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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Cheap Trick - 1983 Next Position Please
Cheap Trick - 1983 Next Position Please

ARTIST: Cheap Trick
ALBUM: Next Position Please
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 1990, Epic, EK38794


LINEUP: Robin Zander - lead vocals, rhythm guitars * Rick Nielsen - lead guitars, left hand keyboards * Bun E. Carlos - drums * Jon Brant - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Can't Take It * 02 Borderline * 03 I Don't Love Here Anymore * 04 Next Position Please * 05 Younger Girls * 06 Dancing The Night Away * 07 You Talk Too Much * 08 3-D * 09 You Say Jump * 10 Y.O.Y.O.Y. * 11 Won't Take No For An Answer * 12 Heaven's Falling * 13 Invaders Of The Heart * 14 Don't Make Our Love A Crime

WEBLINKS: www.cheaptrick.com

By 1983 Cheap Trick were in something of a commercial downward spiral. After the dizzying success of the 'Live At Budokan' vinyl (4 million thank you), each release had sold less than the one before ('Dream Police' platinum, 'All Shook Up' gold & 'One On One' sub gold). The trouble with 1982's 'One On One' was a general lack of strong material, although Roy Thomas Baker turned in a crisp 80's production to make the record mostly listenable despite its shortcomings, with 'Next Position Please' the opposite applies : the songwriting is stronger and generally more melodic and appealing, but the awful production from Todd Rundgren proved ruinous.

The Songs
Zander's 'I Can't Take It' opens the album in sizzling mid-tempo fashion, full of AOR melodies and a very strong chorus - but the production problems are immediately apparent, a dry tinny/60's sound prevailing over jangly semi acoustic guitars, a setback which unfortunately becomes a recurring theme. 'Borderline' is a busier affair, yet another strong melody and a big vocal from Zander. One can't help imagining how much better this record would've sounded with 'Mike Stone' at the controls.. 'I Don't Love Here Anymore' lapses into 60's pop territory, and even though the melody is good, one can understand why Epic found this record almost impossible to market to the anthem AOR hungry 1983 market. 'Next Position Please' is much better - a classic Cheap Trick melody and far more electric guitar presence, never mind that the drums sound like Bun E's playing on the supper dishes, this one's a winner and one of the few highlights. Remarkable bass playing from Brant as well. 'Younger Girls' is weaker but not terrible, quite sing-along despite the messy production. 'Dancing The Night Away', a Motels cover that the band were forced to record for this album, is notable for one reason - it's the only track not produced by Rundgren (the band did it with Ian Taylor). While in itself, is not a spectacular production, it leaps at you from the speakers by comparison with the rest of the record. You wouldn't know they hated the song, since the reading is convincing and they make it sound like their own. 'You Talk Too Much' returns us to the kitchen sink quagmire, although the more audible electric guitar is again a welcome development, it's still a throwaway album track with a severe lack of melody.

'3-D' continues a theme from 'All Shook Up's' 'High Priest Of Rhythmic Noise' and One On One's 'I Want Be Man', being a quirky novelty track with ridiculous sound effects and truly daft lyrics (goes for all 3 songs). Apparently Nielsen at one time harboured ambitions of putting the 3 tracks together in a short film noir.. thankfully repairing the damage done to their career by this album was a bigger priority, carried out with genuine AOR style and considerable success from 1985 to 1990. Back to the album, 'You Say Jump' is a very self aware rewrite of 'I Want You To Want Me', musically not that bad despite the silly 50's jump beat. 'Y.O.Y.O.Y.' is the genuine triumph on the record : a spacious ballad with a gorgeous melody, this is a vocal tour de force for Zander, harking back to 'All Shook Up's 'World's Greatest Lover'.. yes it's that damn good. Spacey keys and a distinct lack of jangly guitars complete the much needed dose of respite. 'Won't Take No For An Answer' is a strange creature - serene/haunting vocals from Zander at verse time, culminating in some fierce machine gun drumming in the disappointing chorus. 'Heaven's Falling' is a piece of genuine irony - a really catchy AOR workout written by Rundgren specially for the album (apparently during a supper break !!), thoroughly ruined by his own jangly production. I can't resist doing it again - a Mike Stone production of this same track would've resulted in a top 10 smash.

In Summary
Needless to say, the album bombed and Cheap Trick found themselves playing club sized venues again - an unfortunate state of affairs since the songwriting on this record is mostly strong, although the band must take some of the blame for going along with the suicidal production. At the time of 1985's stunning all AOR comeback 'Standing On The Edge', bassist Jon Brant admitted that the previous two records were mistakes. Come to think of it, both album covers are shocking as well, especially for the 1982/3 period. Luckily things were about to change for Cheap Trick, both musically and commercially.

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#1 | Jez on July 07 2009 18:06:33
I must admit right away that this is probably one of my least favourite Cheap Trick discs in their whole discography. It is still a good disc and has some great songs on it and Todd Rundgrens production I really like aswell, but there are also quite a few filler songs on here aswell that I find skipping over (Filler on a Cheap Trick Disc - surely not!). Well worth adding to your CT collection, but not the most essential in their catologue.
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