One On One (1982)


 
1.I Want You 2.One On One 3.If You Want My Love 4.Ooh La La 5.Looking Out For Number One 6.She's Tight 7.Time is Runnin' 8.Saturday at Midnight 9.Love's Got a Hold On Me 10.I Want Be Man 11.Four Letter Word

 

After the poor reception to All Shook Up, it was clear that this band definitely needed some shaking up themselves. They (fortunately) abandoned much of the styles of All Shook Up for a new direction. Things were still tough for this band. There was actually a rumor at the time that the band presented a complete album to their record company who refused to put it out. Although that rumor has been confirmed by most sources as false, it wouldn't be surprising considering their track record around this time. Tom Petersson was long gone from the band. The initial replacement for him, Pete Comita, didn't work out either, so they recruited Jon Brant as their new Bass Player. Ironically, Brant looks a lot like Comita - who looked a lot like Petersson. Considering that on the album cover, half of Brant's face is buried, it almost makes you wonder if the band was trying to "sneak" him in. He also didn't join the band until this album was almost complete, only appearing on three of the eleven songs.

Roy Thomas Baker was chosen to produce this effort. He had masses of success producing the likes of Queen, The Cars, Journey and Foreigner. He definitely adds a harder bite to the songs here. This is arguably the hardest thing this band has ever done. After the first several listens, it's easy to dismiss this album as another disappointment. The songs here actually feel as though they're assaulting you with their loud/hard-edged sound. Robin Zander sounds more like he's screaming most of the time rather than singing (still, though, anything that comes out of Zander's mouth manages to somehow sound great). The songs here are mostly short and somewhat sweet. Baker's production actually has the songs run into each other, so you don't quite hear a song completely fade out when the next song explodes in your ears. Hindsight does display its charms. The feel of the album definitely has an "80's rock" vibe that never quite sounds cheesy (they would pull that off, alas, a bit later in their history). Bun E. Carlos' drums are way up in the mix, and his steady beat-keeping is louder than anything else here. Good, I guess, if you like drums.

All of these tomgs would be great if the band would have had more hooks and actual melodies than they feature. At least being able to sing along to some of the tracks would be welcome. This is probably the biggest weakness of the album. They focus too much on "power" and not enough on "pop". Fortunately, two of the best Cheap Trick songs are on this album. If You Want My Love is one of the very best in the band's catalog (it went to number one in Australia, yet failed to crack the charts in the U.S.) and She's Tight is an awesome tune with a great catchy guitar riff. It also made a great video (something that bands were just starting to experiment with at the time). The rest of the album is a mix of goods and bads. Every fan is bound to find other favorites here, and this album was a lot better than its predecessor.

The glory days for this band, however, were definitely over. This album (I think) barely cracked the top 40 and they did do an arena tour - but mostly focused on smaller cities that weren't used to headlining rock bands coming to their community. Most of the arenas were only half full at that.


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