Cheap Trick….always loved the quirkiness of these Rockford Illinois dudes! How could you not! You had the two cool looking Rock guys (Robin Zander & Tom Petersson) and the two looking Geeks( Rick Nielsen & Bun E Carlos) Great marketing job and it worked for years especially with the album covers (In Color & Heaven Tonight) but say what you want about image it was the music that did the talking but with these guys with the hits came the misfires. Albums that kinda skidded by the wayside fell short in Trickville.
1986s The Doctor album I reviewed and tossed it under the bus! The first song(It’s Up To You) and the last song (It’s Only Love) which speaking of It’s Only Love which is a well written piece of Power Trick Pop are the two best tracks from The Doctor. In between was a hodge podge of lack lustre material to say the least. Here’s my link to my review of The Doctor……https://superdekes.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/34s-filler-cheap-trickthe-doctor/
I was pretty stoked to learn that after a 8 year absence Petersson was returning with his 12 String Hamer Bass replacing Jon Brandt who filled in admirably while Tom was doing whatever it was he was doing….
1988 and after the debacle which was The Doctor here comes Lap Of Luxury which to my ears is another misstep in Cheap Tricks mid 80s to early 90s commercial slide ….
Course I bought it!
The first couple of tracks are just straight ahead syrupy power rock. Album opener Let Go could have been a great track but its washed in keyboards and Bun E’s drums are mixed in a sterile box along with all the trappings of dudes who are floundering for any second crack at success.
No Mercy is another so so tune. Zander and his voice save the day from this song from hitting the scrap yard just like how Brad Delp salvaged Bostons Third Stage album. Zander can sing. Wowzers even Rick drops a guitar solo in this song amidst electronic everything floating around.
Yikes! The Flame for me is a sellout track. Trick especially Nielsen hated this tune as no one in Trick had any say in the writing of it! I will say that I was glad it got Trick back in the spotlight and made them cool again and this song I’m sure people out there like it. Fair enough but not me….Cool Cheap Trick for me is stuff like She’s Tight from 1982s criminally underrated One On One album…..
Space is like if you were to mash-up The Cars/Cheap Trick and I like this song. ‘I need some space’ belts Robin in a Ric Ocasek kinda way and toss in some female backing vocals and its Quirky Trick with an added tinge of Quirky Cars. This is a good song in a 1988 way!
Try as they may Trick tries to muster up some rock serious rock and Never Had A Lot To Lose is a great song! A driving rock track that has a real good chorus and it only took to track 5 to ramp things back up into old school respectability!
Don’t Be Cruel is the Elvis tune. Good on these guys getting another hit single off of this album but it must have been worrisome that both your big singles from this record are tunes you didn’t write! In fairness it was a long 10 years (1978-1988) for Cheap Trick to go without a real decent seller and if I was in their boots I would have done the same thing.
Wrong Side Of Love is decent tempo with a pretty decent chorus but it gets drowned in a wash of late 80s keys. Holy man even Bun E is slamming that ride cymbal down on this track.
All We Need Is A Dream is pomp rock and another stab at a hit but i think this would fall under ‘NOPE!’ Nuthin fancy here folks…Next….
Unfortunately things are sliding at a rapid pace around here as Ghost Town is a one stop order of Schlep Rock meaning MEH! Trick in the year of 2016 should sell this song to one of those wannabe New Country Hee Haw acts and they could retool this song and make it a hit. This song is a slowly slow tune….Next…
All Wound Up has the boys trying to salvage the end of the album blahs with a ramp up in the tempo but nada nope. It’s just the sign of a band wanting to toss a Life Preserver for any diehard to latch onto.
Cheap Trick man I still love and listen to these guys all the time but its a mix n match of stuff. Love the 70s output! Love 1982’s One On One album and also the classic 1997 self titled album that is so good that no one knows about….
Lap Of Luxury I was happy that Trick got another crack at success but in the general scheme of things it was a commercial bunch of mish mash.