Cheap Trick ‘We’re All Alright’ Review: power pop legends show no signs of slowing down on 18th studio release.
Cheap Trick are a household name, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, and creators of some of the most iconic rock songs of the 70’s and 80’s.
Even still, there has always been a sense that the group are criminally underrated.
The truth is Cheap Trick’s stability (they’ve had scant few lineup changes or controversies, sans the departure of drummer Bun E. Carlos) is almost a liability in rock and roll–the group are content to let the music do the talking.
And on their latest release, We’re All Alright (a lyrical reference to their classic hit Surrender) the group continue to prove they’re the best at what they do: huge anthems with crunching guitars, gorgeous melodies and pop smarts.
Opener You Got It Going On is an irresistible old school rocker, followed by the punchy and strident first single Long Time Coming, which recalls their hit Dream Police.
Nowhere sees vocalist Robin Zander adopt a punk sneer, with guitarist Rick Nielsen blasting out seismic power chords. Radio Lover is another high-energy highlight. It would be a huge radio hit today if rock music was still in fashion on the FM dial–the same for Brand New Name On An Old Tattoo, a classic break up song with a witty title and lyrics: can’t get you out of my skin/out of my heart/I knew it was trouble from the start!
Floating Down will appeal to fans of their power-ballad smash The Flame, but on the band’s own terms, (Bob Mitchell and Nick Graham wrote that 80’s smash, which the band recorded due to label pressure), while She’s Alright sees the group dabble in roots-rock, with Zander channeling Bob Dylan.
We’re All Alright is also one of the few album’s that saves its best tracks on the bonus edition (where most group’s tend to pawn off their lesser efforts).
Take Blackberry Way, the group’s stellar cover of The Move’s psychedelic masterpiece, with Zander at his most soaring and ethereal, or If You Still Want My Love, a sequel of sorts to their 1982 hit single If You Want My Love, with Zander crooning If you still want my love, don’t put me in the middle of your hell.
One would be remiss if not giving props to the rhythm section–Tom Petersen’s supple bass playing and drummer (and son of Rick Nielsen) Daxx Nielsen lays down sturdy and muscular beats throughout.
We’re All Alright is a testament not only to Cheap Trick’s durability, but also their diversity–it’s a wide-ranging gem covering all the elements the group best encompass. The band is all alright indeed, still at the height of their powers.
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