Last month, I did a post on the Best & Worst songs from every Judas Priest album. I really enjoyed doing that so I thought I would continue that process and this time we would go through every Cheap Trick album and see what is the best song and the worst one off each album as well. Cheap Trick has 20 studio albums to go through so sit back and take it all in. Now, let’s preface this with the fact that these are my choices and not necessarily yours as we can have different opinions. If you watched the show you will see that sometimes my worst song was their favorite so you never know what people like and we all like different things or this would be a very dull world. I hope you enjoy!!
CHEAP TRICK (1977)
BEST SONG – “ELO KIDDIES”: The song is telling kids to fuck school and go out and be nuts. It is a blast of a track with a catchy ass chorus and a Rick Riff that is memorable and you’re able to singalong and that is a good riff if you can do that. What teenage kid doesn’t think that school is a waste, but only Cheap Trick has the balls to tell you it’s true. This to me is a pure punk attitude.
WORST SONG – “MANDOCELLO”: The song sucks the energy right out of the album. With a heavy bass line and and slowed down tempo, the song drags along while Robin’s angelic singing style doesn’t actually breathe any life in to the song. The chorus though feels like the Beatles with the harmonies and is almost a saving grace but not quite.
IN COLOR (1977)
BEST SONG – “SOUTHERN GIRLS”: This album is perfect and so hard to pick a favorite or a worst for that matter as there isn’t any. But I had to pick a favorite and this was my choice. Now, this isn’t about “Southern” girls from the deep South in the U.S. Nope! This is Canadian Southern Girls. Didn’t know there was any such thing. The beat is perfect for hand clapping as it bounces along and feels you with joy. It is pure pop fun with a little gritty guitar work thrown in for good measure along with some playful piano fills.
For My Sunday Song #313, we are talking about the first single off their latest album called “Light Up the Fire”. The album, ‘In Another World’ was released in 2021 and it picks up with “We’re All Alright’ left off. The album only went to #142 which is a shame because it is a solid album. The single was a blistering power pop track. It was written by Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander, Tom Petersson and Julian Raymond (the producer).
The song is about…heck if I know for sure but from the lyrics it could be about a woman who wants to be good and find that right relationship, but at the same time she is tempted by dark side, if you will. The lyrics ask if she is “looking for heaven or one hell of a time”. She doesn’t know yet what she really wants. He wants to be with her in every sense of the word, but he doesn’t want her to burn out and destroy their love. He wants her to light up the fire, but be careful how hard and heavy it burns because it could be bad.
The song opens with some heavy, low down, deep and nasty bass line and a massive guitar distortion-filled riff, Cheap Trick brings back the heavy and Robin attacks the lyrics with some cocky bravado while Rick’s guitar playing on this one is stellar as he lets loose. Robin’s voice never ages and is still killer after almost 40 years of the band. The Daxx Nielsen & Tom Peterson combo are key to the vibe as their rhythm section is driving hard and fast. Tom’s bass line on this one is stellar. The song is filled with a classic cheap trick chorus, a great hook and totally infectious. A beast of a track.
Welcome to the final post in the Cheap Trick Collection Series. We are going to rank all 20 of their studio albums from their worst to their absolute best. I am sure there will be some disagreement, but these are my choices and not necessarily yours so it is okay to disagree. I have spent the last 9/10 months going through every piece of Cheap Trick music in my collection and that gave us 37 posts so my choices are well documented and please check them all out if you have time.
We started back in 1977 with their debut and finished with their latest studio album, 2021’s ‘In Another World’. We didn’t hit everything in between because I missed a few live albums and a ton of greatest hits compilations, but it was still a pretty immersive catalog to go through. Cheap Trick’s core group was always Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson and Bun E. Carlos with changes here and there, but those are the original guys we all know and love.
Their Beatles influences, pop-punk style was all their own. You heard a Cheap Trick song, you basically knew it was a Cheap Trick song. Robin Zander’s vocals have never aged a bit and at times sounds even better today than 45 years ago. Rick’s crazy guitars weren’t to make up for the fact he can’t play because he sure as hell can as he filled every album with some great solos and killer riffs. Tom Petersson’s bassline was the driving force behind the rhythm section and with Bun E Carlos on drums, that rhythm section was pretty freakin’ tight. These four guys could produce a lot of sound and gave us a lot of great music. Let’s celebrate now with the Ranking from Worst to First!!
We are on the last review in the Cheap Trick Collection Series and it is their twentieth studio album called ‘In Another World’. The album was originally supposed to be released in 2018 and the first single “Summer Looks Good On You” came out on May 18, 2018, but no release came. Then over a year later on Black Friday Record Store Day on November 29, 2019 a second single, “Gimme Some Truth”, was released which we reviewed a couple weeks back. Still no album. The band finally finished it in 2020, but then Covid hit. So finally on April 9, 2021 the album was released.
The band was still original members Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson. However, there were additional musicians on the album. Daxx Nielsen, Rick’s son, handled the drums and that wasn’t all. Jimmy Hall, lead singer for Wet Willie, actually contributed with the harmonica and former Sex Pistols guitarists, Steve Jones, contributed guitar work on the song “Gimme Some Truth”. The producer on the album was Julian Raymond which I believe is his fourth in a row with the band. He also contributed songwriting along with Daxx as all five were credited with the songs with some minor exceptions which we will talk about later.
One thing to note, while on tour for this album in 2021, Tom Petersson had to have open heart surgery and was sidelined from the tour. As a result, Robin’s son, Robin Taylor Zander, stepped in on bass. Tom is still a full member of the band, thankfully. I still find it interesting that when two of the original members had to leave, Robin and Rick made sure to keep it in the family. Okay, now back to the music.