ON THIS DATE (15 YEARS AGO)
April 29, 1997 – Cheap Trick: Cheap Trick is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4/5
# allmusic 3.5/5
Cheap Trick, commonly referred to as Cheap Trick ’97, is an eponymous album by Cheap Trick, released on this date in April, 1997. It is produced by the band and Ian Taylor and released on Red Ant Records and Alliance Entertainment.
Named after their original 1977 eponymous debut, the album features a similar black-and-white scheme on the cover and a similar stripped-down sound to what they had used 20 years earlier. (In a twist of irony, Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos are represented on the front cover (rather than the back) of a Cheap Trick album for the first and only time, likewise Robin Zander and Tom Petersson are relegated to the back, but their gear appears instead of the band members themselves.) Some have suggested that the band chose this approach treating their debut with Red Ant/Alliance as an opportunity to re-introduce themselves as a band to a new era. Red Ant filed for bankruptcy three weeks after the album’s release. There was one black-and-white video shot for the LP; “Say Goodbye”.
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic
Titled Cheap Trick like the group’s debut album, presumably because the record represents a new beginning, Cheap Trick is indeed their most powerful, direct and melodic album in years, and certainly their heaviest since their late-’70s heyday. Stripping away all of the glossy, big-budget excesses of their late-’80s and early-’90s major-label releases, Cheap Trick keep their sound to the basics — loud guitars, crunching chords, and sweet melodies. Certainly the unvarnished sound helps the record sound immediate, but the real key to the success of Cheap Trick is the reinvigorated songwriting. All of the songs are written by the band themselves, with only a couple of cuts featuring outside songwriters, and the result is a tight, melodic set of hard rockers and ballads. Not everything on the album is first-rate — the forced opener “Anytime” is almost a fatal misstep — and a couple of songs are simply pleasant, but there are more terrific moments — “Hard to Tell,” “You Let a Lotta People Down,” “Say Good Bye,” “It All Comes Back to You” — than there have been on any Cheap Trick record in years. It’s a fine, distinguished comeback, and one that suggests that the group could continue making records just as good for several more years.
All tracks by Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson & Robin Zander except where noted
“Anytime” – 4:36
“Hard to Tell” – 4:07
“Carnival Game” (Jerry Dale McFadden, Nielsen, Petersson, Robert Reynolds, Zander) – 4:13
“Shelter” (Jamie Mica, Nielsen, Petersson, Zander) – 4:13
“You Let a Lotta People Down” – 4:29
“Baby No More” – 2:54
“Yeah Yeah” (original version) – 3:12
“Say Goodbye” (studio version) – 3:34
“Wrong All Along” – 2:18
“Eight Miles Low” – 3:28
“It All Comes Back to You” (Jerry Dale McFadden, Nielsen, Petersson, Robert Reynolds, Zander) – 3:41