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.
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!!
I know, I know. After the review of ‘Music for Hangovers’, I should be reviewing the live album ‘Silver’ which came out in 2001. However, note the title of the series…this is the Cheap Trick Collection Series and is on the Cheap Trick albums in my collection and that one is not in my collection…sorry. Instead we are jumping to the next studio album, ‘Special One’, which the band released 6 years after their last studio album. This is a massive break in between studio albums for them and for their fans. But the band is still in tact with Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson and Bun E. Carlos. Not many bands can say that (not that it last much longer, but still an impressive run).
After their last label went belly-up, Cheap Trick formed their own label and released two live albums, one of which we discussed already. It took awhile for the band to find themselves again and get in a place to write and record new songs. Sometime during 2001, they started writing. They would bump around from studio to studio to write and record in both 2001 and 2002 and after working in 8 separate studios the album was finished by the end of 2002. Now, since they were self-producing the album, it did take a little while longer to get the album out. This was like today where you could immediately put it out digitally.
The album hit the street on July 22, 2003 and it did chart but not very high. It only reached #128 on the Billboard Top 200 and sadly, only lasted a week before falling off the chart at a blinding speed. They album did have one single, but nothing came of it either. But the album isn’t as bad as it might seem. One great thing is the band wrote every single song on the album with only a couple having any outside co-writes. As far as sound goes, it is a very modern sounding Cheap Trick album which I don’t think is a bad thing and it is guitar-driven with minimal to no use of keyboards.