Music

Cheap Trick: Dream Police

Even 27 years after the fact, Cheap Trick and Dream Police still hold up surprisingly well.


Cheap Trick

Dream Police

Label: Legacy
US Release Date: 2006-03-07
UK Release Date: 2006-03-06
iTunes affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

"Can you honestly tell me you forgot? Forgot the magnetism of Robin Zander, or the charisma of Rick Nielsen?"

Ah, yes... Damone. Ridgemont High's resident ticket scalper knew about Cheap Trick's power pop appeal. And though the band's lengthy career continues into the 21st century, there was a magical stretch of time from the late '70s into the early '80s where the Tricksters ruled Japan (and ultimately the States) with irresistible tunes like "I Want You to Want Me" and "Surrender". The band mixed sharp songwriting with catchy hooks and power chords, played large and small venues with equal skill, and experienced platinum record sales while looking as anti-rock star as possible. In actuality, Cheap Trick was decidedly cartoonish in appearance, (squeaky clean and impeccably dressed singer, shaggy yet anonymous bass player, Pillsbury Dough Boy drummer, and of course, gonzo guitarist) yet the quartet from Rockford, Illinois compiled a sizable catalogue and bridged the gap between lumbering arena rock behemoths and skinny tied new wavers. Cheap Trick was, for several years, a huge global sensation.

The band's zenith came in 1979 with the release of the monster live album, At Budokan, and its fourth studio recording, Dream Police. While the former has evolved into the band's defining moment, the latter generated two hit singles and remains a prime example of Cheap Trick's sophisticated musical dexterity. With the re-release of Dream Police, fans can step back two-and-a-half decades and revisit a time before smarmy teen divas, plastic boy bands, and MTV. A time when Cheap Trick's infectiously quirky approach dominated radio.

With the addition of four bonus tracks, the newly minted version of Dream Police offers a baker's dozen of songs to re-examine and enjoy. Opening with the title track, the album is anchored by Rick Nielsen's soaring (and shamefully underrated) fretwork. The music world's own Huntz Hall and his custom guitar collection drive each song in various directions, alternately chugging along with Ted Nugent-esque solos and melodic riffing. Consider that Nielsen is responsible for penning all the included material (with occasional co-writing credit) and his creative genius becomes obvious. Nielsen's playing is augmented by Robin Zander's singing, as his vocals exude passion and energy irrespective of the given song's tempo. It's also interesting to hear the influences incorporated into Dream Police, from the Beatles ("Voices") to ELO ("Way of the World") to crunchy generic '70s rock ("Gonna Raise Hell"). Cheap Trick may have been power pop, but there are no signs of lightweight poppiness anywhere on the album. Truth be told, Dream Police is a heavy, polished effort, and one that sounds more contemporary in 2006 than it did in 1979.

As for bonus material, an alternate take of "Dream Police" is sandwiched between live versions of "The House is Rockin' (With Domestic Problems)", "Way of the World", and the Tom Petersson-led "I Know What You Want", all of which compliment their studio counterparts and offer attractive contrasts. The liner notes consist of band member commentary snippets for each track, as well as lyrics so that everyone can sing along. For a re-released album, Dream Police lacks many of the bells and whistles that fill other discs, but no worries, the record stands comfortably on its own. It's as unpretentious and honest as the band that recorded it. Not bad for an album turning 27 this year.

Hey, Damone, don't worry, man, we didn't forget.

7


Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Music

Great Peacock Stares Down Mortality With "High Wind" (premiere + interview)

Southern rock's Great Peacock offer up a tune that vocalist Andrew Nelson says encompasses their upcoming LP's themes. "You are going to die one day. You can't stop the negative things life throws at you from happening. But, you can make the most of it."

Music

The 80 Best Albums of 2015

Travel back five years ago when the release calendar was rife with stellar albums. 2015 offered such an embarrassment of musical riches, that we selected 80 albums as best of the year.

Film

Buridan's Ass and the Problem of Free Will in John Sturges' 'The Great Escape'

Escape in John Sturge's The Great Escape is a tactical mission, a way to remain in the war despite having been taken out of it. Free Will is complicated.

Books

The Redemption of Elton John's 'Blue Moves'

Once reviled as bloated and pretentious, Elton John's 1976 album Blue Moves, is one of his masterpieces, argues author Matthew Restall in the latest installment of the 33 1/3 series.

Music

Whitney Take a Master Class on 'Candid'

Although covers albums are usually signs of trouble, Whitney's Candid is a surprisingly inspired release, with a song selection that's eclectic and often obscure.

Music

King Buzzo Continues His Reign with 'Gift of Sacrifice'

King Buzzo's collaboration with Mr. Bungle/Fantômas bassist Trevor Dunn expands the sound of Buzz Osborne's solo oeuvre on Gift of Sacrifice.

Music

Jim O'Rourke's Experimental 'Shutting Down Here' Is Big on Technique

Jim O'Rourke's Shutting Down Here is a fine piece of experimental music with a sure hand leading the way. But it's not pushing this music forward with the same propensity as Luc Ferrari or Derek Bailey.

Music

Laraaji Returns to His First Instrument for 'Sun Piano'

The ability to help the listener achieve a certain elevation is something Laraaji can do, at least to some degree, no matter the instrument.

Music

Kristin Hersh Discusses Her Gutsy New Throwing Muses Album

Kristin Hersh thinks influences are a crutch, and chops are a barrier between artists and their truest expressions. We talk about life, music, the pandemic, dissociation, and the energy that courses not from her but through her when she's at her best.

Music

The 10 Best Fleetwood Mac Solo Albums

Fleetwood Mac are the rare group that feature both a fine discography and a successful series of solo LPs from their many members. Here are ten examples of the latter.

Music

Jamila Woods' "SULA (Paperback)" and Creative Ancestry and Self-Love in the Age of "List" Activism

In Jamila Woods' latest single "SULA (Paperback)", Toni Morrison and her 1973 novel of the same name are not static literary phenomena. They are an artist and artwork as galvanizing and alive as Woods herself.

Film

The Erotic Disruption of the Self in Paul Schrader's 'The Comfort of Strangers'

Paul Schrader's The Comfort of Strangers presents the discomfiting encounter with another —someone like you—and yet entirely unlike you, mysterious to you, unknown and unknowable.

Music

'Can You Spell Urusei Yatsura' Is a Much Needed Burst of Hopefulness in a Desultory Summer

A new compilation online pulls together a generous helping of B-side action from a band deserving of remembrance, Scotland's Urusei Yatsura.

Music

Jess Cornelius Creates Tautly Constructed Snapshots of Life

Former Teeth & Tongue singer-songwriter Jess Cornelius' Distance is an enrapturing collection of punchy garage-rock, delicate folk, and arty synthpop anthems which examine liminal spaces between us.

Books

Sikoryak's 'Constitution Illustrated' Pays Homage to Comics and the Constitution

R. Sikoryak's satirical pairings of comics characters with famous and infamous American historical figures breathes new and sometimes uncomfortable life into the United States' most living document.

Music

South African Folk Master Vusi Mahlasela Honors Home on 'Shebeen Queen'

South African folk master Vusi Mahlasela pays tribute to his home and family with township music on live album, Shebeen Queen.

Music

Planningtorock Is Queering Sound, Challenging Binaries, and Making Infectious Dance Music

Planningtorock emphasizes "queering sound and vision". The music industry has its hierarchies of style, of equipment, of identities. For Jam Rostron, queering music means taking those conventions and deliberately manipulating and subverting them.

Music

'History Gets Ahead of the Story' for Jazz's Cosgrove, Medeski, and Lederer

Jazz drummer Jeff Cosgrove leads brilliant organ player John Medeski and multi-reed master Jeff Lederer through a revelatory recording of songs by William Parker and some just-as-good originals.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.