One of the best debut albums ever
Bloodbath_and_Beyond | usa | 02/10/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the mid 70's Cheap Trick emerged from Illinois, a band that were huge fans of 60's rock and pop, particulary the Beatles and British power house band The Move. Their debut album (the first in a triology of brilliantly crafted melodic heavy rocking pop classics) was easily one of the best albums of it's time. However as most of CT's legacy has declined in the mainstream conscious in recent years, its hard to understand that these guys were really ahead of their time, so much in fact that only Japan really 'got' these early albums. The band were superstars there and didn't even know it. However this first album album finds the band creating top notch hooky riffs courtesy of guitarist Rick Neilsen. The vicious opener Elo Kiddies is a breath of fresh air when comparing it to what was going on in '77. Robin Zander has that charismatic "pretty guy" frontman look, as does bass player Tom Peterson but guitarist Neilsen and (awesomely simplistic) drummer Bun E. Carlos were the "weird" looking guys that always gave CT a unique image, the album cover alone confused many spectators. 'Daddy Should've Stayed In High School' is about pedophilia, 'Oh Candy' is about suicide, and The Ballad Of TV Violence' speaks for itself. This is a dark album lyrically indeed, but of course delivered with a devilish sense of humor, a twisted one indeed, and that was the purpose here. Without magnifying the lyrics though, this is brilliantly executed, packed with hooks, lots of melodicism yet also heavy, and sludgy rock n roll. It's a campy yet poetic combination of metal, pop, and new wave mixed with edgy nostaligia. Neilsen is a great guitar player, the sound of the riffs themselves are delivered with such a threatning yet still somewhat friendly tone. Peterson's interesting bass style as well as Bun E's amazingly primitive yet somehow never ever boring drumming style rounds out everything. Every member makes a name of themselves here on the debut. There isnt much more than can be said about this that hasnt already been said, but if you're still not convinced to get this or any of CT's pre Dream Police era albums...it's an essential...key tracks include ELO Kiddes, Speak Now, Oh Candy, He's A Whore, Daddy Should've Stayed In High School, and Cry Cry."
"You Look Better Completely Undressed" -- R. Nielsen
Kevin Donaker-Ring | 07/13/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Back in their stadium days, this first, eponymous, Cheap Trick album was (and still often is) largely overlooked by all but the most hardcore Cheap Trick fans. I began listening to CT shortly after the release of Heaven Tonight, slightly before the Japanese release of At Budokan (which sold a million copies in the US on import alone, forcing a domestic release), and of the three albums available in late 1978, it was the one I listened to the least, preferring Heaven Tonight (which was, after all, their latest release).
But that soon changed.
This album has a harder edge to it--far more rock than pop--than any of their later albums, and was more than a decade ahead of its time. While I purchased it, listened to it, and very much enjoyed it in 1978-79, the whole thing finally clicked for me a few years later in the early 80's. It was then that I began to realize that, from start to finish, this album is nothing short of rock perfection. Subversive and perverse at times ("Daddy Should Have Stayed In High School"), mysterious at others ("Mandocello"), with songs of sex, drugs, and murder, it has a pure rock sensibility.
While it's possible to listen to the album and say that some songs are weaker than others (true), it all comes together as a cohesive work. And in this writer's opinion, even the weakest songs stand the test of time, refusing to sound dated, and could easily be released as singles today.
From lyrics to melody to riffs, there's nothing that could be changed without becoming a detriment to the album as a whole. The production (by Jack Douglas, who, at the time, was Aerosmith's producer and went on to produce John Lennon's Double Fantasy album) is nothing short of stellar: Guitar, bass, and drums (and even the Jaw Harp) all come across with power and clarity, yet Robin Zander's vocals are not overwhelmed. (To be fair, it might not be possible to overwhelm Zander's voice with anything less than full track erasure.)
The bonus tracks included in this CD edition are, at the very least, instructive for their history. For instance, the version of "I Want You To Want Me" is particularly interesting, if only to contrast against the later studio release on In Color and the famous live version from At Budokan.
This album is worth more than a casual listen. It deserves nothing less than permanent rotation in your catalog of albums, and recognition as one of the best rock albums ever created."