Saturday, 17 June 2017
Cheap Trick - We're All Alright! Deluxe Edition
I Don't Hear A Single is about the new and under appreciated. I don't think Cheap Trick fit into either category, but there has been a bit of a clamour to put my thoughts out about the new album and so this is the only online place that they'll appear.
Facebook threads have shown the divide about the recent Cheap Trick output. I am a massive Cheap Trick fan, I've bought everything and continue to. I feel a great loyalty to the band and I'm a completist. I don't tend to post in fan forums these days because there is so much sycophancy. You are not allowed to criticise a band or disagree with any keyboard warrior.
I much prefer fans who love a band but are honest if they don't like something. I'm not saying that my opinion carries any more weight than any other fan, but it is my opinion and I feel qualified to make that opinion with what I've spent on the band over 40 years. This comes from someone who hates Lap Of Luxury, but loves Busted which is effectively Lap Of Luxury II.
I've now given We're All Alright! half a dozen listens and to these ears, it's their best album since the 1997 self titled album. Every album since then has contained a few killer songs but after a few listens been exceedingly ordinary. These albums have also been very front loaded, this one isn't, the band take more chances on the second half of the album and it's great.
There's a common outside conception that all you need are the first four Cheap Trick albums, this is blatantly untrue, but it has been a case of some great songs but few great albums. This feels like a great album. It may not be up there with those early albums and I'd not complain about that, it's fantastic that the band are still around.
The greatest complement that I can give the album is that if you were someone that had never heard a Cheap Trick album, you'd be hooked. Rick Nielsen has fashioned up his best playing for ages, he's like a man possessed and you get the feeling that the band had a whale of a time recording the album. The production is big, particularly on the first half of the album when it is very FM Rock.
The openers, You Got It Going On and Long Time Coming will appeal to the FM Stations but are the weakest part of the the offering. They aren't bad, just ordinary. It's after this that the album gets far more interesting. There's the raw energy of those early albums on Nowhere and Radio Lover. But it's the pop sensibilities that win out on what would be the old Side 2 that win out.
We're All Alright! doesn't slow down much, mainly on Floating Down, which could easily have appeared on Robin Zander's self titled album and it's poptastic. She's Alright is not what you'd expect from Cheap Trick. it's a wistful almost rap from Zander. Listen To Me is unexpectedly urgent and The Rest Of My Life is the sort of Beatles Pop that they do so well.
Much as though it's nice to get another Roy Wood cover, not much is added to Blackberry Way, not that much could be, it's no Rock And Roll Tonight, their greatest Wood Cover. But the closer, If You Still Want My Love is a fine anthem. It's up with those great songs from recent mediocre albums.
All in All, I wasn't expecting miracles, in fact I just wanted something decent. I got far more than that. Cheap Trick live sets for the past decade have largely been Greatest Hits affairs in recent years, these songs will sound great in the new set. The album is a really pleasant surprise. It's not groundbreaking, but it's really good.