Cheap Trick

The Dream Police
One of the seminal pop rock bands to come out of the 1970's. Cheap Trick featured Rick Nielsen: Guitar, Robin Zander: Vocals, Tom Petersson: Bass and Bun E. Carlos: Drums. Cheap Trick combined a Bristish rock influence,'60s pop, heavy metal, and punk; the Beatles meets The Who meets Aerosmith.

Cheap Trick Cheap Trick (Epic) 1977

1. "Elo Kiddies" (3:41)
2. "Daddy Should Have Stayed In High School" (4:44)
3. "Taxman, Mr. Thief" (4:15)
4. "Cry, Cry" (4:22)
5. "Oh, Candy" (3:06)
6. "Hot Love" (2:30)
7. "Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace" (4:34)
8. "He's A Whore" (2:42)
9. "Mandocello" (4:46)
10. "The Ballad Of T.V. Violence (I'm Not The Only Boy)" (5:25)
BONUS TRACKS
11. "Lovin' Money" (4:09)
12. "I Want You To Want Me" (2:44)
13. "Lookout [Previously Unreleased Studio Version] (3:30)
14. "You're All Talk [Previously Unreleased Studio Version] (3:31)
15. "Go Go Girls [Previously Unreleased] (3:06)

I am a child of the 70's. While most kids were busy trading baseball cards and listening to the Bay City Rollers and the Jackson 5 in grade school, I was a hard rock fanatic by the time I was 7. One of the bands I discovered early on was Cheap Trick. Unfortunately it wasn't until the band's wildly popular "At Budakon" that I discovered them and then began checking out their back catalog. What I liked about Cheap Trick on that live album was that heavy raw sound mixed with those infectious pop hooks. These guys were doing pop metal before there was pop metal. Well, the second album I ever heard was this self titled debut. Like "Budakon", this CD has a tough meaty sound thanks to producer Jack Douglas, who was well known for his work with another huge 70's band, Aerosmith. Douglas gave guitarist Rick Nielson a tough guitar sound, reminding of Aerosmith in parts. Zander's smooth vox stood in stark contrast to Nielson's guitar sound, yet it worked perfectly together. Unfortunately for both the band and this fan, nothing else the band released ever had this same raw edge. This album, along with "Budakon" proove that Cheap Trick never did need all that studio sheen. Cheap Trick is pack full of classics and is held by many as the first in Cheap Trick's classic trilogy, along with "In Color" and "Heaven Tonight". Tracks like "ELO Kiddies" and the Beatles inspired "Taxman, Mr Thief" are downright infectious. The band also steered faily clear of the typical 70's lyrical trappings with songs about youth cynicism ("Elo Kiddies"), modern culture's fixation with death ("The Ballad Of TV Violence") pedophiles ("Daddy Should Have Stayed in High School"), and even people selling themselves out for the mighty dollar ("He's a Whore").

The bonus tracks are a nice inclusion, especially the unreleased outtake "Lovin' Money", the early version of "I Want You To Want Me" and the incredible "Lookout". The remastered version also offers vastly improved sound quality and some interesting liner notes, although no lyrics. I use to own the original ten song CD release and the songs are in a completely different order here. I can't remember which one mirrors the original LP release, but I assume it's this remastered version.

In Color Cheap Trick - In Color (Epic) 1977

1. "Hello There" (1:41)
2. "Big Eyes" (3:09)
3. "Downed" (4:10)
4. "I Want You To Want Me" (3:11)
5. "You're All Talk" (3:34)
6. "Oh Caroline" (2:59)
7. "Clock Strikes Ten" (3:02)
8. "Southern Girls" (3:44)
9. "Come On, Come On" (2:39)
10. "So Good To See You" (3:46)
BONUS TRACKS
11. "Oh Boy" [Instrumental] (3:10)
12. "Southern Girls" [Demo] (3:03)
13. "Come On, Come On" [Demo] (2:05)
14. "You're All Talk" [Live] (3:41)
15. "Goodnight" [Live] (2:19)

Second of the classic trinity of Cheap Trick albums. "In Color" features brilliant pop tunes played with a hard rock sheen. Unfortunately Jack Douglas was not brought back in to produce this album and new producer Tom Werman came in and watered down the band's sound. The "At Budakon" versions of songs like "Clock Strikes Ten", "Hello There", "Big Eyes" and most certainly "I Want You To Want Me" smoke these versions. While Douglas managed to capture that live aggression, Werman has purposely spit shined the band. Despite my complaint about the recording, the songs here are undeniable. The aforementiond songs as well as "Southern Girls" and "Downed" are fantastic. Nielsen's manic riffing on "Big Eyes" the smoking "Clock Strikes Ten" can't be denied. My least favorite song here is actually "I Want You To Want Me." While I actually enjoy the version on "At Budakon", this version more than other songs on the album from the slick studio sheen.

The expanded edition features significantly upgraded audio quality, detailed liner notes and photos, and five bonus tracks: instrumental B-Side "Oh Boy"; 1975 demos of "Southern Girls" and the anthemic "Come On, Come On" that may even be better than the album version. The remaining tracks are all recorded live at L.A.'s Whiskey in 1977.

Tigertailz recorded a glam metal cover of "I Want You To Want Me" for their "Young and Crazy" CD.

Heaven Tonight Cheap Trick - Heaven Tonight (Epic) 1978

1. "Surrender" (4:14)
2. "On Top Of The World" (4:02)
3. "California Man" (3:45)
4. "High Roller" (3:58)
5. "Auf Wiedersehn" (3:41)
6. "Takin' Me Back" (4:53)
7. "On The Radio" (4:33)
8. "Heaven Tonight" (5:25)
9. "Stiff Competition" (3:40)
10. "How Are You" (4:14)
11. "Oh Claire" (1:01)
BONUS TRACKS

12. "Stiff Competition" [Outtake] (4:02)
13. "Surrender" [Outtake] (4:52)

The last in line for what many fans feel was the classic releases from Cheap Trick. One thing for sure is they are still churning out the concert classics including "Surrender", "Auf Wiedersehn " and the haunting title track. Even the cover of The Move's "California Man" is essential listening. Actually, I think most fans would agree that Cheap Trick made this song their own, in much the same way that Aerosmith made "Come Together" their own this same year. As with "In Color", I much prefer the dirtier sound of the debut to the cleaner pop production here. For years Cheap Trick fans have argued and debated the production techniques of Tom Werman as opposed to Jack Douglas, who produced the criminally underrated debut. "Heaven Tonight" attempts to combine the harder edge of the band's debut with the pop tunefulness of "In Color", but just doesn't seem to capture that raw sound. This become painfully obvious with the release and subsequent popularity of "At Budakon" which takes these wonderful songs to a whole other level. While this may seem like a huge negative, I still rank "Heaven Tonight" as one of Cheap Trick's finest. No amount of studio gloss can take away the wonderful guitar licks of Neilson, nor can the studio destroy their wonderfully infectious songs.

The expanded edition features significantly upgraded audio quality, detailed liner notes and photos, and two bonus tracks, both of which sound like demo versions of album tracks. While these bonus tracks are not all that essential, the remastering certainly is. I had the original CD pressing of this CD and the difference is night and day.

The First Defiance Cheap Trick - At Budokan (Epic) 1979

1. "Hello There" (2:27)
2. "Come On, Come On" (3:17)
3. "Lookout" (3:01)
4. "Big Eye" (3:55)
5. "Need Your Love" (8:46)
6. "Ain't That A Shame" (5:09)
7. "I Want You To Want Me" (3:45)
8. "Surrender" (4:25)
9. "Goodnight" (3:08)
10. "Clock Strikes Ten" (4:01)

In the mid to late 1970's there was a influx of incredible live albums being released. These live albums were taking great songs and giving them that raw, live energy that couldn't be captured in the studio. Albums like Thin Lizzy's "Live & Dangerous", Kiss "Alive" and Peter Frampton's "Comes Alice" were just incredible, became huge hits for the bands and pushed these band's into even larger concert halls. Cheap Trick's "At Budakon" was also one of the excellent live albums to be released during this time. "I Want You To Want Me" became a huge single for the band. While this was an already great song mixing power pop and 70's guitar rock, the live version gave the song a beefier, heavier feel that added to the appeal. On top of the band's energy, that crazy Japanese audience screaming at helium high decibels also adds to the appeal. The song selection here was perfect. Rick Neilsen's guitar work is outstandin, Robin Zander is just nailing the vocals, Tom Peterson and Bun E. Carlos are the ever strong rhythm section. With all that being said, a 'complete' expanded, remixed version of this live album is also now available on CD. However, I really wanted this version as I wanted to hear it just the way it was on vinyl. I remember wearing the grooves out on my vinyl copy back in the day, especially side 2. Perhaps someday I will invest in the newer version, but for now the ten songs offered up are near perfection. "At Budakon" is a total pop-rock masterpiece.

"Ain't That A Shame" is a Fats Domino cover.

Dream Police Cheap Trick - Dream Police (Epic Records) 1979

1. "Dream Police" (3:54)
2. "Way of the World" (3:38)
3. "The House Is Rockin' (With Domestic Problems)" (5:11)
4. "Gonna Raise Hell" (9:20)
5. "I'll Be With You Tonight" (3:51)
6. "Voices" (4:22)
7. "Writing on the Wall" (3:26)
8. "I Know What I Want" (4:30)
9. "Need Your Love" (7:40)
BONUS TRACKS
10. "The House Is Rockin' (With Domestic Problems)" [live] (6:16)
11. "Way Of The World" [live] (4:00)
12. "Dream Police (No Strings Version)" (3:53)
13. "I Know What I Want" [live] (4:44)

"Dream Police" followed the hugely successful "At Budakon" release. Surprisingly the band did not go for the heavier sound that made "At Budakon" so successful, but rather returned to the more pop sounds of the band's past studio outputs. Part of the reason for this was because "Dream Police" was actually recorded at the time "At Budakon" was released and was placed on hold as the band rode a wave of success off the live album. At the time I was a Cheap Trick fanatic and I wore the grooves off this record. After selling off my vinyl collection in '89, I sort of forgot about this gem and didn't revisit it until almost a decade later. Listening to this album again after not having heard it for so long I discovered that I like it as much as I ever did. "Dream Police" is still one of Cheap Trick's finest albums. The title cut is one of the band's best songs ever. This song is seriously a classic rock masterpiece. "Gonna Raise Hell" and "Need Your Love" are excellent, extended jams with Nielson throwing out some choice leads. "Gonna Raise Hell" really could have been a Kiss song. I can imagine Gene Simmons singing this song, blood dribbling down his white face. Ahhh, gotta love the 1970's! "Voices" is a beautiful ballad. "I'll Be With You Tonight" is an underrated gem. Tom Petersson makes his only lead vocal appearance on this CD with the punky "I Know What I Want." "Way of the World" and "House is Rockin" are rockers that remind me of early Aerosmith. "Dream Police" also sports one of Cheap Tricks' coolest covers as well.

The 2006 remastered, expanded CD includes all the original album artwork, which was missing from the CD version. It also includes song by song comments by the band and lyrics. I think it might have been nice had the inside pages been in color, rather than black and white, but that is a minor complaint. The bonus tracks are a good listen as well. "Dream Police (No Strings Version)" is essentially a demo. Actually, I sort of like this alternative version. The live tracks are a cool inclusion, particularly "I Know What I Want." The remastering is most certainly an improvement over the original CD version that I own. I've read on some sights that the Japanese remaster is better.

Cheap Trick - All Shook Up (Epic) 1980

1 "Stop This Game" (3:56)
2 "Just Got Back" (2:05)
3 "Baby Loves to Rock" (3:18)
4 "Can't Stop It but I'm Gonna Try" (3:31)
5 "World's Greatest Lover" (4:52)
6 "High Priest of Rhythmic Noise" (4:13)
7 "Love Comes A-Tumblin' Down" (3:06)
8 "I Love You Honey but I Hate Your Friends" (3:51)
9 "Go for the Throat (Use Your Own Imagination)" (3:05)
10 "Who d' King" (2:20)
BONUS TRACKS
11. "Everything Works If You Let It" (3:30)
12. "Day Tripper" [live/shirt version] (3:40)
13. "Can't Hold On" [live] (5:57)
14. "Such A Good Girl" (3:06)
15. "Take Me I'm Yours" (4:34)

Robin Zander, Jan. 2, 1980, San Diego Sports Arena
photo by Colleen Bracken
I never understood why Cheap Trick didn't learn from the success of "At Budakon" and record with a beefier, heavier sound, like that album offered. Because they didn't go in that harder direction, many people were disappointed with the follow-ups. "Dream Police" (an album I love) did fairly well because of the title track and the hype still in the air from their hugely successful live album. It's follow-up, however was considered a commercial flop. Why? Perhaps it was that it didn't have that beefy sound or that raw energy that "At Bodakon" offered. Other than that, I can't understand the disappointment as I think that this was Cheap Trick at their creative best. As such, “All Shook Up” is one Cheap Trick's strongest studio albums. I wore the grooves off my vinyl copy in 1980.

“All Shook Up” was produced by the fifth Beatle, George Martin.  The Beatles influence is undeniable. There are tons of great hooks here including the inspired "Stop the Game" and the Rolling Stones inspired "I Love You Honey But I Hate Your Friends" and the Lennon-esque “World’s Greatest Lover.”  "High Priest of Rhythmic Noise" has an early pop metal sound. "Baby Loves to Rock" is a rocker with a certain resemblance to T. Rex's classic string of hits. Perhaps "All Shook Up" wasn't a critics favorite but the fans know the deal.

The 2006 CD reissue of “All Shook Up” is completely remastered and comes with a 12 page booklet. The booklet offers comments from the band on each song and the album as a whole, as well as photos of the band from the classic era of the band. Five bonus tracks are also included. “Everything Works If You Let It” is from the soundtrack to the film “Roadie”. The last four tracks are taken from the 10” EP “Found All Parts”, released the same year as “All Shook Up.” “Such A Good Girl" and "Take Me I'm Yours" are Cheap Trick originals and were exclusive to this vinyl for many years. (For more information on “Found All the Parts” see the review below.)

Cheap Trick - Found All Parts (Epic) 1980

SIDE ONE
1. "Day Tripper" [live]
2. "Can't Hold On" [live]
SIDE TWO
3. "Such a Good Girl"
4. "Take Me I'm Yours"

A 10 inch EP that was released in 1980. Quite the unique item as 10 inch vinyl wasn't all that common anymore at that point. The EP contained four tracks. Side one features two live tracks, an edited version of the Beatles "Day Tripper" recorded live in the USA in 1979, ad a live version of "Can't Hold On", recorded in Japan in 1978. "Can't Hold On" has since been released on the "Budokan II" and "At Budokan - The Complete Concert". The b-side tracks, "Such A Good Girl" (written by Rick Nielsen) and "Take Me I'm Yours" (written by Nielsen and Robin Zander) were exclusive to this vinyl for many years. According to what I could find on-line, "Such A Good Girl" was recorded in 1976 and "Take Me I'm Yours" recorded a year later. Both tracks sound like classic Cheap Trick, so I am not sure exactly what prompted them to be left off the records they were originally recorded for.

All four of these songs are included on the remastered, CD reissue of "All Shook Up". I own the original 10 inch vinyl version, as I have become a bit of a vinyl junkie once again. There is a pricey Japanese CD reissue of the EP as well. Cheap Trick completists may need to own that, but frankly, I'm quite happy with my vinyl copies. I can't see myself spending $30 on seven minutes of music, when all four songs are had for $11 a bonus tracks on "All Shook Up." (Thanks to my good friend Trog and Morgan for the hook-up here.)

One on One Cheap Trick - One on One (Epic) 1982

1. "I Want You" (3:02)
2. "One On One" (3:05)
3. "If You Want My Love" (3:36)
4. "Oo La La La" (3:15)
5. "Lookin' Out For Number One" (3:41)
6. "She's Tight" (2:59)
7. "Time Is Running" (2:20)
8. "Saturday At Midnight" (2:58)
9. "Love's Got A Hold On Me" (2:36)
10. "I Want Be Man" (3:19)
11. "Four Letter Word" (2:38)

Promo

Cheap Trick's first album without their original lineup. "One on One" features new bassist Jon Brandt taking over for Tom Peterson. Jon even looks a bit like Tom, which helped the band continue on with their bizarre image. However, from what I have read, Jon didn't actually play on this album. Rather, Rick Nielson performed all the bass parts as well as the guitar parts. What results is still a good album. At the time this came out, I suppose I had moved on and was listening things like Iron Maiden and Twisted Sister. So, it wasn't until many years later that I heard this album, save for the hits "If You Want My Love" and "She's Tight". As such, "One on One" doesn't have that same nostalgic hold on me that some of the other Cheap Trick albums had. However, I can say without hesitation that this would probably be the last Cheap Trick album to have that same heavy 70's sound until their 1997 self titled release. Songs like "I Want You" and "Looking Out For Number One" rock hard and heavy. Even the ballads like "If You Want My Love" are well done and aren't of the same sap that future hits like "The Flame" would be. "She's Tight" remains an FM rock radio staple to this day. "Saturday At Midnight" and "I Want Be Man" have a bit of a new wave flavor to them, as was the trend in the early 80's. "Saturday At Midnight" in particular reminds me a bit of Alice Cooper's "Flush the Fashion". It's sort of a shame that "Reach Out" from the "Heavy Metal" soundtrack wasn't included here as well, as it would fit and make an already good album even better. Perhaps someday this album will receive the same re-mastering treatment that the first five studio albums received and the "Heavy Metal" tracks can be added on as bonus tracks. That would be very cool. It's also should be noted that "One on One" was produced by Roy Thomas Bake, best known for his work with Queen.

Next Position Please One on One Cheap Trick - One on One/Next Position Please (Sony) 1982/1983/2010

ONE ON ONE
1. I Want You (3:02)
2. One On One (3:05)
3. If You Want My Love (3:36)
4. Oo La La La (3:15)
5. Lookin' Out For Number One (3:41)
6. She's Tight (2:59)
7. Time Is Running (2:20)
8. Saturday At Midnight (2:58)
9. Love's Got A Hold On Me (2:36)
10. I Want Be Man (3:19)
11. Four Letter Word (2:38)
NEXT POSITION PLEASE
12. I Can't Take It (3:28)
13. Borderline (3:35)
14. I Don't Love Her Anymore (3:52)
15. Next Position Please (3:51)
16. Younger Girls (3:15)
17. Dancing the Night Away (4:58)
18. 3-D (3:38)
19. You Say Jump (3:07)
20. Y.O.Y.O.Y. (4:55)
21. Won't Take No for An Answer (3:14)
22. Heaven's Falling (3:48)
23. Invaders of the Heart (4:00)

ONE ON ONE
Cheap Trick's first album without their original lineup. "One on One" features new bassist Jon Brandt taking over for Tom Peterson. Jon even looks a bit like Tom, which helped the band continue on with their bizarre image. However, from what I have read, Jon didn't actually play on this album. Rather, Rick Nielson performed all the bass parts as well as the guitar parts. What results is still a good album. At the time this came out, I suppose I had moved on and was listening things like Iron Maiden and Twisted Sister. So, it wasn't until many years later that I heard this album, save for the hits "If You Want My Love" and "She's Tight". As such, "One on One" doesn't have that same nostalgic hold on me that some of the other Cheap Trick albums had. However, I can say without hesitation that this would probably be the last Cheap Trick album to have that same heavy 70's sound until their 1997 self titled release. Songs like "I Want You" and "Looking Out For Number One" rock hard and heavy. Even the ballads like "If You Want My Love" are well done and aren't of the same sap that future hits like "The Flame" would be. "She's Tight" remains an FM rock radio staple to this day. "Saturday At Midnight" and "I Want Be Man" have a bit of a new wave flavor to them, as was the trend in the early 80's. "Saturday At Midnight" in particular reminds me a bit of Alice Cooper's "Flush the Fashion". It's sort of a shame that "Reach Out" from the "Heavy Metal" soundtrack wasn't included here as well, as it would fit and make an already good album even better. Perhaps someday this album will receive the same re-mastering treatment that the first five studio albums received and the "Heavy Metal" tracks can be added on as bonus tracks. That would be very cool. It's also should be noted that "One on One" was produced by Roy Thomas Bake, best known for his work with Queen.

NEXT POSITION PLEASE
The follow-up to the mostly successful "One of One" was produced by rock legend Todd Rundgren. Rundgren gives the band a shiny, pop sheen that might have ruined another rock and roll band. However Cheap Trick have always been on the cusp of pop to begin with, so I don't find the production to be distracting at all. With "One On One" the band sounds a tight and confident as they ever have. In fact, the title track sounds like it could have been written during the band's glory days of the late 70s. Overall, the music is a fine mixture of pop, rock and that 80's new wave sound that permeated all pop at the time. A song like "Borderline" while sounding like Cheap Trick, could have worked if it had been recorded by The Cars as well. The song has a series pop hook, which makes me wonder why it wasn't released as a single. "Dancing the Night Away" is a very uncharacteristic song for the band with a made for radio, slick, pop chorus. Similarly Rundgren's "Of course, compared to some of the albums that would follow this album, the studio sheen doesn't seem quite as outrageous, since those albums not only featured slick production but also outside pop songwriters. One of the albums best tracks is "I Don't Love Her Anymore", which has a slightly darker feel overall than the rest of the album. The song has a bit of a Beatles influence. The album finishes off with "Invaders of the Heart", which starts off with the intro from The Who's "My Generation" before completely switching gears. This song also sounds like classic Cheap Trick to me and features a Bun E. Carlos drums solo.

As for the two-on-one CD re-release, that is "remastered", I am not finding much improvement on the sound from my original "One on One" CD. I could not compare "Next Position" as I didn't previously own a CD copy of it. Unfortunately, the 10-panel booklet is horribly scanned and two of the ten pages are advertisements. It's a shame that a little more attention wasn't paid to the details in the booklet. The short bio even misspells Jon Brant's name as Bryant. However, despite these complaints, I am glad to finally have "Next Position Please" on CD. (thanks Vexor 6)

Standing Cheap Trick - Standing on the Edge (Wounded Bird) 1985

1. Little Sister (3:55)
2. Tonight It's You (4:47)
3. She's Got Motion (3:18)
4. Love Comes (4:41)
5. How About You (3:00)
6. Standing on the Edge (4:45)
7. This Time Around ( 4:34)
8. Rock All Night (2:51)
9. Cover Girl (3:41)
10. Wild Wild Women (4:19)
BONUS TRACK
11. Tonight It's You [single version] (3:32)

People tend to look down on the mid-80s, Jon Brant years of Cheap Trick, and I can understand some of that criticism. The band were certainly not at the top of their game, like they were in the 70's and early 80's. However, "Standing on the Edge" is hardly a poor album by the Illinois rockers. The band were generally looked at as dinosaurs by 1985, even though "Standing on the Edge" did generate a hit in the superb "Tonight It's You". "Little Sister" is pure Cheap Trick rock and roll. Had this song been released a few years earlier, I dare think it would have been considered a classic, but unfortunately it's nearly forgotten on this album. "Love Comes" is about as cheesy as ballads come, but then again, it was the 1980's "This Time Around" is a hooky, melodic pop rock song that, unlike "Love Comes", doesn't sound like a product of the times. The song is classic Cheap Trick. There are several hard rockers such as "How About You", "Wild Wild Women" and the title track. Both songs have that nasty power-pop sound that made Cheap Trick so famous to begin with. Some of this is thanks to producer Jack Douglas, who also produced the band's classic debut, as well as the classic Aerosmith catalog. Thanks to a less polished production, the guitar work of Rick Nielsen really stands out. As well, Robin Zander's vocals sound as good as they ever have, if not better. "Standing on the Edge" may not rival the band's first three albums as being their absolute best, but it is certainly heads and tail more listenable than "The Doctor" or "Lap of Luxury".

The Wounded Bird re-issue of "Standing on the Edge" is suppose to be remastered. I don't own an original CD pressing of "Standing" so I cannot compare, but I can say that cranked in my car, this edition sounded fantastic. The Wounded Bird reissue also offers a bonus track in the single version of "Tonight It's You". Not an essential addition, but cool to have nonetheless. (thanks Vexor 6)

The Doctor Cheap Trick - The Doctor (Epic) 1986

1.      It's Up to You  (3:51)
2.      Rearview Mirror Romance (4:33)
3.      The Doctor (4:04)
4.      Are You Lonely Tonight (3:48)
5.      Name of the Game (4:17)
6.      Kiss Me Red (3:37)
7.      Take Me to the Top (4:01)
8.      Good Girls Go to Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)  (3:22)
9.      Man-U-Lip-U-Lator  (3:49)
10.     It's Only Love (4:48)
11.     It's Only Love [single version] (3:31)

"The Doctor" is a product of it's time, it sounds very 80's. The production is slick and glossy. The recording is chock full of synths with plenty of those mid-80's studio effects. Despite all these facts, "The Doctor" still sounds like Cheap Trick. No one would mistake any song here for another band. "The Doctor" is melodic and catchy. I am actually surprised that some of these songs didn't become hits for Cheap Trick. "Review Mirror Romance" sounds like a great pop single to me. The title track is guitar driven but also features a loop sequence. "Kiss Me in Red" is another standout track that could have been a single. The song is a made for radio ballad. The album ends with a song that also could have been a hit and it was released as a single. The Wounded Bird re-release contains a bonus "single version" of "It's Only Love" that is over a minute shorter than the album version. "The Doctor" is far from my favorite Cheap Trick album, but it's also not a bad listen from time to time. It's generally held as the band's worst. I sort of view it similar to Kiss' "Crazy Night" album; a product of the times and very pop oriented but with enough of the band's classic sound so as not to mistake it for someone else. (thanks Vexer6)

Lap of Luxury Cheap Trick - Lap of Luxury (Epic) 1988

1. "Let Go" (4:25)
2. "No Mercy" (3:54)
3. "The Flame" (5:37)
4. "Space" (4:16)
5. "Never Had A Lot To Lose" (3:22)
6. "Dont Be Cruel" (3:06)
7. "Wrong Side Of Love" (3:59)
8. "All We Need Is A Dream" (4:20)
9. "Ghost Town" (4:11)
10. "All Wound Up" (4:45)

"Lap of Luxury " is ultra-glossy, plastic, keyboard saturated, 80's radio pop that is devoid of life and lacking that humor and wit that was Cheap Trick. Whereas Cheap Trick have always worn the "pop" label, they have always been more than just that. This album lacks he meat that past albums had. This would probably be one of their weakest releases, along with "Busted" and "Doctor". Part of the problem here, as seemed to be with many 70's bands still existing in the 1980's, is their record company forcing them to use outside songwriters. Heart and Molly Hatchet fell prey to this. Aerosmith did the same thing, but managed to score big with some huge hits. Well, the same can be said for Cheap Trick. "The Flame" actually scored Cheap Trick a huge hit and gave the band some fuel for their fire. (Ok, I admit, I sort of like this ballad. I know I'm cheesy.) Likewise, their Elvis cover "Don't Be Cruel" did well for the band. However, "Ghost Town" is really the only track on here that sounds like the Cheap Trick we know and love. "Space" is a catchy track as well, albeit a bit too keyboard, poppy for my tastes. The rest of the album is just forgettable and can't even touch the greatness of their first four studio albums. This one is a space filler in my Cheap Trick collection than a CD I seriously listen to. I see copies of this CD in the used bins just about everywhere for under $5. Finally scored this copy and "Busted" in a trade. (Thanks Saxon)

Busted Cheap Trick - Busted (Epic) 1990

1. "Black N Blue" (4:43)
2. "I Cant Understand It" (3:30)
3. "Wherever Would I Be" (4:06)
4. "If You Need Me" (4:46)
5. "Cant Stop Fallin In Love" (3:49)
6. "Busted" (4:06)
7. "Walk Away" (3:43)
8. "You Drive I'll Steer" (4:34)
9. "When You Need Someone" (5:18)
10. "Had To Make You Mine" (3:15)
11. "Rock N Roll Tonight" (4:57)

"Busted" is a lackluster release from Cheap Trick. There is so much outside influence on this release that it just doesn't sound like Cheap Trick. Of course Robin Zander's unique voice is recognizable but the songs sound like they could have been written by any number of generic 1980's radio rock bands. It's almost like the entire album was another attempt at the success of "Flame" and it just didn't work. "Wherever Would I Be" is a Diane Warren ballad and "When You Need Someone" sounds like it also could have been written by Diane Warren (see Aerosmith "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" or Kiss "Nothing Can Keep Me from You"). "Busted" and "Black n Blue" are decent rockers, but in order to hear these few decent tracks, one must wade through 45 minutes of sappy radio piddle. This is a filler in the collection and nothing more. "Busted" actually sold very well for the band and even generated a couple singles. However, copies genuinely sell for less than $5 and can be found in just about every used CD bin.

I had someone ask me, how I can like Aerosmith's 80's output and not like this Cheap Trick album. I don't know. I have no definite answer for that. The outside songwriters worked well for Aerosmith. They retained a charisma despite all the influence from Sony. Cheap Trick just didn't seem to retain their style and charisma. The same thing happened to Molly Hatchet in the late 80's. The outside influences worked to make them sound generic, and they lost their appeal.

Woke Up With A Monster Cheap Trick - Woke Up With A Monster (Warner Bros.) 1994

1. "My Gang" (4:24)
2. "Woke Up With A Monster" (4:55)
3. "You're All I Wanna Do" (4:04)
4. "Never Run Out Of Love" (4:03)
5. "Didn't Know I Had It" (4:55)
6. "Ride The Pony" (4:56)
7. "Girlfriends" (4:34)
8. "Let Her Go" (4:34)
9. "Tell Me Everything" (3:58)
10. "Cry Baby" (4:20)
11. "Love Me For A Minute" (4:13)

I must confess, while I loved Cheap Trick in the 70's up and through 1980's "All Shook Up", I lost interest in the band in the 80's when they went for a more slick pop sound. In recent years, however, my interest in the band has been rekindled and I decided to check out some of the band's catalog that I was unfamiliar with. "Woke Up With A Monster" is one of those albums. Much to my surprise, this is actually a pretty strong record for the band and has many of the qualities I liked about the band in the 70's. It's hard to believe that Warner Bros. didn't put a little more effort into marketing this one considering this was the band's comeback album and their first on that label. With this CD, Cheap Trick returned to more of a hard rocking sound. "Didn't Know I Had It" and "You're All I Wanna Do" are both immediately likeable and easily could have been hits for the band. Once again, it just goes to show that it takes more than a good song and even a legendary status to make a hit song. The title track is an excellent, hard rockin' song in the tradition of Cheap Trick's glory days. "Ride the Pony" is a bit experimental but still an interesting listen. Really the only downside was the built-for-prom ballad "Never Run Out of Love". However, even this song wasn't atrocious. "Woke Up With A Monster" is now relegated to the cut out bins and can easily be found for under $5. If you are even remotely a Cheap Trick fan, do yourself a favor and shell out the $5 and give this one a chance.

Sex, America, Cheap Trick Cheap Trick - Sex, America, Cheap Trick (Epic/Legacy) 1996

DISC ONE
1. Hello There (1:41)
2. Elo Kiddies (Single Version) (3:42)
3. Hot Love (2:32)
4. Oh, Candy (Single Version) (3:07)
5. Mandocello (4:48)
6. Lovin' Money (Previously Unreleased) (4:10)
7. I Want You To Want To Want Me (Alternate Version) (3:01)
8. Southern Girls (Single Version) (3:37)
9. So Good To See You (3:36)
10. Down On The Bay (Live) (Previously Unreleased) (3:33)
11. Mrs. Henry (Live) (Previously Unreleased) (9:37)
12. Violins (Live) (Previously Unreleased) (6:13)
13. Ballad Of TV Violence (Live) (Alternate Version) (4:52)
14. You're All Talk (Live) (Alternate Version) (3:57)
15. Fan Club (Demo) (Previously Unreleased) (7:11)

DISC TWO
1. Surrender (4:16)
2. High Roller (Alternate Version) (4:00)
3. On Top Of The World (4:06)
4. Auf Wiedersehen (3:42)
5. I Want You To Want Me (Live) (3:44)
6. Clock Strikes Ten (Live) (3:56)
7. Dream Police (3:54)
8. Way Of The World (3:39)
9. Gonna Raise Hell (9:20)
10. Voices (4:22)
11. Stop This Game (3:57)
12. Just Got Back (2:06)
13. Baby Loves To Rock (3:18)
14. Everything Works If You Let It (Alternate Version) (3:57)
15. World's Greatest Lover (Demo) (4:58)
16. Waitin' For The Man/ Heroin' (Live) (7:47)
DISC THREE
1. Day Tripper (Live) (Unedited, Alternate Version) (4:18)
2. World's Greatest Lover (4:52)
3. I Need Love (Demo) (Previously Unreleased) (3:58)
4. I'm The Man (Previously Unreleased) (2:11)
5. Born To Raise Hell (Previously Unreleased) (2:46)
6. Ohm Sweet Ohm (Previously Unreleased) (2:50)
7. She's Tight (2:59)
8. Love's Got A Hold On Me (2:38)
9. If You Want My Love (Alternate, Extra Bridge Version) (4:27)
10. Lookin' Out For Number One (3:43)
11. Don't Make Our Love A Crime (Demo) (Previously Unreleased) (3:34
12. All I Really Want (Non LP B-Side) (2:30)
13. I Can't Take It (3:28)
14. Twisted Heart (Previously Unreleased) (4:18)
15. Invaders Of The Heart (4:00)
16. Y O Y O Y(7:30)

DISC FOUR
1. Tonight It's You (4:48)
2. Cover Girl (3:43)
3. This Time Around (4:34)
4. A Place In France (Previously Unreleased) (3:53)
5. Funk #9 (The Doctor Demo) (Previously Unreleased) (3:36)
6. Take Me To The Top (4:01)
7. Money Is The Route Of All Fun (Previously Unreleased) (2:48)
8. Fortune Cookie (Demo) (Previously Unreleased) (3:41)
9. You Want It (3:41)
10. The Flame (5:39)
11. Through The Night (Non LP B-Side) (4:19)
12. Stop That Thief (Previously Unreleased In The U.S.) (3:56)
13. I Know What I Want (Live) (Non LP B-Side) (4:45)
14. Had To Make You Mine (3:16)
15. I Can't Understand It (3:30)
16. Can't Stop Falling Into Love (3:50)
17. Come On Christmas (7:31)

In general box sets like this are not for the casual fan. Casual fans will pick up a greatest hits package and perhaps "Budakon" and be happy with that. Hardcore Cheap Trick fans are the ones who will be buying a box set like this. As such you would hope that this collection would include a lot of rarities. "Sex, America, Cheap Trick" mixes it up, offering peny of hit singles, but also a ton of rarities. Nearly every track from their 2002 "Greatest Hits" reissue CD is included but also a good sampling of deep album tracks and a wealth of demo, live, b-side and non-LP studio tracks. 

Basically the four-disc box set covers Cheap Trick's lengthy career from 1976 through 1992 with a few oddities outside those years such as a live rendition of Lou Reed's "Waitin' For The Man/Heroin" with lead vocal by bassist Tom Peterson from 1974 and the collection ending with a Christmas song from 1995. The set is definitely a testimony to the diversity of Cheap Trick's music.

Discs 1 & 2 are my immediate favorites as I love the 70's and early 80's era of Cheap Trick better than any other. Disc one features plenty of non-albums tracks including a few tracks r ecorded at the Whiskey in L.A. in June of 1977 as the band were working on their 2nd album, "In Color". In these there is the hooky Jeff Lynne composition "Down on the Bay", a cover of Bob Dylan's "Mrs. Henry" and two killer songs from their debut ("Ballad of TV Violence" & "You're All  Talk"). The liner notes indicate the band were considering a "Live at the Whiskey" album and if these songs are any indication, they should have followed through. I suppose it's never too late.

Disc two features most of the hits, starting off things with one of the band's most recognizable songs, "Surrender". For the most part disc two covers prime cuts from the "At Budakon", "Heaven Tonight", "Dream Police" and "All Shook Up" albums, all made during the peak of the band's U.S. popularity (1978-80). It's my opinion that "All Shook Up" is one of the most underrated Cheap Trick records. Rarities include an alternate take of "High Roller" and "Everything Works If You Let It" as well as a demo version of "World's Greatest Lover" with Rick Nielson on vocals.  As well, the aforementioned "Waitin' For The Man/Heroin" is included here. 

Disc three is an oddity. It mostly covers the time between 1980 and 1983. Pictured on this disc is bassist Tom Peterson, yet this time period Peterson was mostly absent from the band Jon Brant (1981–1987). Three tracks here were recorded for the "Rock and Rule" movie including the power pop "Ohm Sweet Ohm" and the rockin', rowdy "Born to Raise Hell". Hits include "She's Tight", "I Can't Take It" and "If You Want My Love," although the latter is an alternate version featuring an extra bridge and was producer Roy Thomas Baker, mostly known for his work with Queen. 

The final disc includes music from 1985 through 1990. Frankly the music from this period saw Cheap Trick falling in line with the pack musically and production-wise. They did produce a huge hit single during this time in the sappy ballad "The Flame". This song sounds like it could have been written for Heart or any number of bands during the mid-to-late 1980's. It's certainly not a bad single, but it doesn't have the personality of the past either. "Funk #9" is an interesting demo track from "The Doctor", while the live version of "I Know What I Want" recorded in 1988 is enjoyable. I also quite like the Christmas song that ends the album. Of course I added this one to a long list of Christmas songs on my iPod. 

The booklet included with this package is excellent. It contains photos, essays, liner notes complete with band comments on many tracks. Also of note are the little odd bits at the ends of each disc. One features some studio chatter among the band. There is also a funny radio spot for the debut album featuring a college girl bringing the Cheap Trick guys home to meet mom and dad. There really isn't a downside to this collection other than a handful of tracks I might have included as a fan of the band, such as "California Man" or "Ain't that A Shame". Perhaps more unreleased or demo material could have been included as well. As it stands, "Sex, America, Cheap Trick" is an excellent treasure chest of unreleased Cheap Trick songs and hit songs. 

Cheap Trick Cheap Trick (Red Ant) 1997

1. "Anytime" (4:36)
2. "Hard to Tell" (4:07)
3. "Carnival Game" (3:50)
4. "Shelter" ( 4:13)
5. "You Let a Lotta People Down" (4:29)
6. "Baby No More" (2:54)
7. "Yeah Yeah" (3:12)
8. "Say Goodbye" (3:34)
9. "Wrong All Along" (2:18)
10. "Eight Miles Low" (3:28)
11. "It All Comes Back to You" (3:41)

This is one of those records that you can find in just about any used music store and for some odd reason it sells for unusually cheap. I have seen copies for below a dollar. I picked up this copy brand new for less than five bucks. Aparently this album was released with severe problems with their record label. Cheap Trick's second self titled album remains to be their last album to crack the top 100, and might have easily brought them the same kind of commercial success as "Lap Of Luxury" if it were not for the fact that the Red Ant label went under within weeks of the record's release. Also, since this CD was released during the musically depressing years in the mid-90's, many feared that Cheap Trick, a band that influenced thousands of bands, might start following trends. Cheap Trick were always very tongue-in-cheek and had a sound that was a mixture of sweet bubblegum pop and tough rock 'n roll. While Cheap Trick (1997) is slightly more modern sounding than their 1970's classics, this still essentially sounds like the Cheap Trick we all know and love. The album opens with the angry snarl of "Anytime". Track number two could have easily been a big hit for the band with the right marketing and a bit of luck. "Hard to Tell" has a great chorous and some noteworthy drumming from Bun E. Carlos. The ballad "Shelter" has a distinct Beatles-influence, which is not something new for Cheap Trick. The songs throughout are instantly likeable and brimming with pop hooks. Zander's voice is flawless throughout as is Neilsen's guitar work. I must also make mention that the cover art is very cool. I dig the black and white look, that recalls the band's 1977 debut.

Say Goodbye Cheap Trick - Say Goodbye (Red Ant) 1997

1. "Say Goodbye (Cheap Rock Mix)" (3:28)
2. "Yeah Yeah" (3:12)

Nothing more than a collector's single that I picked up in the discount bin for two bucks. Sad thing is, I paid the same amount for the whole Cheap Trick (1997) album. These two tracks should have been playing on FM rock radio everywhere. Unfortunately that wasn't the case.


Cheap Trick - Music for Hangovers
(Cheap Trick Unlimited) 1999

1. "Oh Claire" (1:36)
2. "Surrender" (4:18)
3. "Hot Love" (2:44)
4. "I Can't Take It" (3:15)
5. "I Want You To Want Me" (3:44)
6. "Taxman, Mr. Thief" (6:26)
7. "Mandocello" (5:01)
8. "Oh Caroline" (3:28)
9. "How Are You?" (4:16)
10. "If You Want My Love" (4:24)
11. "Dream Police" (4:13)
12. "So Good To See You" (3:35)
13. "The Ballad of T.V. Violence" (5:41)
14. "Gonna Raise Hell" (9:24)


Robin Zander

"Music for Hangovers" was recorded over a four-night stand at Chicago's Metro in 1998, with each of the four nights representing one of the band's early albums that they played in full. Therefore most of the material here is culled mostly from those early classics (Cheap Trick, In Color, and Heaven Tonight). The exceptions are "Gonna Raise Hell" and the title track from Dream Police, "If You Want My Love" from One on One, and "I Can't Take It" from Next Position Please. Because of the classic song selection, this live collection is doomed to be compared to the bands 1979 breakthrough, Cheap Trick at Budokan. There is no denying the nostalgia factor for that recording. However, putting that nostalgia aside, this is actually a better recording. On Budakon the bass guitar was buried whereas on this recording it's crystal clear, as is all the instruments. However, the sound is not over polished, but retains that raw live energy that a studio cannot capture. The recording alone, along with the excellent track selection should please any long time Cheap Trick fan. Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan joins the band on stage to perform "Mandocello," from Cheap Trick's sef-titled debut album. As an added incentive, there is one semi-acoustic re-interpretation of "Oh Caroline", which is quite interesting as well. My only real complaint is that I wish there were room to include more songs here. This live recording is also available in DVD format, but since I tend to listen to music more than I ever watch it, I prefer the CD format.

Special One Cheap Trick - Special One (Big 3) 2003

1. "Scent of a Woman" (4:48)
2. "Too Much" (4:42)
3. "Special One" (4:16)
4. "Pop Drone" (4:43)
5. "My Obsession" (3:34)
6. "Words" (4:53)
7. "Sorry Boy" (4:25)
8. "Best Friend" (4:16)
9. "If I Could" (3:51)
10. "Low Life in High Heels" (2:49)
11. "Hummer" (4:17)

Special One was Cheap Trick's first studio album in six years but "Special One" picks up where the 1997 self-titled CD left off. Fans preferring the band's tougher sound from their classic 70's period should also enjoy this album. Whereas the 80's stuff was chock full of outside songwriters, horrid slick production, and synthesizer-heavy stuff (ie. "Lap of Luxury'), "Special One" offers up that mix of raunchy guitars and power power song writing that fans have longed for since those 1970's outputs. The CD opens with a song as worthy of Cheap Trick's legacy as any album they have made, "Scent of a Woman." It is, however, the only instantly likeable song on the album. The rest of the album will take a few listens to digest and appreciate. Once that happens you begin to find the hooks in the rest of the material. The title cut has the Beatles quality to it that albums like "All Shook Up" also had. This song has a co-writing credit by Jack Douglas. Album closer is an appropriately titled song that has more of an experimental vibe to it that the rest of the album. The lyrics to this song, for the most part, are nothing more than a hummed melody. That may sound incredibly stupid, but it actually works and makes for an interesting listen. There are some words scatter throughout, but these are not the basis of the song. Overall, I think "Special One" is a good follow-up to the underrated 1997 self-titled release and a worthy Cheap Trick release.

Silver Cheap Trick - Silver (Big 3/Cheap Trick Records) 2004

DISC ONE
1. "Ain't That A Shame" (5:09)
2. "I Want You To Want Me" (3:37)
3. "Oh, Candy" (2:58)
4. "That 70's Song" (3:00)
5. "Voices" (5:04)
6. "If You Want My Love" (3:29)
7. "She's Tight" (3:56)
8. "Can't Stop Fallin' Into Love" (4:03)
9. "Gonna Raise Hell" (8:56)
10. "I Can't Take It" (3:43)
11. "Take Me To The Top" (4:22)
12. "It All Comes Back To You" (3:36)
13. "Tonight It's You" (5:26)
14. "Time Will Let You Know" (6:18)
15. "World's Greatest Lover" (5:00)
DISC TWO
1. "The Flame" (6:31)
2. "Stop This Game" (4:47)
3. "Dream Police" (4:43)
4. "I Know What I Want" (4:9)
5. "Woke Up With A Monster" (4:54)
6. "Never Had A Lot To Lose" (3:50)
7. "You're All Talk" (5:22)
8. "I'm Losin' You" (5:13)
9. "Hard To Tell" (3:40)
10. "Oh, Claire" (1:06)
11. "Surrender" (5:07)
12. "Just Got Back" (3:40)
13. "Day Tripper" (4:29)
14. "Who D' King" (3:11)
15. "Daddy Should Have Stayed In High School" (5:01)
16. "On Top Of The World" (5:18)

Following a 1999 Cheap Trick fan convention, Trickfest, Cheap Trick performed a celebratory 'Silver Anniversary Homecoming Concert at Davis Park in Rockford, Illinois. This release memorializes that concert and features 29 songs that marked the 25-year point in the band's career. The three hour show featured a song from every album and guest many guest musicians including members of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, the Harlem High School Choir, the Phantom Regiment Drum Corp, Nielsen and Zander's children, longtime Cheap Trick keyboardist Tod Howarth (ex-Frehley's Comet), Slash (ex-Guns 'n Roses), Billy Corgan and Art Alexakis (Everclear). Even former Cheap Trick bassist Jon Brant, who played with the band in the 80's, was brought in to play bass on "If You Want My Love" and "She's Tight". Songs such as "The Flame" and "Dream Police" are given the full string section. "Just Got Back" features 3 drummers and Billy Corgan on guitar. Neilson's song Miles Nielsen gives up an impressive vocal performance on John Lennon's "I'm Losin' You," a song his dad originally recorded with the ex-Beatle. "World's Greatest Lover" sounds very cool with the live symphony band playing along. Overall, a solid performance by the band and guests alike with an incredible selection of songs. Neilson sounds a bit sarcastic when he flips off the critics who lambasted "The Doctor" at the end of "Time Will Let You Know," but otherwise it sounds like the band is overjoyed to be on stage and performing. "Silver" may not be an album for the casual Cheap Trick fan, as there are an abundance of hit packages, but "Silver" should be a priority CD for any longtime Cheap Trick fan. This disc is available in a digi-pak or a jewel case version and was also recorded and released on DVD.

Rockford Cheap Trick - Rockford (Big 3 Records) 2006

1. "Welcome to the World" (2:06)
2. "Perfect Stranger" (3:41)
3. "If It Takes a Lifetime" (4:22)
4. "Come On Come On Come On" (3:03)
5. "O Claire" (3:43)
6. "This Time You Got It" (4:01)
7. "Give It Away" (2:48)
8. "One More Day" (3:50)
9. "Every Night and Every Day" (3:12)
10. "Dream the Night Away" (3:14)
11. "All Those Years" (3:35)
12. "Decaf" (3:38)

Ever since Cheap Trick ditched the need for radio singles and big record labels, their music has continued to be of a high caliber. "Rockford" is as good as the 1997 Cheap Trick release, and better than some more recent releases such as "Special One". "Rockford" is simplistic, pop-based, hard rock. Cheap Trick is one of the few surviving bands from the 1970's that still features their original line-up and is still creating relevant music decades later. Vocalist Robin Zander, bassist Tom Petersson, drummer Bun E. Carlos and guitarist Rick Nielsen sound as good as they ever have and have lost nothing with age. Frankly, I am surprised that "Perfect Stranger" didn't become a hit for the band. This is easily one of the best power pop songs they have written since some of their big hits in the 1970's and 80's. Of course the reason for that is there is no big label behind Cheap Trick paying off the conglomerates like Clear Channel to play the song. Instead we'll hear "The Flame" from 1988 or the same version of "I Want You To Want Me" that they've been playing for thirty years. However, the real fans of the music can take solace in the fact that Cheap Trick are still cranking out quality rock and roll three decades later.

"Rockford" is wrapped in a very nice tri-fold digi-pack. The scan above doesn't do the packaging justice. The cool band caricatures and band logos are actually embossed and finished off with a gloss varnish. Included in the digi is a full color booklet with lyrics, liner notes, and more band member caricatures.

Super Hits Cheap Trick - Super Hits (Sony) 2007

1.   Surrender
2.   I Want You To Want Me [live
3.   The Flame
4.   Can't Stop Falling Into Love
5.   Busted
6.   Oh, Candy
7.   It's Only Love
8.   Way Of The World
9.   Heaven Tonight
10. If You Need Me

One of those cheapy hits packages that are short on packaging, short on liner notes and short of songs. What we do have is some of the band's bigger radio hits. Of course most Cheap Trick fans don't care about the hits, and in fact much prefer the non-hits. This is one of those discs that are made for the casual fan who will snag this disc at Wal-Mart for $5 on a nostalgia binge. Odd choice in "Heaven Tonight" over far more popular songs like "Dream Police" or "She's Tight", though it is a great song. Regardless of the cheap, cash-in nature of this release, it's still Cheap Trick, thus it's a good listen.

The Latest Cheap Trick - The Latest (Cheap Trick Unlimited) 2009

1. Sleep Forever (1:37)
2. When the Lights Are Out (3:26)
3. Miss Tomorrow (4:11)
4. Sick Man of Europe (2:08)
5. These Days (2:44)
6. Miracle (3:47)
7. Everyday You Make Me Crazy (1:17)
8. California Girl (2:47)
9. Everybody Knows (4:16)
10. Alive 3:36)
11. Times Of Our Lives (3:59)
12. Closer, The Ballad Of Burt And Linda (3:00)
13. Smile (4:14)
Rick Neilson
Rick Nielsen

Cheap Trick's "The Latest" brings in all the classic elements that Cheap Trick are know for. There are the uptempo power pop rockers, the heartfelt acoustic ballad, the Beatle-esque influences and even some of strings, not unlike "Dream Police". Much like "Rockford", "The Latest" sounds like classic Cheap Trick, yet doesn't sound at all dated either. The cover of Slade's "When the Lights Are Out" is a great way to open up the CD. "Sleep Forever" is but a short intro. "When the Lights Are Out" should have been on every classic rock and hard rock radio station in 2009. "Sick Man of Europe" is classic Cheap Trick flavored power pop rock. Being that Cheap Trick's last album was a live recording of the Beatles "Sgt. Peppers", I sort of expected there to be some big Beatles influences on this album. I wasn't wrong either. "Miracle" sounds like it could have been a John Lennon composition. "Miss Tomorrow" is an acoustic driven song with a slightly modern undertone. Robin Zander's vocals still sounds fantastic whether it be on the harder rockin' song or the softer ballads. He has lost very little with age.

If I had any complaints about this CD at all, it's that the last part of the CD tends to be a bit mellower. The mid-temp and slow songs are all sort of clumped together making it a tad mellower than I would have hoped. Still, this is a minor complaint, as I did find myself enjoying even the mellower moments. Cheap Trick's latest, "The Latest" showcases a band that has yet to run out of ideas. Cheap Trick still sounds relevant and fresh. (Thanks Vexer6)

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