Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Cheap Trick - Sex, America, Cheap Trick

 I've been a Cheap Trick fan ever since I bought their debut when it first appeared in the record stores, alongside new wave/punk records and kinda straddling the line between hard rock, pop and new wave, but making a sound all their own. This 1996 four CD box set (with high-quality booklet) covers their career up until that time with plenty of their most famous tunes along with 17 previously unreleased songs.

Since I am a hug fan of their early work, the first CD (the material is basically in chronological order) is most appealing to me, with cuts from their debut and sophomore albums, augmented by a number of unreleased cuts, single versions, live takes and more. CD 2 delves into the 3rd and 4th records with a couple more live and alternative takes, a demo with Rick singing and Tom Peterson taking lead vocals for a live medley of the Velvet Underground's "Waiting For the Man"/"Heroin"!

By the third CD, they start to get into some shakey ground, but there's still some greatness like a version of "Day Tripper", a demo of "I Need Love", a previously unreleased take on "Born To Raise Hell" and others, even though their is some dreck like "She's Tight". Unfortunately, CD 4 is almost unlistenable with misguided attempts at commercialism like "The Flame" nearly destroyed their initial credibility before they made another comeback in the late 90's that continues to this day (even if you still have to sit through "The Lame" in their live concerts.

This is absolutely worth it for the early material and the cool, unreleased numbers, but you probably won't want to put on the final CD. Still, fans should certainly own this!