Cheap Trick's comeback album is by no means a return to the creativity and vitality of their glory days. But even though Lap of Luxury is largely formulaic, the band's strongest collection of material in some time fills that late-'80s pop-metal formula quite well. Combining grandly romantic power ballads ("Ghost Town") with catchy hard rockers ("Never Had a Lot to Lose"), Lap of Luxury consistently delivers strong hooks and well-crafted songs, proving that Cheap Trick were still capable of outdoing many of the bands they helped inspire. The album produced two Top Five singles in a cover of Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel" and the band's first number one hit, "The Flame."
The Doctor is the ninth studio album by Cheap Trick, released in 1986. Since the beginning of the 1980s, Cheap Trick saw increasing pressure from their label, Epic Records, to produce material that was more commercial. In 1985, the band successfully gained a commercial comeback with the Top 40 album Standing on the Edge. For that album, the band had planned on returning to the rough sound of their 1977 debut, but producer Jack Douglas backed out of mixing process due to the legal issues he was having with Yoko Ono. Mixer Tony Platt was called in, and as a result, the album's production featured keyboards and electronic drums more prominently than the band and Douglas had intended. For the follow-up album, Platt was hired as producer and he opted for the dominant use of commercial-sounding synthesizers. The Doctor was released in November 1986.
Standing on the Edge is the eighth studio album by the American rock group Cheap Trick, released in 1985. Jack Douglas, the producer of Cheap Trick's debut album Cheap Trick, made a return for this release. When released, Standing on the Edge peaked at number 35 on the Billboard 200 and was on the charts for 19 weeks. After a few albums of more pop-oriented material, Standing on the Edge saw Cheap Trick return to their standard hard-rocking sound. The album was produced by Jack Douglas, who produced the band's eponymous debut album as well as the Found All The Parts EP. Originally, Cheap Trick planned on returning to the rough sound of their first album.
Cheap Trick attempted to ride the new wave on 1982’s One on One, but wound up with a wipe-out, so they recovered by hiring Todd Rundgren, one of the few ‘70s album-rockers who proved that he knew how to negotiate the treacherous waters of the early ‘80s, for 1983’s Next Position Please. Rundgren wielded a heavy hand during his production, pushing Cheap Trick toward making a record that could easily be mistaken for a Utopia record – so much so, the Todd composition, “Heaven’s Falling,” slips onto the second side without calling attention to itself. The bright surfaces with the guitars and keyboards melding so tightly with the vocal harmonies they’re inseparable, produce a sound that is uncannily reminiscent of Oops!
Busted is the eleventh studio album released by Cheap Trick, which was released in 1990 and peaked at number 44 on the US album charts. After the success of "The Flame" from the previous album Lap of Luxury, the band recorded Busted with a similar format, especially on the single "Can't Stop Fallin' Into Love." The single peaked at number 12 on the US charts. Guest musicians on the album include Mick Jones of the band Foreigner (guitar on "If You Need Me"), Chrissie Hynde from Pretenders (vocals on "Walk Away"), and Russell Mael of Sparks (vocals on "You Drive, I'll Steer"). Session musician (and former member of Poco) Kim Bullard played keyboards on the album. The album was certified Gold in Canada in November 1990.
Tom Petersson left Cheap Trick following the George Martin-produced All Shook Up, and the band was somewhat left in a lurch, recording 1982’s One on One largely without a bassist; eventual replacement Jon Brant is on record and on the cover, but he’s obscured by a picture of Rick Nielsen, possibly because the guitarist handled the bulk of the basslines on the LP. In any case, One on One finds Cheap Trick rebounding from Martin with a slick, punchy, AOR record, hemmed in a bit by stiff sequenced rhythms – you can almost feel Bun E. Carlos straining against the metronome – but sparkling in its analog synths and pumped-up guitars. No, it’s not as ballsy as Cheap Trick’s best, but its glossy glimmer is appealing, a combination of heavy metal roar and new wave strut, and would be more so if the songs were just a bit tighter.
All Shook Up is the fifth studio album by American rock band Cheap Trick. Released in 1980, it was produced by former Beatles producer George Martin. As such, this was the first album since their debut to be produced by someone other than Tom Werman. All Shook Up was even quirkier than its predecessor, the platinum-selling Dream Police. Many of its songs were less radio friendly and more experimental, and the cover art, influenced by Magritte's Time Transfixed, led many to question what the band was trying to accomplish. However, at the time, Cheap Trick had severed ties with long-time producer Tom Werman and took the opportunity to take their sound in a different direction. With the assistance of producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick, many of the songs have a dimension not found on any other Cheap Trick album.
Dream Police is the fourth studio album by American rock band Cheap Trick. It was released in 1979, and was their third release in a row produced by Tom Werman. It is the band's most commercially successful studio album, going to No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart and being certified platinum within a few months of its release. Dream Police shows the band expanding into longer, more complex songs and incorporating orchestration on several tracks. The album's title track became a Top 30 hit for the band. "Voices" was also a hit for the band, reaching No. 32 on the Billboard chart. "Voices" has been used twice in the soundtrack of the American sitcom How I Met Your Mother.
While their records were entertaining and full of skillful pop, it wasn't until At Budokan that Cheap Trick's vision truly gelled. Many of these songs, like "I Want You to Want Me" and "Big Eyes," were pleasant in their original form, but seemed more like sketches compared to the roaring versions on this album. With their ear-shatteringly loud guitars and sweet melodies, Cheap Trick unwittingly paved the way for much of the hard rock of the next decade, as well as a surprising amount of alternative rock of the 1990s, and it was At Budokan that captured the band in all of its power.
Heaven Tonight, like In Color, was produced by Tom Werman, but the difference between the two records is substantial. Where In Color often sounded emasculated, Heaven Tonight regains the powerful, arena-ready punch of Cheap Trick, but crosses it with a clever radio-friendly production that relies both on synthesizers and studio effects. Even with the fairly slick production, Cheap Trick sound ferocious throughout the album, slamming heavy metal, power pop, and hard rock together in a humongous sound. "Surrender," the definitive Cheap Trick song, opens the album with a tale about a kid whose parents are hipper than himself, and the remainder of the record is a roller coaster ride, peaking with the sneering "Auf Wiedersehen," the dreamily psychedelic title track, the roaring rocker "On Top of the World," the high-stepping, tongue-in-cheek "How Are You," and the pulverizing cover of the Move's "California Man."