Tuesday, September 5, 2017

For Your Love

Cheap Trick : Oh Caroline

In September of 1977, Cheap Trick released their second album, In Color. Just six months after the release of the debut, In Color was produced by Tom Werman who chose to emphasize the band's melodies, hooks and harmonies. The result is a power pop masterpiece that might sound thin in places, especially if your introduction to Cheap Trick is the live in Japan album that came out two years later and featured five songs.

The 31-minute album pleased many rock critics who voted In Color the 10th best of the year ( ahead of Jackson Browne's Running on Empty ). Robert Christgau gave the album a B+ review writing :

Nowadays, punk makes it possible to resist hard rock so slickly textured, but with these guys why bother? They don't waste a cut, and permit none of the stupidity or showiness or sentimentality of postheavy and/or postboogie professionalism, either. If only they seemed interested in their well-crafted say-nothing lyrics.

Writing for Rolling Stone, Dave Marsh admitted to listening to the album forty times without knowing what the songs are about.

In a way, Cheap Trick is Beatleesque. But not in the sense of the Raspberries or Elton John or (God knows!) the Bay City Rollers. What sets this group apart is that these guys actually imagine that the important music of the later Beatles was the almost heavy metal (but still melodic) hard rock of "Birthday," "Helter Skelter" and "Back in the U.S.S.R." on the White Album and "I Want You" and "Come Together" on Abbey Road.

The band was never satisfied with the sound -- "I Want You To Want Me" sounds especially weak and tinny in comparison to the live album. So In Color was re-recorded by the band in 1998 with producer Steve Albini. Though never released, you can probably track it down with the help of Google.

As a fan of pop music, I would say this is my favorite Cheap Trick album. Along with The Beatles references, you can also hear a little ELO, The Move, and The Who. I did see Cheap Trick a few years ago and Robin Zander's voice was holding up well. 

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