Skip to main content

GOOD TRICK: THE NEW CHEAP TRICK ALBUM IS THEIR BEST IN DECADES

AMERICAN RAWK GAWD

The American New Wave moment had some weird and off-genre (power po, and indie-rock) bands in it - all great in their own ways - think Devo, The Cars, The B-52s, Talking Heads, Blondie, Cheap Trick, The Ramones, and even ZZ Top - curated by an eclectic and hungry MTV that could make Huey Lewis appear avant-garde at first.

Meanwhile, try and name a truly great American rock band to rival AC/DC, The Who, Led Zep, The Beatles, The Stones, T-Rex, ELO, - The Doors? Foreigner? The Stooges? The Eagles? Fleetwood Mac? Tom Petty's lads? The Beach Boys? Guns 'N Roses? Aerosmith? Glass Tiger? Rush? (the last two Canadian) - The Band (last three). The Doors, and The Beach Boys, and Stooges, for sure, but hardly in the same league, really, as The Beatles or The Stones.  Which is where Cheap Trick come in.

Improbably, these late 70s power pop oddballs (most famous for 'Dream Police' and 'The Flame' - quintessential high-school dance fixtures) have just recently been accepted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - improbably because it seems they should have been there sooner (if at all, depending on your tastes).

Their new LP - apparently their 17th (I know no one who owns the last 12 or more, do you?) - is a joy.  Written and performed by all members except the reviled ex-drummer, each man in his 60s save for the new drummer who is one of the member's sons, it is a triumph of energy and nervy reckless continuity.

Firstly, the sound is hard power pop - think The Who fused with ELO and AC/DC - with little New Wave flourishes (a bit of The Stranglers and some Echo and the Bunnymen, faintly). Mostly, it sounds like a more melodious, slightly less stupid and aggressive AC/DC - but with the same template of women, fun, and some vague social commentary.

The album is pure and classic in its style - it is so well-made, so well-performed, with beautiful vocals, and 11 songs of equal effectiveness - it is astonishing it is not from their late 70s heyday.  40 years ago this would have been one of the great rock LPs of the year.And, in its preposterous, fun and OTT way, it is one of the best of 2016, certainly.  A perfect BBQ playlist all of its own.  Welcome back guys! Your 'Blood Red Lips' is especially terrific.

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

OSCAR SMOSHCAR

The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…