Ah, '80s pop-metal. Two decades later, there is lingering criticism as cynics try to foist shame upon pop-metal's purveyors and its fans, yet kids rediscover the past and nostalgic adults embrace the culture of their youth. No other rock style featured such a divide in quality between the trailblazers and the watered-down copycat follow-ups. One of the best bands of the era was Cinderella. This Philadelphia-based quartet (discovered by Jon Bon Jovi) sported one of the scene's glammest images, and that says a lot. Musically, vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Tom Keifer, guitarist Jeff LaBar, bass guitarist Eric Brittingham and drummer Fred Coury worshipped at the blues-rock feet of the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith. Keifer's throat-ripping growl added even more grit. It's interesting to watch the five 1986-1990 videos on 2004's 20th Century Masters -- DVD Collection: The Best of Cinderella and see how they capitalized on their image yet gradually and consciously toned it down as the '90s approached; their music matured, too. The videos for the full-tilt rocker "Shake Me" and the power ballad "Nobody's Fool" are essentially two halves of one whole
incorporating elements of the band's fairy-tale namesake; in "Shake Me" the beautiful heroine is magically transported to a Cinderella concert, ends up on stage and then in the limousine with the band while her mean twin sisters can't even get past security. The stark outdoor scenery in the heart-wrenching ballad "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)" makes it one of the genre's finest videos. "Coming Home" portrays a motorcyclist who ends up hitchhiking to reunite with his lost love, symbolized by a dilapidated house and a tattered photo of her. The black-and-white "Heartbreak Station" is earthy and moody, and the band's overall look is more
subdued and streamlined. Cinderella stands tall among its '80s peers, and this DVD is a fitting reminder.