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!!
After recording the fantastic track, “Mighty Wings” for the Top Gun Soundtrack, Cheap Trick headed in to the studio to record their next album. At the time, not knowing that song wasn’t written by the band, I had high hopes that their album would come out rocking like that song. Yeah, but it didn’t…AT ALL!! Thanks to the production by Tony Platt, Cheap Trick came out with an album that had no balls and sounded so dated with the massive keyboards that you threw your hands up in the air and said “what is this crap”. Yes, I am ruining this review by telling you the ending right away…that is how bad this album is to me.
The band was really fighting with their label as the label kept screaming more keyboards and the band, in the end, just threw up their hands and finished the album in 3 weeks. I don’t think they even realized at the time how weak and lame this would turn out to be. They probably had an idea as it was Tony Platt that mixed their last album after Jack Douglas had to back out due to legal problems with Yoko Ono (that is whole other story for another time). Tony turned their album. “Standing On the Edge” in to a wimpfest when it was supposed to be a rocker…at least that was Jack’s vision. Why would they expect anything different with this one.
The band line-up was unchanged from the prior as we still had Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Bun E. Carlos and Jon Brant. However, this would be the last album to feature Brant as the band’s next album would see the return of founding bass player Tom Petersson. And not a moment too soon. The album finally saw its release on November of 1986 and it didn’t do well at all. It peaked at #115 on the Billboard Charts and only had one U.S. single which didn’t even chart. That says all you need to know right there. The band had probably hit rock bottom at this point in their career which would make you think that after this, there was no where to go but up. We will see if that happens.