Cheap Trick is back with their second new studio album in as many years and unfortunately it’s another lackluster affair.
The new disc is called “We’re All Alright!” and although the band sounds great the songs just aren’t quite up to what we’ve come to expect from Rockford’s finest.
As a long time Cheap Trick fan, they have been my #1 band since 1978, I have purchased every album on the day of release sometimes I’ve even been lucky enough to listen weeks in advance. After last year’s uneven “Bang Zoom Crazy Hello” I was hoping that the band would get their act together and give us an album of stellar tunes but that is not to be this time.
The album kicks off with “You Got It Going On” a juvenile lunkhead rocker with a chorus that is just Zander shouting the title of the song over and over. Lines like “Your love is given’ me a heart attack” are just “Rock Lyrics 101” and just plain stupid. Next up is “Long Time Coming” and it’s just more of the same with lyrics like “So get me on a tour bus, put me on a plane, take me to the city before I go insane.” Are you kidding me? This is Cheap Trick not Warrant. Where are the good tunes? Track 3 gives us the punky “Nowhere” which finds Zander’s voice sounding like Dee Dee Ramone. The song has a nice Nielsen guitar solo but it is another throwaway.
“Radio Lover” is next and this is the song that should have kicked the album off. Long time fans have heard this song before as the demo has been floating around for about 20 years. This finally sounds like classic Cheap Trick unfortunately “Lolita” is next and finds the band obsessed with crotch rock once again.
“Brand New Name On An Old Tattoo” follows and finally we have another song that kicks ass with a solid drumbeat, cool lyrics and a cool chorus. Zander wails on this track and I think the song benefits being written with an outside writer named Todd Cerney. Cerney has written with the band in the past and maybe Rick, Tom and Robin should be open to working with outside writers more often.
“Floating Down” is great. This song sounds like a tune that would have been on their fan favorite album “Cheap Trick ’97.” If you own a vinyl copy of “We’re All Alright!” then dropping the needle on side 2 and skipping side 1 seems like the way to go. Oh no… “Listen To Me” is more of the same dumb lyrics such as “Early to bed, early to rise. Look at my leg, look at the size. Look at the size” this sounds like one of the worst songs on 1985’s “Standing On The Edge.”
The standard ten track edition of the CD closes out with “The Rest Of My Life” and thankfully this is classic sounding Cheap Trick. The Deluxe edition includes three bonus tracks: “Blackberry Way,” “Like A Fly” and “If You Still Want My Love.” “Blackberry Way” finds the band once again covering a song written by Roy Wood of the British bands Wizzard, The Move and ELO.
Cheap trick had great success in the past with other Wood compositions such as “California Man,” which continues to show up in the setlist almost nightly, “Brontosaurus” and even “Rock’n’Roll Tonight” from 1990’s “Busted” album are also stellar tunes to cover.
“Like A Fly” and “If You Still Want My Love” close out the 13 track Deluxe Editon and I have to be honest these 3 songs should have been on the standard edition. Remove those previously mentioned clunkers and add these three songs and you just might have a decent Cheap Trick album.
The album is once again Co-Produced by long time collaborator Julian Raymond and in my opinion the band needs some new blood behind the boards. They need to hire someone with a long list of rock credits like Brendon O’Brien or someone who sites the band as an influence like Dave Grohl or Jack White. Anyone of those three would steer the boys in the right direction.
It should also be noted that this is the second long player to feature Rick’s son Daxx Nielsen on drums. Daxx is an excellent LIVE drummer but to be honest something is missing on his studio work so far. He just seems to drum way to hard and lacks the finesse that Bun E Carlos brought to the studio albums. He’s still new to recording with the band and hopefully he will develop in the studio instead of just trying to pound his kit into submission.
Bottom line is this… “We’re All Alright!” is another subpar album with only a handful of great tracks and the rest written for lunkheaded frat boys. If you put the last two discs together you can probably come up with one great album by on it’s own this disc falls flat.