#43 - Voices"Hey, it's me again
I'm so in love with you again
Please, can I see you every day?"
Ah yes, the "slow" song on Dream Police, and what is probably their most popular ballad of all time. I'm not really sure if I know how popular this song is amongst common classic rock fans, or how popular it should be today. If you hear it, you could claim it to be an essential song of the late-70's. I certainly agree. This song is on quite a lot of their greatest hits, the music video was from the most popular era of the band, and I'm one to think it's a song that anyone could love. I think Voices for the most part; you should have seen the look on my face when I was listening to The Beatles' You Never Give Me Your Money (on Abbey Road) and realized Cheap Trick borrowed the exact same guitar work throughout parts of this song! I first thought "wow, how unoriginal" because now I'm going to say Cheap Trick isn't perfect. Yes, it's identical to the Beatles, but in the context of the song it's 100% perfect. Everyone knows how much of an influence The Beatles have on popular music, so everybody in the music world pretty much borrowed something from them anyways. Cheap Trick (or perhaps just Rick) is known to be Beatles fans and has been compared them too many times to count. I'll definitely be reminded of Cheap Trick when I hear Abbey Road, and I'll always have that in mind when I hear Voices from now on. I mostly can't complain because the guys are brilliant with what they do with their influences.
#44 - Dream The Night Away"How can I help but hate the way I feel?
Make sense of memories that won't make them real?"
More continued praise for Rockford: feel good lyrics, fantastic song on an even greater album, and a perfectly simple and brilliant guitar solo. Been there done that, and this happens to be one of the better ones.
#45 - A Place In France"Your mama won't let you out tonight
Your mama won't let you out of sight
Mama won't let you rock and roll
Mama won't let you 'cause she's got control
She can't change if she wanted to
She'll be the same at 72
All I care about is me and you
So let's do it!"
In short, A Place In France is incredible, but most people don't know about it. It's almost criminal that this is so forgotten and unknown. I, as a Cheap Trick fan, didn't discover this track until last year when I bought the Sex, America, Cheap Trick set, and even then it's a four-disc set, so only the converted and dedicated fan would be interested. There were a fair share of tracks I loved from SACT, mostly live songs, but this (on the 4th disc!) was such a gem. Just imagine how many fans there are in the world who have never heard this song! How did this never get released until 1996? A Place In France, to me, feels like the origin of Cheap Trick's style between 1997 and now. You can hear it in the delivery that "this" type of song would be a turning point in the band's work. In my opinion, A Place In France is 80% awesome, with 20% needing more work; yet all of it grouped together is still pretty impressive. I know this is an outtake but I always didn't care to remember the year it was made, and I liked knowing that. Sometimes I considered this a brand new song created before the CD release. Well, earlier this morning I believe, I was looking up the Standing On The Edge album credits, and underneath the track listing I saw "A Place In France" as an outtake. THIS WAS CREATED IN 1985? Wow. No wonder it's a hidden highlight. It sounds like it could have been made today, you know, except with Robin's matured voice. SOTE should have had more songs like these with better production if this was in their arsenal! The song, known as an "unreleased track" is unbelievably good, and with a little polish, could have been an instant classic in the Cheap Trick universe, alongside their more popular rock & roll tunes. It should have been up there with the best. Dare I say, this is the most impressive outtake in the band's career? And seriously, if my life depended on the question "what is your favorite guitar solo from any Cheap Trick song?" it would be the solo found here. It is insanely brilliant. Oh. My. Goodness. Most of the reasons to hear A Place In France is to get to that one moment where you build to the solo. Well, the moment the song hits, you're waiting for that solo. Oh, and every single person on this track is so inspired and amazing all at once. It's mind-blowing. How many reasons do I need to admit this band is amazing? I just wish more people besides me knew about it, so my goal is to spread the word every chance I get.
#46 - Tonight It's You"Time's not sleeping and time won't lose
You can't win 'cause time can't lose
So stop what you're doin', start on something new
Don't be hypnotized, don't start thinkin' with your eyes
I don't know why you mean that much to me
You don't know what it feels like lovin' you
We all know a change is good for you
That's all right, gotta do what you gotta do anyway
All I want is a place in your heart to fall into
All I need is someone to love
And tonight it's you"
Alright, a few notes on Tonight It's You:
-Many people claim that this is Robin's greatest performance as a singer. This isn't a list of greatest vocal performances, but I could very well agree that this is one of his unbelievably long list of highlights. I really like that every time he sings (mostly in the chorus) HE NEVER STOPS SINGING SO INCREDIBLY. That always-present chorus is so addicting, and it's because Robin Zander is a fantastic vocalist. Yeah, there's a band behind him, but to acknowledge it just one time: it's 100% Robin to me on this track. That guitar sound, the drum work, even the bass... but the vocals are the reason I keep coming back.
-Tonight It's You was on Standing On The Edge. Without this song, the album would have been nothing. I mean, yes, there are other underrated tracks I seem to love from the album, but Tonight It's You was the ANCHOR of Standing On The Edge. It carried that album's success, or whatever success the album received. I don't know how much it sold. It's the top reason why anyone should even listen to the mid-80's era of original Cheap Trick tunes. You'll get to hear nice little tracks like Little Sister and Love Comes, but this one song should be "it" to get you hooked.
-Again, without a huge hit like Tonight It's You, I wonder where the band would have been. The Flame was a few years away, and The Doctor didn't do them a whole lot of favors. This song hit at the right time and was another big single for the group. Plus, Standing On The Edge is such an underrated record sometimes; this is definitely the standout track.
#47 - On Top Of The World"She was young, she was dark, she was fair
Wrapped herself around you with her stare
You'd explode if she would touch you there"
The title of the song says it all: "on top of the world." By that account it has to be enjoyable, and it is, with an interesting progression/story to the song. Most people who are familiar with On Top Of The World probably love having Robin sing to them the line "you're on top of the world and you can't get any higher" over and over, as if to inspire them on their daily lives. I know I've felt the same way many times. The following is one of those little moments about Cheap Trick that I love, but I can't get enough of Robin's gruff delivery of "Tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight" near the end. Really sticks with me every time. The pianos really add another nice dimention too, and the fade out vocals ("can you see me?") really are fantastic. Ah, so many things I like about this song, I don't know which part is the best! And I am again in love with their take on the song live!
#48 - California Girl"She looks that way all jacked up tight
Bitin' her lips, shakin' her hips
She's a California girl
She's a California girl
She's a bad little girl and I know I'm gonna make her mine"
Familiar title, familiar style, completely different atmosphere. They sound so much like the old days while staying totally fresh! Cheap Trick just sounds so inspired here, because California Girl is a must-hear hard-rocking tune from The Latest. So much positive energy in this song, and is an instant classic for the Cheap Trick universe.
#49 - Fan Club(Or if that version doesn't tickle your fancy,
try the performance I fell in love with, which is right here!)"Pretty pictures of the queens themselves
You had my 8x10 on your shelf
You sold me cheap and I cried for help"
Fan Club is a song written by Cheap Trick, dedicated to their fans. It was never on their proper albums, it was never included on one of their live albums, but they did perform it once in a rare while. Eventually they did release it many years later so at least it finally got more recognition. From what I know, Fan Club (the Sex, America, Cheap Trick version) is a studio recording. I always thought it was a live recording since it follows a lot of other live tracks on the CD. Anyways, the SACT recording is "it" for Fan Club as the version I know and love. There's an In Color 1998 re-recording, but for some reason, it doesn't work as well for me, and any other live versions are alright but not quite there that would make me highly fond of this song. I think if the 1998 version was my first exposure to the song I wouldn't cherish it as much as I do now. I don't know why, I just really value this version and this atmosphere in general. Sometimes it's bliss with its calmer matter and nostalgic lyrics. It's almost a unique anthem for the band solely meant for all the special people to say "thanks" to. It's certainly different from different CT songs in that aspect, and because it's the only song created just to thank the fanbase: it's pretty cool to hear.
#50 - Downed"I'm gonna live on a mountain way down under in Australia
It's either that or suicide
It's such a strange strain on you"
Especially when I'm talking about the In Color version, it is sooooo enjoyable and calming. This thought popped in my head once I was going to write my thoughts of this tune: it's one of those songs where you feel like they're singing directly to you and you're right there paying attention to every word they say and taking it all in. I'm always mesmerized by the lyrics. I tend to quote Downed a lot in my life. The whole experience is perfect.
#51 - Taxman, Mr. Thief"You work hard, you make money
There ain't no one in this world who can stop you
You work hard, you went hungry
Now the taxman is out to get you
You worked hard, and you slaved and slaved for years
Break your back, sweat a lot
Well, it's just not fair"
In all honesty, I think Taxman Mr. Thief was the single biggest surprise of this entire list. I originally envisioned this (without ranking first) to be much lower, and couldn't stop building this up higher and higher! In time, I brought the track down a little, but I must love this track so much to not want throw it down any lower. It may not be in the top half anymore, but I like that about my list. I'm discovering which tracks I thought I loved and became set aside in relation to others, and I'm discovering underrated tracks to be much better than I expected. Except for one or two of those little references to a certain band called "The Beatles" it's a completely original Cheap Trick number, and a wonderful one at that. They totally borrow from Beatles culture here without ripping them off. The accompanying video really helped my love for this song.
#52 - Mighty Wings
(Another reason why Mighty Wings is timeless: this
right here!)"There's a raging fire in my heart tonight
Growing higher and higher in my soul
There's a raging fire in the sky tonight
I wanna ride on the silverdome, far into the night"
Sometimes I just cannot believe this is the same band. When you consider stuff like The Flame and If You Want My Love, they really covered a lot of bases in the 80's, and the name "Cheap Trick" really popped up a lot ever since At Budokan made them a household name. I just cannot believe my favorite band performed on this iconic, popular synth-heavy track from a major movie. It seems surreal. This is even one of the most popular true-to-the-80's tunes for nostalgia freaks, and I have no problem with that since it's perfect for its time. I don't really mind if Mighty Wings leads to loving Cheap Trick since it's a fun listen. And it includes the immortal line "take me home to miiiiiiiighty wings tooooooooooonnnnnniiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!" Awesome.