September 25, 2014 Winger – Better Days Comin’ (Album Review)
Kip Winger first tasted commercial success back in 1984 when he co-wrote “Bang Bang (Balls of Fire)” for Kix’s third album titled Midnite Dynamite. Well known as Alice Cooper’s bassist on the Constrictor album in 1986, his stint with the band was short-lived but happened just at the time Cooper made his huge 80’s comeback. All this preceded Kip’s dive into his own project starting his own band named Winger, becoming the archetypal eye-candy sort of star. Three albums later, the band split to work on solo careers, reuniting in 2001 briefly, and now steadily active since 2006 and releasing their ninth studio album Better Days Comin’ in 2014.
Released on Frontiers Records and produced by Kip himself, the album opens with “Midnight Driver of a Love Machine”, which is as stereotypical 80’s as a song can get; focused on the sexual objectification of women. The following track “Queen Babylon” stays in the same vein as the guitar riffs, and harmonies give them a big sound. “Rat Race” is a faster and grittier song with some demonic guitars from Reb Beach and John Roth as well as great vocal range of Kip. With the title track “Better Days Comin’”, there is a mix of styles from Wham!’s “Club Tropicana” to Cool and the Gang, it is pure pop; a musical cheese fondue.
Moving along, “Tin Soldier” plays with some syncopated jazz rhythms, but with mentions of purple-heart and the cold war, it may seem out of time but yet sadly still relevant to today. “Ever Wonder” is the gentle ballad, sweet and sentimental, with slower rhythms that give it a hypnotic quality. That proceeds into a poppy 80’s break-up song titled “So Long China”. Following is the track “Storm In Me”, which has some well thought-out riffs. “Be Who You Are, Now”, is another slow-burner, washing gently over the listener. Last up on the album is “Out Of This World”, which is another pop power ballad with huskier vocals giving it added sex appeal with high pitched choruses. The Deluxe Edition also has an additional track called “Another Beautiful Day” which is heavy riffage combined with an upbeat feel worth checking out.
Better Days Comin’ is very much an 80’s album. Well executed and gloriously unashamed of that, at times it seems a little dated both in attitude and musical style. The musicianship is however faultless, making it a nostalgic feel-good album. Overall, this is a lush, full album, it is enjoyable and will take the older listener back to their long lost youth, however, its full appeal may be lost on some younger music fans. Long-time fans of Winger rejoice the band is back with a solid album of their personal brand of Rock on Better Days Comin’. CrypticRock give this album 3 out of 5 stars.