My unyielding appreciation for Cheap Trick originated back in 1978 after purchasing a vinyl copy of “Heaven Tonight.”
The Illinois quartet’s third studio effort was a stunning example of infectious power pop mixed with a rousing rush of hard rock at its finest with tracks like “Surrender,” “California Man” and “Stiff Competition.”
Over the years, I’ve collected every album released by the band as well as attended over 30 Cheap Trick live performances. To say I get excited when the band cranks out new material is an understatement.
“In Another World” is the band’s 20th studio release with the rockers vibrantly recapturing the signature sound that brought us classic radio-friendly arrangements like “Big Eyes,” “Dream Police,” “Voices” and “I Want You to Want Me.”
“Here comes the summer/The summer looks good on you,” announces Robin Zander on the album opener that provides the perfect introduction to better days ahead and the anticipation of feeling the warmth of the sun once again. The 68-year-old singer proves he’s still one of rock’s best vocalists by delivering yet another impeccable performance.
“Boys & Girls & Rock N Roll” is easily one of the best tracks showcased on the album. Fueled by an overabundance of unbridled exuberance, the number seems like a suitable companion piece to “Surrender” with Zander proclaiming, “Take it easy/It’s only rock ’n’ roll.”
The Beatlesque “Quit Waking Me Up” is a stylish number that speaks to the one special girl you simply can’t get out of your head as Zander declares, “You’re winding me up and I’ve fallen in love.”
“Light Up the Fire” smolders under the skillful guidance of Rick Nielsen’s distinct guitar riffs, Tom Petersson’s absorbing 12-string bass, Daxx Nielsen’s controlled drumming and Zander’s stirring vocals. This one is a perfect fit alongside any of the band’s previous hits and is sure to be a concert favorite.
The set closes with a biting cover of John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth” with assistance from guitarist Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols. The lyrics hit like a ton of bricks when you discover things really haven’t changed over the years as Zander sings, “I'm sick and tired of hearing things/From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocrites/All I want is the truth/Just gimme some truth.”
In the end, Cheap Trick delivers the undeniable truth that you can’t stop rock ’n’ roll.