RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Cheap Trick - Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello 
Big Machine Records

Rating: B

Cheap Trick is 43 years down the road from being that band which formed in Rockford, Illinois.  It is hard to believe it was over four decades ago, and seventeen albums ago, that the band performed that famous showcase at a local bowling alley.  These guys still keep rocking and remain committed to their craft... even with the addition of a new drummer, who happens to be the guitar player’s offspring.  Oh, they have a new album out, too.

Before we get into the album, let’s get the drummer debate over with.  Founding member Bun E. Carlos is not on this album.  And… yes… he is missed... especially from a nostalgic point of view.  Bun has his own groove and his own attitude… and his own snappy way of dressing.  He’s a character as much as he is a drummer... so yes, he is missed.  Does Daxx Nielsen do a fine job?  Yes, he does.  There ya go… with the drummer controversy now discussed, we can move onto the album discussion. 

I have read several articles where the reviewer seems to want Cheap Trick to just recreate In Color and their self-titled debut.  Hmm, that would be cool I suppose.  Yet, it doesn’t seem possible, now does it?  I would rather have the band do something creative and new and make a solid rock album that is served up in year 2016, loudly and proudly than have them rehash the past.  And… for my ears, that is just what they have done on the new album.

Its not all wine and roses, however.  I will first discuss the negatives that I hear before kissing their butts. 

While there are no clunkers, there are a few that songs are not as good as some of the others.  “The In Crowd’ was not a song they needed to cover.  It is an old Doby Gray tune and I am sure they love it, but here it just gets in the way of some great compositions.  That’s about it for me.  I don’t really like remakes… sue me. 

Now to kiss butt… the rest of the album drips of who Cheap Trick is in the year 2016.  There is classic Trick, early sounding Trick and 1980s pop era Trick.  Throw in some 1990s edgy trying-to-figure-out-where-we-are-heading Trick and, of course, plenty of new millennium ‘we still kick ass’ Trick.  What you then get is an ablum called Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello. What I am trying to say here is that rather than go back and try to sound like who they once were, Cheap Trick is being who they are now, and they are incorporating all that makes them who they are. 

“Long Time No See Ya” and “Roll Me” have that harder rocking CT vibe, while “The Sun Never Sets” could be on the album Next Position Please.  “Heart on the Line” would have been a smash hit if this was 1979 and “When I Wake Up Tomorrow” has an edgy guitar part that harkens back to One on One

Robin Zander is still one of the coolest dudes in rock music and he has that voice… what an f-ing tone!  The dude drips cool.  Tom Petersson is cool as well and holds his own.  The low end plods along allowing everyone else to layer on the vibe that has made this band so damn popular.

Rick Nielsen…the original rock nerd gives his all as he has done on every Cheap Trick record.  He has a unique rhythm guitar approach and is a skilled rock and pop songwriter.  His deep creative well seems to never run dry. 

Cheap Trick recently got the honor of being elected into the Hall of Fame.  They should have been inducted a decade ago… at least.  With Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello they continue their legacy.

Is this the best album they have ever done?  Of course not.  It is in the Top 5?  Honestly, probably not... but dude, Cheap Trick’s Top 5 are classics.  This one is an honest effort with well written songs with that magical Cheap Trick sound.  Who could ask for more than that?  

Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello is a solid album that will insist you keep listening to the songs. Why?  It’s that unique mix of Nielsen and Zander, plain and simple.  The Cheap Trick faithful are smiling ear-to-ear as critics bash the album. They know what I know… and what you will know if you listen to this thing… critics don’t know shit.  They listen to music with their educated minds.  I listen, as does CT, with my crotch.  BOING!

This one rocks! 

Long live Cheap Trick!

1.     "Heart on the Line"   
2.     "No Direction Home"         
3.     "When I Wake Up Tomorrow"     
4.     "Do You Believe Me?"        
5.     "Blood Red Lips"       
6.     "Sing My Blues Away"       
7.     "Roll Me"         
8.     "The In Crowd"        
9.     "Long Time No See Ya"     
10.    "The Sun Never Sets"       
11.    "All Strung Out" 

By  Jeb “Crotch Strikes Ten” Wright