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!!
Cheap Trick had a lot of touring comments after their last studio album ‘Special One’ in 2003. So while they were touring throughout 2004 and 2005, the squeezed in time to record some new songs. They recorded all over the country in L.A., Nashville, Florida, Boston, New York, Chicago and even in their hometown of Rockford, IL. As a result, there were also a lot of co-producers to help out including Jim “Pinky Beeman, Julian Raymond, Jack Douglas, Steve Albini, Chris Shaw and even Linda Perry (4 Non Blondes). You would think this would make the album disjointed and all over the place, but I think it gels perfectly together. Somehow Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson and Bun E. Carlos pulled it all together to make co-hesive, enjoyable album.
The album title was called ‘Rockford’ which is you didn’t know was the band’s hometown of Rockford, Illinois. It was released on June 6, 2006 and only went to #101 on the Billboard Charts. Cheap Trick was not actually going to get any radio play as most bands from the 70’s didn’t. It is really hard to get these vintage acts on the radio. That in now way is a reflection of the songs or the album overall. They found different ways to get in to the public eye. One thing they did was be a part of McDonald’s ad campaign during that year. And in 2007 on April 1st of all days, Cheap Trick was given their own Day in Illinois. April 1st would now be known as Cheap Trick Day in their home state.
The cover art of the album is fantastic. I love the bright yellow as it makes it a happy feeling record. The art work was done by John Johnson with the art direction by Richie “Britley” Hughes. There is actually no picture of the band in on the front, back or even in the CD booklet. All pictures of them are done in the style of figures on the cover. I am not sure if they were purposely doing that as they didn’t want people to realize how much older they were so younger audiences wouldn’t be afraid to buy the album or what…but I like it nonetheless. But enough about that, let us get to the music shall we.