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Album Review

Cheap Trick's recorded work has been so inconsistent for so long, bouncing back and forth between belabored attempts to reach radio and self-conscious returns to their classic early work, it's kind of a shock to discover that 2006's Rockford is a good, solid Cheap Trick record. Scratch that — it's a very, very good Cheap Trick record, glistening with Beatlesque harmonies, sugary hooks and snarling guitars, and built on a set of songs that emphasize their strengths without seeming fussy or formulaic. They also don't seem tired or juvenile, either, nor do the band try to rock too hard or heavy, the way they did on the good but occasionally stilted Steve Albini-produced 1996 self-styled comeback, Cheap Trick. Albini is back for portions of Rockford, as is Jack Douglas, the producer behind their early masterworks, and 2000 rock's flavor of the month Linda Perry drops by for a single too — but far from being a case of too many cooks spoiling the soup, it's more that each producer/engineer/collaborator helps bring out a different aspect of Cheap Trick. Sure there are songs that serve up crunching hard rock along with a little bit of streamlined arena rock, but there are pop songs built upon the British Invasion, bittersweet ballads, even a little bit of disco-funk on "One More." When all these different sounds are put together, it does indeed add up to the most diverse album they've made in many a moon, but since there's such a strong emphasis on melody, vocal harmonies, and guitar hooks, all wrapped up in three-minute songs, it also winds up as Cheap Trick's first genuine power pop album since their heyday, and their best album since Dream Police. After all these years and all those uneven albums, it's a bit of a surprise to have the band deliver an album this good completely out of the blue but, as their catalog proves, Cheap Trick have never done things the easy way — and it's better to finally get a very, very good Cheap Trick record unexpectedly, some 27 years after the last good one, instead of not getting one at all.

Customer Reviews

100% Cheap Trick.

I'm a 38 year old male whose ears came alive when at age 10 I first heard the "Budokan" version of "I Want You To Want Me." If I recall, it took just one allowance later to get to DJ's Sound City and purchase the 45-rpm single. Cheap Trick was the sound of 1979, and in the years since that "discovery," I have watched Cheap Trick do it all. Great albums, so-so albums, pandering albums (see the late '80s), and one magnificent comeback in "Cheap Trick (1997)." It's hard to believe that Cheap Trick is still making such consistent music after all the years, but here they are in 2006 releasing "Rockford," one great Cheap Trick album. Why isn't it a bigger deal that this is the same Cheap Trick that released "Budokan" in 1979? How is it that Cheap Trick is rarely mentioned in the same breath as Aerosmith or the Rolling Stones, other bands with legendary longevity? Doesn't Cheap Trick deserve special mention for weathering the years with the same line-up, no break-ups, no crash and burn? In light of this great album it seems a crime that Cheap Trick isn't more revered by critics and fans alike. Are you wondering if Cheap Trick still has it? I'd suggest you download "Come On Come On Come On Come On" for one swift answer. Robin Zander sounds great, as do the gentlemen he fronts. Cheap Trick rock no differently, just as perfectly as they always have. It took me 28 years but I finally realize that Cheap Trick is a Great American Rock Band, and deserves all the accolades the Great American Rock Band is bestowed.

Great album. Best in Years! Glad to see you guys back...

I tried to download the album on itunes but it was nowhere to be found. Then while looking at the Cheap Trick site I saw they were at the Best Buy in Schaumburg which is the next town over. Stood in line and talked to the guys for the first time since 1979 when I saw them at Alpine Valley. They are the same cast of characters. Glad to see Rick shaved the beard off. I listened to the autographed CD and it really felt like they have created some new classics. Look forward to seeing them live at Summerfest and Ravinia this year. BUY THIS ALBUM! You will be happy you did so. Buy the Silver Album also. It is the next best live album since the original Budokan Live. Robin if you are reading this, Please have Holland perform Time Will Let You Know with you at Summerfest. Rick, Bun, Tom help make it happen. Cheap Trick should re-release this great Robin Zander song.

Cheap Trick proves they are America's Greatest Rock Band!

Cheap Trick's latest, Rockford, is their strongest collection since Heaven Tonight. I do not say this lightly. Cheap Trick have put out close to 10 (Dream Police, All Shook Up, One On One, NPP, Standing on the Edge, Lap of Luxury, Woke Up With a Monster and 1997 ) four star albums, since then. Yet, this is by far their best collection in years. A Five Star effort. Rockford puts it all together. Robin Zander is america's premiere Rock 'n' Roll singer, second to none. Rick Nielsen is a great songwriter and axewielder. Tom Petersson's Bass lines are unique and keep the beat along with Bun E's fantastic drumming. These guys are putting on a Rock 'N' Roll clinic for all of you who want to create great music. Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame take notice. Cheap Trick is a still putting out GREAT music. I urge everybody to buy this album and dare you to tell me they are not America's greatest living Rock Band.


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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