album that all fans of the band and great hard rock music should check out.

    Posted on November 23, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • It seems even a little sad that this album never was payed it’s proper dues. Coming out in ‘94, well after the glam era was written off, Still Climbing never recieved the attention of Cinderella’s earlier albums, although it was definitely one of their best. With ballads such as Hard To Find The Words and Through The Rain, the album shows the band’s ability to switch up the tempo. But the real show in this album is the heavy guitar on such songs as Talk Is Cheap and All Comes Down. This is one of the few albums I have, that I can listen to each song without ever skipping.

    Posted on November 23, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This was a very great album for the band, but their record company failed them in exposure on the radio(little or no air play).Die hard Cinderella fans will appreciate the effort they put into this CD,I know I have.

    Posted on November 23, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Cinderella is one of those groups that I found myself discovering only recently. Their first two efforts included the ‘Night Songs’ (the band’s rockin’ debut) and theexcellent ‘Long Cold Winter’. These two albums are very enjoyable and everyone had high expectations for their next record. Unfortunately, in 1990 when the band released their third album, ‘Heartbreak Station’, it failed to meet most fans’ expections including mine. There are a few very good songs on the cd and that is the problem because there are not enough of them. Also the music on this record is so blunt and in-your-face flat-out blues it becomes unbearable at times for me to stand listening to. I was expecting a rock and roll cd not a blues record. Lyric-wise, though, the songs have matured considerably. Also keep in mind that this album is not terrible; but it just is not nearly as much a pleasure to listen to as their previous albums.’Still Climbing’, which hit shelves (but not very hard, i.e. grunge) four years after ‘Hearbreak Station’, more than makes up for the previous let-down. This is a very solid, hard-rocking album. “Freewheelin’” completely threw me off–I did not expect to hear Cinderella rock that hard. This one should have been played all over the radios but it WAS 1994 wasn’t it? “Through the Rain” is an excellent ballad along the lines of “Coming Home” and “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Til It’s Gone)”–it’s that good. My other favorite tracks are “the Road’s Still Long”, “Bad Attitude Shuffle”, “Still Climbing” and “Blood From a Stone”. “Hot & Bothered” is a very good bonus song that was originally featured on the Wayne’s World soundtrack but it does not belong on this album. I agree with one of the other reviewers, it sounds TOTALLY out of place on this album. As for the rest of the songs, they are good as well. So, all in all, you get a very solid album with Cinderella’s latest studio album (they still haven’t released a new one yet, hopefully one is in the works), ‘Still Climbing’. I would recommend this cd to any fan of good rock and roll.

    Posted on November 22, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Your record company (and you too) are disappointed with your last album’s sales. Your mother dies of cancer. You’re a singer and have throat surgery. This is just the most basic summary of what the situation was like for Cinderella’s singer, songwriter, and lead guitar player Tom Keifer as the band tried to put this album together. They were some of the factors at work.What comes out of this is an album with a decidedly dark and agressive aspect. Mercury tried to hype it as a return to the old Cinderella “attitude”. Clearly they pushed for a record closer to “Night Songs” and “Long Cold Winter” feeling it would be more commercially viable. What they got though was a record that is almost sinister at times. This vibe is achieved largely through the first three songs. “Bad Attitude Shuffle” is just a great kiss off song, and uses the f-bomb for the first time on a Cinderella record. “Take Is Cheap” and “All Comes Down” follow in a moody, (…angry) vein. What follows is “Hard To Find The Words” which is Tom’s song for his recently departed mother. “Blood From A Stone” is another song which talks about futility and being in tough times and is another raised middle finger to the world. This is not late 80’s party music. It’s hard rock but it’s dark without quite being metal. The sound is different too. There is quite literally a wall of guitars on each track. The pianos and horns are still there but it seems as if Cinderella were told to up the guitar quotient. It’s as if Phil Spector had produced in a way. There are weaving lead guitars throughout most of the album which also contribute to a feeling of oppresiveness and confusion. The angst Tom Keifer must be feeling is almost there for you to touch.That is not to say though that the entire album is dark. “Still Climbing” is an excellent track that while sonically similar to the album’s first half manages to be a self-affirming song about keepig going in the toughest times. “Freewheelin’” is a Cinderella song from before they were ever signed and “Easy Come Easy Go” could gave been off of the band’s “Long Cold Winter” album. They’re both more positive rockers that sandwich “Through The Rain” which is a more uplifting ballad. It touches a similar point as “Still Climbing”. “The Road’s Still Long” concludes the album proper and is a song about dealing with life and thinking you know what it’s all about. Obviously this was partly inspired by Tom’s mother’s death as well. It was written with help from Andy Johns who was supposed to produce the album. Finally it comes to a close with “Hot & Bothered” from the Wayne’s World soundtrack. This was recorded a few years before and is probably the closest hint at what Cinderella’s fourth release would have been if not for Tom’s throat problems and the loss of his mother. As such though “Hot & Bothered” sounds completely out of place.Overall it’s a fine album but for Cinderella fans such as myself it’s a tough listen. Tom’s voice is noticably different as he was still recovering from throat problems, there is the prevailing darkness of the album’s first half, and the sound itself is a lot more busy and less streamlined than the band’s earlier efforts. It doesn’t make it any worse of an album, but it sure is different.At the time I didn’t know of Tom’s throat problems, and I figured out the death of his mother from “Hard To Find The Words”. It was a VERY powerful first listening, but also shocking as aurally it’s quite different from the band’s first three albums. It doesn’t fit their musical progression. I believe that commercial pressures and Tom’s personal problems explain this. As such it is Cinderella’s most intimate records in some ways as you can really tell what’s going on with the band.Ultimately I think the record has so much truth and heart, and rocks so hard, that it is must hear for people who enjoyed Cinderella’s chart topping days or like hard rock in general. There are lessons to be learned here.

    Posted on November 22, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now