Cheap Trick is the fine wine of Rock & Roll…they keep getting better with age. Okay, that was extremely cheesy if not entirely true! They are now on their 18th Studio album after 44 years together. To top it off, it has only been around 15 months since their last one, ‘Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello’. The new album picks up right where that album left off. ‘We’re All Alright!’ even takes it to the next level.
The album title, ‘We’re All Alright!’, is a line straight out of their classic song “Surrender” and the whole album is classic Cheap Trick. The album is a fast paced, juggernaut of pure Cheap Trick rock. The songs are generally around 3 minutes and the album flies by at only 33 minutes (45 for the deluxe edition). The album consists of new songs and some old songs that were never recorded or released.
For a band where the members are well into their 60’s, they sound so alive and refreshing and sound better than bands that are half their age. Robin Zander’s vocals are amazing and sound like he did when he was a kid. Rick Nielsen’s guitar work on the album is the highlight for me. So many great riffs and solos that music today is sorely missing. Tom Petersson’s work on the bass keeps everyone in line and adds the finishing touches to each song. Daxx Nielsen (Rick’s son) on drums has that old Cheap Trick sound and keep the band going at a heart stopping pace.
For the first six songs, there is never a chance to breathe. From the opening track of “You Got It Going On”, the guitar riffs and punk sound come at you like a hurricane and show no signs of slowing down.
The first single, “Long Time Coming”, was my first indication of the album sound, but didn’t prepare me for this onslaught of greatness. Billboard’s Gary Graff and Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen had this to say about the song…
“Long Time Coming,” a crunchy hard rocker driven by a Kinks-flavored riff, is a bit of a one-song tribute to Cheap Trick’s influential forebears. “It’s our interpretation of Slade and MC5 and AC/DC and Aerosmith — a lot of riffs that are reminiscent of the Move, but they’re not steals,” Nielsen says. “It’s just, like, all the bands we like.” The song also features a synthesizer underbelly that was a signature in “Surrender,” “Dream Police” and other Cheap Trick songs.
“Nowhere” races in next with the only difference being some affects thrown on Robin’s vocals. You get more uptempo rock and another great guitar solo from Rick. By this time, I was going nuts at how great this album was and couldn’t believe it.
“Radio Lover” was up next and I was thinking that this was now my favorite song, but then the next song would come and then the next and so on. The energy these guys are showing is unmatched by anything on the radio today. This is how it is done. This is one of their older songs that was never released and by the sounds of it not sure why they hadn’t recorded it prior.
Another of their older songs is “Lolita” and things slow down, but not down to a ballad level. The tempo just drops ever so slightly and it is still another killer rock song. The line says “You’ve Got it, Lolita”, however, I think it is Cheap Trick that has got it.
Now my actual favorite song on the album is “Brand New Name on an Old Tattoo”. What a freakin’ great song title. This is an aggressive rock song and gets Robin screaming and he hasn’t sounded better. It was a demo left over from 1997 but wasn’t used. They brought it back to life and freshened it up for today’s sound. By now, I could use a glass of wine as I am exhausted, but invigorated at the same time.
Check out the demo…
Finally, Cheap Trick slows it down with “Floating Down”. This is the most unique song on the album. Robin’s vocals go to a different level and much higher pitched. The angelic song actually would fit nicely on Harry Styles new album and I mean that as a compliment. A very similar style as Harry pulled from a lot of influences and maybe Cheap Trick was one of those influences.
To give you a little more time to catch your breath, “She’s Alright” is another slower tempo song. The band is great at keeping the songs simple yet effective. Robin’s vocals also go back to a deeper register for this one. And this is the last older song they had that I am aware of on the album. Glad it finally saw the light of day.
Not to keep things slowed down for too long, Cheap Trick picks it right back up with “Listen to Me”. The same garage punk sound from earlier in the album with one of the more catchier choruses and more of an anthemic feel.
The final song on the album is “The Rest of My Life”. It has a slow build up and when it kicks in the song has a more modern feel and add a little variety to the album. It is a nice, little calmer way to end the album.
Okay, now let’s add on the deluxe edition here. If you get the album, you have to get it for the bonus tracks on the deluxe edition. The first song is a cover of The Move’s song “Blackberry Way”. The psychedelic, Beatlesque sounding song fits perfectly with the tone of the album. They sang the song as it was intended and yet bring a new, refreshing feel. Another one of my favorite songs on the album.
Now a lot of times, the deluxe edition songs don’t seem to fit the overall tone and feel of the album, but “Like a Fly” would fit nicely in between any of the songs. It is another fast paced rocker and gets you singing along in the chorus.
The last song on the deluxe version is what sounds like a sequel to “If You Want My Love”. The song is called “If You Still Want My Love”. Where in the original song, if you want his love you got it, but this song if you still want his love “you can’t put him in the middle of your hell” which sounds to me like trouble has been brewing over the last 35 years in this relationship. The song is a ballad and the style is very different than “If You Want My Love”, but it works just the same. Classic Cheap Trick.
- “You Got It Going On” – Keeper
- “Long Time Coming” – Keeper
- “Nowhere” – Keeper
- “Radio Lover” – Keeper
- “Lolita” – Keeper
- “Brand New Name on an Old Tattoo” – Keeper
- “Floating Down” – Keeper
- “She’s Alright” – Keeper
- “Listen to Me” – Keeper
- “The Rest of My Life” – Keeper
- “Blackberry Way” – Deluxe Edition – Keeper
- “Like a Fly” – Deluxe Edition – Keeper
- “If You Still Want My Love” – Deluxe Edition – Keeper
13 keepers out 13 songs – 100% (5 out 5 stars) Cheap Trick has delivered an album I have always wanted them to deliver. It is one of my favorite Cheap Trick albums now. I have not really listened to their new stuff and to think that this is what they are still capable of is utterly amazing. Bands of any age wish they could do an album like this let alone a band that has been playing for over 40 years. Just because they are an old band, don’t count them out. The sound is classic and fresh and new at the same time. The album title sums them up nicely…“We’re All Alright!”.