Cheap Trick, In Color
Release Date: 1977
Previously Owned: No
First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions:For a guy like myself who loves ’70s power pop, Cheap Trick for whatever reason has never won me over before. Let’s give them a chance…. Well, “Hello There” is a goofball fun rocking opener and “Big Eyes” rocks fine, but that’s it; just fine. The production seems a little restrained, the songs don’t quite seem to take off. Maybe Cheap Trick is best experienced in a live environment where they can cut loose, like at an outdoor state fair accompanied with beer, brats and the smell of funnel cake. “I Want You To Want Me” is a big familiar hit, but this verison seems to lack punch. These guys have a bar band’s audience-pleasing versatility and some decent hooks and harmonies on tracks like “Oh Caroline” and “So Good To See You,” but overall, I have no idea what it is about this band that keeps them at arms length for me. I mean, they’re Midwest boys playing rocking Beatlesque/Big Star power pop undercut with subtly twisted lyrics? Why don’t I love this stuff? Is it Robin Zander’s voice? Their greasy riffs? The ’70s radio-friendly production? Their name!??! They want me to love want them, and … I can’t. It’s actually kind of frustrating. For me the song “Surrender” (not on this album) is where it all comes together and I get them, but that’s not happening on this album. Maybe this says something: I think I enjoyed the outtakes better. They sounded more raw and were played with more abandon. Perhaps the album proper is just missing that kind of charge?
Starred Songs: “I Want You To Want Me”
Sneaky Tracks: “Southern Girls”
Should this album be on the list? My brain knows that this is considered a classic record and deserves to be on this list, but the rest of my body isn’t on board…
Replace With: I’m gonna replace it with Gary Numan’s 1979 electro-pop masterpiece The Pleasure Principle. Not quite the same thing as In Color, but definitely a more full-bodied effort that’s hugely influential, incredibly funky and truly weird too. Maybe a worse album will come along later and I can save “In Color,” but for now…
Will you listen to this again? Sigh, I’ll probably give it another try at some point.
Verdict: Classic ’70s power pop softened by the lame production that, sadly, misses me.