The combined talents of Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson and Bun E. Carlos continue to resonate with generations of musicians and fans alike. The album was produced by Cheap Trick and co-producers Jack Douglas, Steve Albini, Julian Raymond and Chris Shaw. The first single "Perfect Stranger" was produced by Linda Perry and co-written by Perry and Cheap Trick. "Rockford" concentrates these formidable strengths into 12 stellar songs that form an album which can stand beside any of the band's prior releases. Cheap Trick: four great guys, one great album--ROCKFORD!
Power pop pioneers and one of the all-time greatest live bands, Cheap Trick seems rock's answer to Rodney Dangerfield. CT may get no respect from the Rock Hall of Fame, corporate radio and most pop pundit fashionistas
, but that hasn't stopped them from delivering another career highlight on their third studio effort since bolting the major label tilt-a-whirl a decade ago. Indeed, the album's bracing aggro-pop bent seems as rooted in stubborn defiance (of age, odds and indifference) as it does Trick's evergreen pantheon of influences. The only thing resembling a concession here is the Linda Perry co-written/co-produced single "Perfect Stranger," a burnished condensation of CT's still potent power-pop charms. The band-produced (with help from Steve Albini and vet Jack Douglas) balance is more to the point, with the hard-charging "Welcome to The World" and careening "Come On ..." setting an energetic tone that's less willfully precious than the previous Special One
, if no less adventurous. "If It Takes a Lifetime" serves up an infectious slab of harmony-rich pop metal that rivals Def Leppard's prime, while the baroque-bubblegum of "Oh Claire" and chiming perfection of "Dream the Night Away" showcase a wealth of hooks that nonetheless remain only half the band's equation. Guitarist Rick Neilsen's penchant for the obtuse yields the deliciously loopy James Brown-meets-ELO workout "One More" while "Decaf" wraps it all up with a blast of patently snotty Trick energy, tracks where man-of-a-thousand voices Robin Zander adds a couple more to his burgeoning resume. --Jerry McCulley
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