The Doctor (1987)


 
1.It's Up To You 2.Rearview Mirror Romance 3.The Doctor 4.Are You Lonely Tonight 5.Name of the Game 6.Kiss Me Red 7.Take Me to the Top 8.Good Girls Go To Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere) 9.Man-u-lip-u-lator 10.It's Only Love

 

Richard Nixon had Watergate, Napoleon had Waterloo and Cheap Trick had The Doctor. Most fans and critics agree that this was the low point in the career for the band. Unfortunately it came right in the middle of much of the drudgery that the band became infamous for, and, hindsight being 20-20, it's a bit of a wonder that they survived at all after this one.

Perhaps they just gave up at this point. The songwriting here sounds incredibly uninspired and the over-production (maybe to cover up this flaw) only makes things sound worse. Tony Platt, who was the engineer for Standing on the Edge, produces this one and he adds so many sound effects, enhancements, bells, whistles and overlaying instruments that it's easy to feel as though you're being run over by a large unforgiving vehicle when trying to listen. Quite often, a lot of the material sounds like a soundtrack to a bad horny teenager movie that they used to show on the USA network at 2:00 a.m. on a Friday night (but how would **I** know?).

This is very apparent on the album's opener, It's Up to You. There are so many keyboards and synthesizers right out of the gate that it's hard to even catch your breath. Robin Zander even "speaks" most of the song rather than sings it, and it makes it hard to remember that this band became famous by simplifying rock and roll, not complicating it. Ironically, this song is by far the best on the album. It's very hard to take songs seriously with titles like Rearview Mirror Romance and Man-u-lip-ulator. Those songs themselves are as bad as the song names.

They try for a couple of hits. Take Me to the Top is a song that maybe could have been a decent ballad on another album. Kiss Me Red is slightly catchy, but it was written by outside writers and doesn't sound like what this band is supposed to sound like. Neither were hits by the way. Nor was the video of the horrible It's Only Love That song is just about the worst thing here - and they picked it for a video. True fans will argue that subpar releases were the result of something out of the band's control (record company, producer, etc.). There may be some truth to that, but a better producer or a better anything probably couldn't salvage this one.


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