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Spins • Cheap Trick: “In Another World”

| April 9, 2021

Cheap Trick


Cheap Trick

In Another World


Cheap Trick’s 20thstudio album packs what fans need from one of Illinois’ most reliably satisfying institutions. “The Summer Looks Good on You” offers stacked harmonies led by Robin Zander, who once again earns his position in the upper reaches of any list of rock’s premier vocalists. The song also packs a mean lick by guitarist Rick Nielsen, a daffy showman who nonetheless means serious business (and serious fun) on the songwriting and recording fronts. Nods to “Dream Police” strings will make song this a likely favorite with longtime fans. Zander’s ageless voice turns feral during the thundering pop of quintessential Cheap Trick basher “Light Up the Fire,” propelled by Tom Petersson’s rumbling 12-string bass. As done on We’re All Alright! with the deluxe version’s inclusion of “Blackberry Way,” the swinging, horn-laced “Quit Waking Me Up” will remind listeners of Cheap Trick’s status as chief evangelists for Roy Wood of The Move and Wizzard. “The Party” is an irresistible riff-rocking stomper with a “Crosstown Traffic”-styled hook and urgent drumming by Daxx Nielsen. “Another World” is a lighter-waving, heavy ballad with a winsome melody that serves as a healing balm for troubled times – despite being written two years prior to pandemic paranoia and civil unrest. “Boys & Girls & Rock N Roll” is a lusty anthem with a title that practices truth in advertising. “Final Days” borrows a swaggering Chicago blues boogie while Nielsen’s guitar trades snarling licks with Wet Willie singer Jimmy Hall’s harmonica. “So it Goes” is a Lennon & McCartney-esque duet between Nielsen’s acoustic guitar and Zander’s forlorn vocal, colored by psychedelic “Strawberry Fields Forever”-styled mellotron strings. The sublime but bittersweet “I’ll See You Again” bids farewell to a loved one who is leaving this world for the next. With genuine warmth evident through the tears, it’s an opposite reflection with a knowing and gentler perspective than earlier fare like “Oh Candy,” “Auf Wiedersehen,” or “Heaven Tonight.” Sex Pistols guitaristSteve Jones joins Rockford’s favorite sons for an impassioned cover of John Lennon’s pointed and perennially relevant “Gimme Some Truth.” (


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– Jeff Elbel


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