Into The Light
David Coverdale had a sporadic career as the vocalist for Deep Purple and Whitesnake. Unfortunately, when Whitesnake finally struck gold in the late 80s, Coverdale got a little carried away, and abruptly made some extremely unwise adjustments. On the heels of the successful Whitesnake album of 1987, he revamped the entire band, hiring such clutch players as Steve Vai and Adrian Vandenberg, and went on to record a very poor and disappointing follow-up, Slip Of The Tongue. As if that wasn't enough, he spurned all comparisons to Robert Plant, and defiantly made a record with Plant's sidekick, Jimmy Page. While this might have been a strategic ploy on Page's part to nudge his former partner back into the collective spotlight, it pretty much left Coverdale in the dark with nowhere to go. Now, with his first internationally released solo album, Into The Light, Coverdale has attempted to dislodge himself from obscurity and make a graceful re-entry.
Into The Light is a suave attempt at redemption. For one, Coverdale is acting his age, perhaps realizing that there is only one Robert Plant and one Ozzy, and that he's better off just taking his place in the back of the line. With that in mind, Coverdale has enlisted some of the best musicians in the biz, notably guitarist Earl Slick (David Bowie) and come up with a mild exhibition of what the man, when left to his own devices, is capable of. The title track, which opens the CD, is nothing more than a rising, yet unremarkable and short instrumental that succinctly melts into the second track, "River Song," which finds Coverdale in a suitable vocal form in tandem with soothing guitar exchanges from Slick and Doug Bossi.
While "She Give Me" is tastefully executed, it's rhythm and tempo are eerily similar to "Shake My Tree," a song from the Coverdale/Page album that was actually sung by Robert Plant during the Page/Plant tour of 1995. After a hasty ending, we are lead into an exceedingly sappy ballad called "Don't You Cry," followed by another substandard, cliché-filled ballad Coverdale co-wrote with Slick, "Love Is Blind." Fortunately, at this point in time, the CD's strongest track, "Slave" comes to the rescue. Even though his lyrics are somewhat nonsensical and consistently sentimental (insert yawn here), Coverdale and company attack the song with a Whitesnake-like vigor and conviction. "Cry For Love" assumes a Rolling Stones veneer while "Living On Love" is an acoustic number that almost takes off, but falls a little short. Aside from the rocking "Don't Lie To Me," the rest of the CD is doggedly slow-paced, especially by the appearance of "Too Many Tears," a tune that has apparently been re-recorded by Coverdale three times. While it is evident that he is striving for variety and essentially trying to reinvent himself on Into The Light, Coverdale would fare much better if he could reach down deep and exert some of the power and energy he possessed during his hey day.
~ Shawn Perry