Cheap Trick haven't made a great, thoroughly consistent album since roughly 1983. I said it, and I'm sticking by that assertion. Then again some critics would go as far to say that the band started to lose it all the way back to the Dream Police era.
One on One
Position Please. Granted, neither of those records saw the band
regaining their once idiosyncratic footing of their initial trifecta of
masterpieces (Cheap Trick, In Color and Heaven Tonight), but One
on One, and especially the Todd Rundgren commandeered Next
Position... proved to genuinely satisfying pop-rock jewels, that at their
infrequent worst were a tad frivolous. Even more remarkably, the band cut
these disks without the involvement of longtime bassist Tom Peterson.
Amidst this 21-song set of alternate takes and works-in-progress for the
aforementioned 1982/83 disks, we don't get to hear variations of some of
their best songs from this era - "She's Tight," "I Can't Take
It," and "Next Position Please" to name a few which are sadly
AWOL here. What we are treated to are refreshingly raw romps
through equally stimulating salvos like "Lookin' Out for Number One,"
"Love's Got a Hold On Me," and "You Talk Too Much." Other
cuts are represented in their instrumental versions ("Play By the
Rules," "Invaders of the Heart"). Fun, but it helps to
familiarize yourself with the album versions first if you haven't done so
already. There are no less than three distinctive versions of Trick's
power ballad "If You Want My Love," plus an outtake of "I Want
Be Man." If you recall, the vocals on that particular One on One
monstrosity were gratingly mechanized, but on this alternate incarnation, not
to so much. The entirely unreleased "Fool Yourself," vaguely
angles back to their earlier stuff, and we even get another exclusive number in
the guise of "Tell Me What to Do."
An enormous amount can be said about Cheap Trick's post-Next Position
Please era, the vast majority of which is quite unflattering, at least
speaking in terms of recorded material. They hit a colossal low in 1987
with Lap of Luxury, the album that generated the fluffy, antiseptic
monster ballad, "The Flame." It would be another twenty years for
them to approach anything resembling greatness. For what it's worth,
their 2006 set, Rockford
is deserving of any Trick fan's time and dinero.
One on One-era:
Fool Yourself/I Want be Man/I Want You/If You Want My Love (three vers)/I'm
Hot (inst)/Looking Out For Number One/Oh La La/Saturday at Midnight (two
vers)/Tell Me What to Do/Twisted Heart/Whatcha Gonna Do About It/Your Love's
Got a Hold on Me
Next Position Please-era:
Don't Hit Me With Love/Don't Make Our Love a Crime/Invaders of the Heart
(inst)/Play By the Rules/Y.O.Y.O.Y./You Talk Too Much
Died Pretty "Lost" 1988 - With a higher international profile thanks to a licensing deal via the well-established U.K. label Beggars Banquet, Died Pretty re-entered the studio with ...
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