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Cinderella Front Man Tom Keifer is “All Amped Up”

A lot of critics have been wondering (aloud) what hard rock’s place is in the contemporary pop lexicon, but for those of us who never strayed from the genre’s iconic beats and impossibly loud riffage, not much has changed about its station in this world. Tom Keifer knows quite well what rock n’ roll can do when it’s played the right way, and decades after slaying audiences in Cinderella, he’s still cutting blue-collar metallic gems like “All Amped Up” for a generation of rockers who need heroes in 2020 perhaps even more than they did a generation ago. 

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There’s definitely some of the signature indulgence that Cinderella became known for in their time in “All Amped Up,” but the instrumental arrangement is more than efficient enough to compensate. It’s difficult to sound bloated when you create as lean and mean a hook as the one we find in this single, and in the music video, we find a string of images that equally espouse the rock-first, filler-second style of play a lot of rock groups and solo performers seem to have abandoned in the last five years. Some might call it old school, but to me, it’s more puritanical than past-worshiping. 

I would have liked just a little more spotlight on the vocal behind the board than what Keifer was inevitably afforded in “All Amped Up,” but if there was a serious desire to give the guitars as much presence as possible, I actually don’t see how they could have structured things any differently. There’s no competition between the elements for our affection – they’re all producing a collective wallop that you just can’t get away from no matter what volume you’re listening at, and to some extent, that’s a lot better than yielding something so vocal-centric we lose the brash rock identity this singer wears better than anyone. 

The bass doesn’t get in quite as strong a swing as the drums do in this single and its music video, but once again, this is something I can understand as the multilayered format of the music calls for it. Just the mere fact that intricacy was of any importance to Keifer and his band says something about the kind of musical work ethic this crew has, and if you ask me, this is something that a lot of indie rockers should take away from their encounter with “All Amped Up” this autumn. 

Tom Keifer fans and those who are just trying to get into some heavy riffing this October can count on some solid action in this single and its companion video, both of which are racking up some good press from the underground and reminding listeners that rock n’ roll is nowhere near the dead entity some would have you think it is. “All Amped Up” might follow the same playbook that a lot of classic rock songs do, but if you’re looking for something both streamlined and capable of shaking the floorboards a little this season, I find it best to go with a tried and true blueprint over anything on the experimental side of the dial. 

Mindy McCall



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