Tom Keifer - The Way Life Goes

Tom Keifer The Way Life Goes cover
Tom Keifer
The Way Life Goes
Merovee Records
Tom Keifer, the much troubled and rather underappreciated frontman of Cinderella, that has suffered quite a bit during this lifetime, finding success only to have the rug, forcefully pulled under his feet, when he lost his voice, members of his family, his band and then he had to go through a divorce all in a decade, possibly, in less than half of it, actually! Ouch! Putting one foot in front of the other, and taking baby steps, Tom managed to put Cinderella back together after managing to undergo several surgeries, to remove the vocal nodules he had and retrain his voice, so he could sing again and get his life back in order, little by little. “The Way Life Goes” has been a plan that has been at the back of TK’s mind since the 90s, but obviously – it could never materialize with all the tragedies that hit him back in the day, so only songwriting for it had occurred in the olden days and recordings slowly started in 2003 and the only ended only almost a decade later! Talking about taking all the time he wanted with it! Tom’s wife Savannah and his producer as well as a couple of other people have aided him, a bit in the process of writing the songs, while he’s handling all the leads and guitars. The rest of the instruments are handled by close collaborators.
Well. I suppose, fans of the latter day Cinderella material especially the last 2 albums, will dig, the more bluesy, acoustic mood, of the songs on offer here. “The Way Life Goes” is very laid back, easy going, easy listening, no worries album, quite organic and with a lot of “breathing” space. There’s nothing compressed, nothing loud... you’re out of luck, young metal dude... and you know, let me rephrase that, maybe you’re in a shit load of luck, maybe you hit the #$#$#$# jackpot, because, now you’re in for something different for a change… so take the jelly out of your ears and pay attention young brat!
“Solid Ground” starts with a sweet lick, and a screaming howl, that would have you mistake it for a proper Cinderella tune, but soon, is sorta mellows out a bit – it still maintains an edge… I suppose you could think of something like “Gypsy Road” done in a very acoustic way… it has that vibe… or I suppose, well, “A Little Shelter” might be a slightly better match...
“A Different Line” is a weird dissonant ballad – with a few modernisms – that changes moods quite unpredictably, and has some interesting hooks. Smart orchestration and quite unpredictable buildup. Wow! Nice one!
“It’s not Enough” kicks off with a minimal and very urgent sounding riff and TK, just murmuring on top of it, until he erupts over it, riding and sliding into the proper chorus! It’s sexy and dirty and has this “attitude” that makes it quite... interesting, but it’s a little bit too short – it’s ends rather abruptly! Whoops! Gone!
“Cold Day in Hell” had me wondering – if it were gonna be a Gary Moore/BB cover – but apparently it’s an original. It’s an interesting “horny”, rock n rolling, little number, about breaking up for good with a woman that’s trixing and hustling, thus not being worth the trouble.
“Thick ‘n Thin” on the other hand is the polar opposite of the previous song, is a hymn to a woman that’s worth giving away your last breath for, even if you know you’d be dying right the next minute.
It's the obligatory ballad and even though – TK’s voice is getting a little thin, in a couple of instances – so what?! It makes it even more so believable… it’s the slight little flaw that makes a diamond unique... I’m so tired of “perfect studio” takes – and singers that can’t even hit ONE SINGLE of those notes live… (hmm one OU$#$##% comes to mind ooops)
“Ask Me Yesterday” is another laid back ballad, that works rather nicely in the context of the album and soothes things down.
“Fools Paradise” begins with a rather eastern flavored riff and has a rather Zeppy viby but it’s not that much out and out, psychedelic. I’d say it probably ends up sounding more like early Aerosmith than anything else.
“The Flower Song” is effing hippie, lol, but what would you expect with a title like that, haha! It’s a trippy poppy, love song, that's very simple and straightforward. I’d dare say, it reminded me a bit of early Kiss balladry and maybe even the Faces/Rod Steward! (but then again TK’s voice is not entirely dissimilar and he quite pushes it in that “direction” here)
“Mood Elevator” is a funky syncopated little number that grooves wildly in a RHCH meets the Stones sort of way. Kinda weirda combo eh? But it works! Or at least that’s what it came to my mind straight away…
“Welcome to My Mind” is a more demented and labyrinthine composition that’s got a lot of grungy elements but it’s not grunge it’s just a lot more Alice in Chains meets Aerosmith when they do some weirder mid-tempo experimental shit!
“You Showed Me” is a bruised and slightly broken down ballad in the tradition of C’s best. There are also passing similarities with Aero’s “Crazy” I’d imagine, that kinda bluesy mood...
“Ain't That a Bitch” is a bitching cool song about being wild and free and not being broken or gelded by life’s difficulties and people’s BS. It’s such a strong message and such a cool riff and a melody that it really makes the song ultra-vital!
“The Way Life Goes” is the album’s namesake and it’s a big rock ‘n roll number – with lots of blues and big band influences. Really charming an endearing!
Finally “Babylon” is a nasty little sleazy piece of saccharine covered blissful rock-a-rolla! Like mid 80 punk sneering The Cult crossed with Generation X.
Overall – Tom Keifer’s solo album is an album way out of time and place – an obvious byproduct of the fact that it was conceived and executed in well over 20 years. But therein lies its charm, in its timelessness and carelessness about the trends, the bends, the zens and the you know whens, as good old Aero, ‘d put it J Waka,Waka, Ya ! It’s a healthy and fresh considering the age of some of its material, collection of rocking blues and everything in between without really giving much of a #@$# about “labels”… and that’s healthy man! Many may dismiss it as, twanging or whatever, but (dis)miss it at your own peril! You won’t know what you’ll be missing!