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 now to the band’s 16th Studio album. The album was released on June 23, 2009 and only went to #78 on the Billboard Charts and sadly sales only reached 24,000 records as of 2016 which is an absolute shame as this is a hidden gem. The Latest is the last studio album to feature all four members of the original band of Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson and Bun E. Carlos. In 2010, Bun E. Carlos stopped touring with the band and it led to him not recording with the band. There were lawsuits back and forth and it was ugly. But that is another discussion for another day.
Cheap Trick really lost their way in the mid to late 80’s and early 90’s. But with ‘Woke Up With a Monster’ up to ‘Rockford’, Cheap Trick was slowly remembering who they were. With ‘The Latest’, the band was back in full form and putting out their best album in years. Cheap Trick was back baby, but sadly, no one knew it. This was the Cheap Trick sound I loved. They band sounded refreshed, rejuvenated and reborn. ‘The Latest’ is the best we’ve seen from them in a very long time.
The version of the album I have is a digipak CD with a fold out cover (as seen below). There was no booklet inside as everything was printed on the reverse sides of the flaps below. One thing cool the band did for this release is they released a version of the album on 8-Track. This was 2009 and 8-Tracks were not a blip on anyone’s radar (except maybe Tim Durling).