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Cheap Trick In Color 1998: The Albini Sessions

Cheap Trick - In Color And In Black And White

Cheap Trick’s 1998 re-recording of their classic, In Color

Cheap Trick – In Color 1998

Cheap Trick’s original recording of In Color is from 1977 and is universally considered one of the greatest hard rock/power pop recordings of all time. However, the band has never been satisfied with the album’s finished sound because it didn’t capture the edginess of their style, as anyone who has ever seen them live can attest. So after leaving Warner Bros., the band hooked up with recording purist Steve Albini and re-recorded the whole thing, plus five bonus tracks. Let me just say: it will rock your face off.

After a full 21 years of performing these songs literally thousands of times, the band knocks them out in the studio, guitars blazing, vocals ripping, drums booming. The production is absolutely raw and glorious — and it works here so very well. I came by the recording recently and it gets more satisfying with every listen.

And I can only imagine what satisfaction it must have been for the band to lay down these songs so familiar to them, then finally hear their music documented as they themselves hear it, show after show. And especially in all its edgy glory. That’s when Cheap Trick are at their best. Their debut album (one of my favorite records of all time) captures this, and their subsequent records are is progressively more tidy (except, maybe Budokan), but this one breaks all that down with abandon.

Says guitarist Rick Neilsen of this re-recording:

As for the re-recorded Albini In Color album, “we haven’t made any plans for it, but we didn’t record it for a joke,” he quips. “We didn’t go at it trying to come up with crazy new arrangements, but sonically we never liked In Color. The songs were good, but sonically it’s wimpy and we’re not wimpy. We left before it got mixed and were told ‘We’ll fix it in the mix’ by our record company (back then) and our ex-manager. Well, they went the other way,” Nielsen says finishing his thought. – via BraveWords.com

Hey man, you ever heard of CDs?

Cheap Trick singer Robin Zander once signed my tape inlay card at a gig.

The original In Color is responsible for much of the band’s success, and will forever be a classic. My point here is just that if you like that, you might like this one, too.

I’m not sure how much longer the tracks will be available on the Interwebs, but a quick search brings up several places currently hosting the recording in its entirety (which I would gladly pay for, as I did my original copy of In Color and all their other records). They have long been one of my all-time favorite bands for their sound, individuality, sense of humor, and enduring work ethic. Having seen them live on multiple occasions, I’ll say this is about as good as it gets to being there. If you like the rock, this revisiting of a classic is worth your time.

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What do you think of Cheap Trick? If you’ve seen them live, what was it like? Do you have an amazing or bizarre Cheap Trick story? Let us hear from you in the comments.