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Cheap Trick - 1982 One On One

ARTIST: Cheap Trick
ALBUM: One On One
SERIAL: FE 38021
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 1990, Epic, EK-38021


LINEUP: Robin Zander - vocals * Rick Nielsen - guitar * John Brant - bass * Bun E. Carlos - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Want You * 02 One On One * 03 If You Want My Love * 04 Oo La La La * 05 Lookin' Out For Number One * 06 She's Tight * 07 Time Is Runnin' * 08 Saturday At Midnight * 09 Love's Got A Hold On Me * 10 I Want Be Man * 11 Four Letter Word


When it comes to Cheap Trick's early 80's output it seems there are a lot of divided opinions on the merits of each album. As a relative newcomer to the majority of the bands material (like Rush, I've never really bothered exploring Trick before) the criticism aimed at 1980's 'All Shook Up' seems unwarranted, as it's a great rock album, despite the Beatles influences. I could see why fans of the first four records might have viewed it with indifference however. It was certainly more offbeat than usual, but the melodies were first rate. Naturally the mixed reception led the band to a 'back to basics' direction for 'One On One', probably the only move available for them. Bassist Pete Comita left, replaced by Jon Brant, who for some reason has his face obscured on the album cover. Was this the bands way of making it known Brant was a hired gun with no significance? Maybe not, but a bizarre decision!

The Songs
Clearly the band was intent on capturing the essence of their early albums and you can hear it in the massive sounding production of 'I Want You'. This sounds a bit like a barnstorming Slade track, especially when Zander bellows 'na na na' over and over. The title track is reminiscent of the debut album some five years earlier, raw U.S. hard rock with a suitably raucous hook. Nielsen's guitar tone is heavy here, reminding people how effective the band could be. Just one song removed from 'I Want You' we get 'If You Want My Love', obviously one the bands most well known songs, a great pop workout with shades of the 'All Shook Up' affair, the Beatles harmonies everywhere. It doesn't get more melodic than this, surely! The addition of horns gives 'Oo La La La' a unique edge, the bands experimentation always at the forefront. Again the chorus is very pop-minded, but with slightly more bite in the playing than the previous album. 'Lookin' Out For Number One' is straight hard rock, nothing too special it must be said, but 'She's Tight' blows it away thankfully. This is the melodic highlight of the album, a bold rocker with an AOR inspired chorus which is a notch above most of the songs here. This is Cheap Trick at their best for me. Rock should always be simple and this is exactly that. An onslaught of two minute plus songs follow, the first of which 'Time is Runnin' has an abrasively shouted chorus by Zander, but is somewhat average as a whole. Some may dislike the quirky 'Saturday At Midnight' and its new wave gadgetry, but it has an undeniable melody running through it and Nielsen adds some great licks.'I Want Be Man' treads the same path, but is better because the chorus is so ludicrous I can't get enough of it! This is the type of song where the band packs in everything they excel at and still make it sound palatable. By comparison 'Four Letter Word' is anthemic stadium rock, consisting of Zander shouting like a Wildman before a speed metal type breakdown at the conclusion. This is heavier than most metal bands in 1982. They should have taken it further..

In Summary
I'd stop well short of proclaiming this as the bands best, but I think it ranks well with the best of their work to be honest. It's far more inspired than the letdown that was 'Next Position Please', an album with none of the energy infused by the band here. This album did go gold, but apparently it wasn't until 1992! Of course the band was on the slide commercially, perhaps unfairly as the music was high quality, but the change in direction probably confused simple record buyers expecting another 'Dream Police' or 'I Want You To Want Me'. It doesn't really matter, the band are still around and cutting it live and in the studio, some 35 years since their debut. This captures the band before their AOR period and at their hard rock best and as such you can't go wrong.

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#1 | gdazegod on July 23 2012 13:50:03
Yeah this is good. One of the few Cheap Trick albums I have on CD. Produced by Roy Thomas Baker I might add..
#2 | Eric on July 23 2012 14:00:28
Agree. So-ooo reminds me of the sweltering (and F**ked up) Summer of '82.
#3 | tompa on July 24 2012 09:45:23
With this album Cheap Trick started to fade for me. Maybe because there was so many other good albums that year (Hunt/Kate Bush/Gamma/Balance etc) but looking at the tracklisting reminds me that there are quite a few good songs on it. Haven't listened to it for quite some while.....
#4 | AOR Lee on July 24 2012 19:10:56
For my money their best was yet to come, running from Standing On The Edge through to Busted. Several positive signs on here though, with She's Tight, If You Want My Love and One On One providing a hint of the AOR that would follow in the second half of the 80's. Have to agree about Next Position Please, some great songs but ruined by the poor production
#5 | dangerzone on July 24 2012 21:06:40
Cheap Trick is playing Austin this weekend so I'm contemplating the drive up there for it! They should do a 30th anniversary tour for this album and play it all.

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