Day 57: Cheap Trick – Heaven Tonight

26 Apr


This Dad-Rock Tuesday, I’ve been assigned Cheap Trick’s 1978 record, Heaven Tonight.  I knew a couple of things about Cheap Trick going into this: Surrender is a pretty good song, and Rockford, one of their latest releases, kind of sucks.

Fortunately, this record started out with Surrender, and it was pretty much smooth sailing from there.

Heaven Tonight is impossible not to like.  It’s simple, straightforward, catchy rock.  Cheap Trick is a band that understands what it is capable of doing, and when they don’t stray from that, they make some great music.  If Cheap Trick tried to put together a dark concept album or something, it would fall apart, but by sticking with simplicity, the band thrives.

Musically, the group uses the standard rock band layout (vox, guitars, bass, drums, with a little keyboard) and never really strays from that. Lyrically, most songs revolve around love, sex, partying, or some combination of the three.  There are plenty of catchy riffs and choruses sure to get stuck in heads.  As long as Cheap Trick sticks to these things, they do fine.  When they break away from that formula, though, disaster strikes.

Fortunately, that only happened once on this record.  The title track Heaven Tonight sees the band attempting a darker and slower song, and it fails spectacularly.  It comes off as creepy and a little disconcerting, sounding more like a song about murder instead of mind-boggling sex than I think it’s supposed to.

Aside from that one dark spot, Heaven Tonight is a really solid record.  It’s what pop-rock should sound like: simple, catchy, and fun.


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