Saturday, December 26, 2009

448. In Color. Big in Japan.

Album: In Color.

Artist: Cheap Trick.

Year: 1977

Genre: Rock.


  1. Hello There
  2. Big Eyes
  3. Downed
  4. I Want You to Want Me
  5. You're All Talk
  6. Oh Caroline
  7. Clock Strikes Ten
  8. Southern Girls
  9. Come On, Come On
  10. So Good to See You

Cheap Trick were actually my introduction to Rock and Roll Music. While I can’t really claim they were what started my love of Rock they were definitely my first glimpse into a world I never knew before. So I suppose I owe them a huge debt of thanks.

I didn’t grow up in a Rock and Roll household. My parents were young (or at least younger) in the sixties and so should have been immersed in the music of the Beatles, the Stones and Dylan but instead they decided to avoid that world completely. My father is a classical music fantatic who dipped his toe into the world of Jazz but lost interest well before Miles Davis made it interesting. I grew up on a constant diet of Mozart and his contemporaries which instilled a huge respect for classical, baroque and romantic music but not anything like the devotion my father possessed. There was nothing remotely rocking in my house and so my exposure to electrified guitar music came from the television. I have no idea under what circumstances and what program it was but somehow as a young child I saw a clip of Cheap Trick performing Dream Police. “oooh,” said my (approximately) six year old brain “There’s a new and exciting world and I want in.” My interest was sparked and it wasn’t long before my love of Rock and Roll started.

At the time I thought the song was actually called Green Police which is probably why nobody knew what the hell I was talking about when I asked my friends about it. Having no disposable income and no control over the radio or television stations in my house meant I had no way of actually hearing the tune again so I was left with a maddening fragment of a song in my head and a desire to hear more. I don’t think I’ve heard Dream Police in it’s entirety again since and in fact I’ve never listened to a Cheap Trick album until now, thirty years later. (If you’re interested my honest answer to the “What’s the first album you ever bought?” question is Monty Python’s Contractual Obligation. Dull but true).

So In Color isn’t my introduction to Cheap Trick but it’s the first time I’ve actually sat down and listened to anything they’ve ever done. This puts in me sharp contrast with the entire of the nation of Japan who are apparently all Cheap Trick fanatics. It’s where their careers took off because for some reason America wasn’t interested in The Trick while the Japanese became pretty much fanatical in their adoration calling them “The American Beatles.” You can kind of see where they come from, while not as blatantly Beatley as Oasis there are definitely moments of fabness that peek through Cheap Trick's music.

But probably the biggest appeal in The Trick is the music which is deceptively simple and easy to replicate but hard to invent. When people heard In Color there would have been millions of teenage boys who would have said “I can do that! I can hit that note, I can play those chords and I have a friend who can play drums like that when he’s not stoned. We could do this!” And it’s true a lot of people could but the point is they couldn’t do it first. I could walk into my local high school and assemble a band who could do a pretty good cover of Clock Strikes Ten but I’d be amazingly lucky to find anyone who could write a song that’s as deceptively simple and yet catchy.

Ultimately In Color doesn’t really leave any sort of impression on me. It’s fairly disposable and lightweight, I’m sure it rocks out a party of American college kids and helps to bring the Japanese exchange student out of their shell but it doesn’t really stay with me for any amount of time. If I could travel back in time to meet my six year old self I’d say two things: firstly “It’s Dream police you dickhead” and secondly “Here’s a copy of Sticky Fingers, get this into you.”

Highlight: Southern Girls. A catchy tune which I’d describe as “highly agreeable” a phrase I have never used about any other song ever.

Lowlight: Big eyes “disagreeable” see explanation above.

Influenced by: The Beatles.

Influenced: X-japan and countless thousands of other Japanese rock bands.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Sit down, Jonas Brothers, this is Pop/Rock written and performed by young adults, NOT KIDS, for kids, not young adults..."

-That's great. Most people talk about "Adult music" but I've never heard anyone rave on about "Young Adult music" before.

So is Cheap Trick inexpensive rock or does it contain a wealth of riches? Let me know below.

No comments:

Post a Comment