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Dream Police (Bonus Track Version)

Cheap Trick

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Album Review

At Budokan unexpectedly made Cheap Trick stars, largely because "I Want You to Want Me" had a tougher sound than its original studio incarnation. Perversely — and most things Cheap Trick have done are somehow perverse — the band decided not to continue with the direct, stripped-down sound of At Budokan, which would have been a return to their debut. Instead, the group went for their biggest, most elaborate production to date, taking the synthesized flourishes of Heaven Tonight to extremes. While it kept the group in the charts, it lessened the impact of the music. Underneath the gloss, there are a number of songs that rank among Cheap Trick's finest, particularly the paranoid title track, the epic rocker "Gonna Raise Hell," the tough "I Know What I Want," the simple pop of "Voices," and the closer, "Need Your Love." Still, Dream Police feels like a letdown in comparison to its predecessors, even though it would later feel like one of the group's last high-water marks. [An expanded edition of Dream Police was released in 2006 with four bonus tracks.]

Customer Reviews


Bobcat Goldthwaite deadpans “Did you know Jesus had brothers? What kind of pressure must THAT have been? “Why can’t you be more like your brother? …Aw, c’mon Mom, he’s the Messiah!” Yeah, it’s a long way to go for a reference, but it fits. Recorded before but released after fluke mega hit “At Budokan”, “Dream Police" suffers only in comparison to its perfect, ahem, “predecessor”. The comparison is unfair: "Dream Police" is a straight up, full-on, five-star master stroke, and holds up very well today. The title track, “Way of the World” and Joey Ramone’s favorite, “I’ll Be With You Tonight” are instant classics, and they may not even be the best songs on the album. The production does have a high gloss sheen, but the recurring paranoia and subject matter keep the edge on. Straying from his usual WTF? humor, Rick Nielsen’s songwriting and soloing are razor sharp, and vocalist Robin Zander gains ground in the menace department (Sam Kinison learned how to scream listening to “Gonna Raise Hell” and later covered the song on one of his own records). Tom Petersson’s bass really comes to the fore, using that 8/12/16 string abomination that only he can play, while Bun E. Carlos provides relentless BEAT. Producer Tom Werman’s insistence on strings and keyboards keep the “if Wagner went electric” vibe going. Click the “Buy Album” button already.

The Kings of Power Pop

Dream Police is yet another example of why so many present day artists and bands have been influenced by the sheer artistry of Cheap Trick's songwriting ability. NOBODY writes hooks like this any more, except for Messrs. NIelsen, Zander, Petersen and Carlos, (as evidenced by their latest release, "Rockford".) Dream Police is a virtual sampler of everything Cheap Trick does so well. Whether it's the gorgeous layers of Beatlesque harmonies on 'Voices', the smoking guitar work of Rick Nielsen on the epic 'Gonna Raise Hell', the plaintive voice of Robin Zander on 'Need Your Love', the swagger of Tom Petersen's 12 String Bass on 'I Know What I Want', or the incredible drumming of the God of Thunder, Bun E. Carlos throughout, Dream Police is a Rock Classic. The reissue features some sweet extras, most notably a different version of the title track, with slightly different vocals and no string section, demonstrating that, even without the extra lush production, 'Dream Police' is as good an example of power pop as anything you are likely to hear. Why these gentlemen are not yet in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame is beyond me. If the powers at be would just take a second to consider the body of work this band has, and continues to, put will only be a matter of time until they receive the honor they so rightly deserve.

If it looks like a duck...

This is one of my favorite CT albums for the simple fact that the songs just rock. The argument is made that the overproduction diminishes the music, but I disagree. The strings and synths on the title track are the icing on the rockin' cake! You can hear for yourself.


Formed: 1975 in Rockford, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Combining a love for British guitar pop songcraft with crunching power chords and a flair for the absurd, Cheap Trick provided the necessary links between '60s pop, heavy metal, and punk. Led by guitarist Rick Nielsen, the band's early albums were filled with highly melodic, well-written songs that drew equally from the crafted pop of the Beatles, the sonic assault of the Who, and the tongue-in-cheek musical eclecticism and humor of the Move. Their sound provided a blueprint for both power pop and...
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