Album Review: Cheap Trick’s “Bang Zoom Crazy…Hello”!

APRIL 1 IS CHEAP TRICK DAY!

The renowned American rock band, Cheap Trick celebrated Cheap Trick Day (April 1st) by releasing their 17th studio album. The band consists of Robin Zander (vocals, rhythm guitar), Rick Nielsen (lead guitar), Tom Petersson (bass guitar) and Daxx Nielsen (drums). However before Daxx was on the drums, there was Bun E. Carlos. Carlos is still a part of the band but he no longer tours with them nor is he part of the new musical content.

Despite losing their original drummer, the band’s 60’s rock vibe that has been present since their 1977 self-titled debut album is still quite prominent. In fact, it can be considered as a major part of their “core”. Dozens of Cheap Trick fans waited in line outside the Wicker Park record store to meet the band which also released their album,  “Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello.

Since their formation in 1974, Cheap Trick have been considered as the pioneers of power pop, what with their rock music enlaced with classic undertones that could be heard from “Surrender” and “I Want You To Want Me” to “Dream Police” and the #1 worldwide hit, “The Flames”.

Prior to the album release, the band released “No Direction Home”, the first single off the new album. The track is the first taste of music from the iconic four-piece in over five years. It screams “classical Cheap Trick” with its pumping riffs courtesy of guitarist Rick Nielsen and an anthemic chorus delivered by Robin Zander’s powerful vocals.


 

THE ALBUM & TRACKS

“Bang Zoom Crazy…Hello” is Cheap Trick’s first album in seven years but, overall, it’s their 17th studio album. It is released by Big Machine Records and follows the announcement of the band’s induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. on April 8th in Brooklyn, New York City. This will be the first time wherein drummer, Bun E. Carlos will not be featured in their album.

So far, it has gained positive reviews from music critics. It scored an average of 71% in Metacritics which is considered as “generally favorable”.

It features 11 tracks: 10 of which are written by the band and one cover.

Heart on the Line

The opening song to their album is not mind-blowing, per say, but it definitely catches your attention with its powerful guitar riffs and very hooking chorus. You will find your self belting out “try to remember/my heart was on the line” too many times in a day for it to be considered as normal. Our particular favorite is the truly awesome electric guitar solo at the end of the song.

 No Direction Home 

In all honesty, No Direction Home is probably our favorite song in the album. It’s that kind of song that will really have you singing every time it plays on the radio in the late 1970’s. The idea of a similar situation happening in 2016 is not impossible, quite the contrary, to be honest. The lyrics, rhythm and beat got us hooked to this song and will probably be a part of our Friday Night playlist. It may be a bit similar to Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” in terms or beat and tune but it is undeniably still a Cheap Trick track with the way that the instruments and vocals blend with each other that just screams “Cheap Trick”.

When I Wake Up Tomorrow 

The third track in the album has this introduction that is quite similar to “No Direction Home” that will have you thinking: “Am I listening to the same song?”. But then it goes on to be a David Bowie-stic song with Zander’s mid-tone vocals and the way the lyrics will hit you as if the person you love just left you a few minutes ago and you want them back so bad that you’re praying that what happened is just a bad dream.

Do You Believe Me? 

“Do You Believe Me?” is another one of our favorites due to its funky beat and the awesome and amazing guitar solos courtesy of lead guitarist Rick Nielsen and six-string icon Wayne Kramer. Like all the other songs in the album, this is really worth singing along with but the real highlight of the song is in the guitar battles that seems to be happening within the track. In addition to that, the drums add a very nice background to the guitar solos and perfects the whole vibe and tune that the song has.

Blood Red Lips 

While the first four tracks are quite similar to each other, “Blood Red Lips” is quite different in a way that it has that dash of The Beatles in it. It is still a great track but it shifted a bit from the initial vibe that the first tracks of the album gives you. What we like about this track is it has that vibe that fits a movie. The intro could be the music that plays when Cameron Diaz enters the scene looking all hot and sexy.

Sing My Blues Away 

This song has been described as “heavily influenced by The Rolling Stones”. It starts off really great with its piano intro and great drums but it does lose its momentum as the song goes on. It’s quite a change from the other songs with its lyrics. Other songs in the album, such as Heart On The Line is filled with guitar solos. Sing My Blues Away, despite still having wonderful guitar riffs, still has lyrics that are really great to sing along to especially with a mic (or a hairbrush) in your hand.

Roll Me 

“Roll Me” returns the vibe that the first four songs in the album had, despite still being influenced by the Stones. By this time, seven songs into the album, it is no surprise that the amazing guitar riffs and the pounding drums are still present.

The In Crowd 

The band’s cover of Dobie Gray’s single is quite similar to Bryan Ferry’s version with twists here and there to make it very “Cheap Trick”, especially in the vocals and guitar. Gray’s version is mellow and with shakers heard rather than the drums and electric guitar that some artists have added to their covers, including Cheap Trick. The band’s version of this classic single fills this indescribable hole in the album. It did not divert that much from the original vibe that the whole album has which is great and makes the whole album sound united and tied together.

Long Time No See You 

“The In Crowd” gave out a dash of mellow in the album but “Long Time No See You” definitely brings back the lively, rock and roll vibe that the first four songs in the album had. It is an almost 3-minute song that has minimal lyrics but fills that gap with guitar and drum solos that we have come to love so much. We’ll be surprised if all of you don’t start singing “long time no see ya/so good to see ya” every time you meet up with a friend.

The Sun Never Sets 

The 10th track in the album continues the lively, rock and roll vibe. As the song comes to an end, you get this feeling that you usually experience when a concert is about to end. It’s like a final farewell or a “see you again” before the last song of the night is played. The way that everything is played will definitely give you a sense of nostalgia. The title itself will just increase the said feeling.

All Strung Out 

“All Strung Out” wraps up the whole album perfectly in a very rock and roll way. We could not ask for a better song to be at the end than this one. It is a powerful ending to an equally powerful album and it will leave you wanting for more, or at the very least, will make you want to repeat the track over and over again. That’s what we did.

 


 

The album is described by NewHampshire.com as: “comeback or a return to the old-school sound of 1979’s Dream Police (easily their most well-known record)” which is true. This is not a bad thing. The band have not released anything in years, a trip down memory lane is what the fans might need to make them feel like they’re back at home.

In an interview with Hit Daily Double, lead vocalist Zander described the process of making a record this way: “Each record is sort of like a brand new baby, where it’s your favorite thing at that moment in time,” He added that, “I think we’ve come up with a gem and it’s going to be one of our best records.” That is really a great praise coming from someone who has been part of the music industry for almost 50 years.

Cheap Trick, the band famous for having played over 5000 show will tour again this summer in support of “Bang Zoom Crazy…Hello” and to celebrate their induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame –  alongside Heart and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – as part of their ‘Rock Hall Three For All’ tour in the US.

Check out all of their tour dates here!

What do YOU think about Cheap Trick? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @CelebMix.

Written by CelebMix