ARTIST: Cheap Trick
TITLE: In Color
YEAR RELEASED: 1977
CHART ACTION: #73
SINGLES: I Want You to Want Me, Southern Girls
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Downed, Clock Strikes Ten
LINEUP: Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson, Bun E. Carlos
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Illinois power-pop rocking band makes a commercial play. The album is fantastic, and it’s a breakout…in Japan.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: “I Want You to Want Me” is one of the signature songs by Cheap Trick, and it’s on this here album. But the version here is a lot more poppy and melodic, not driven by Nielsen and Carlos, really, but more by the bass of Petersson and a piano, and it’s not as rock-n-roll as the version we all know and love. The band had complained that producer Tom Werman sweetened their sound.
That may be the one song affected by it. The rest of the album sounds just fine to my ears. “Downed”, “Big Eyes”, “Oh, Caroline”, “Come On, Come On” and the rest have a fire in them that allows for the tunes to shine through, but there’s muscle in them as well. Nielsen’s songs are well crafted, with the right balance of melody and power.
They ate this thing up in Japan. “Clock Strikes Ten” hit #1 there, and “I Want You to Want Me” was a favorite. They broke out somewhere, and it was just a matter of time before they would here in the US. A band with this kind of material, ready made for radio yet not compromised, couldn’t be denied.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: In 1998, they wanted to re-record this with Steve Albini in an effort to make it sound how the band wanted the record to, but that wasn’t released.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, some live cuts, demos and a B-side
GRADE: A: Front to back excellence.