Cheap Trick, "Bang Zoom Crazy... Hello" (Big Machine)
Some classic rock bands limp into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the basis of past reputation. On the other hand, Cheap Trick — the hard-charging, melodic rockers from Rockford, Illinois — is racing full speed ahead into the Rock Hall, fueled by its best album in decades.
"Bang Zoom Crazy... Hello" kicks off with a blast of feedback and a classic guitar-bass-and-drum roar on "Heart on the Line," which would make a great concert opener if they ever tire of the traditional "Hello There."
There are at least four potential hit singles on this album: A remake of the '60s Dobie Gray track "The In Crowd," ''Long Time No See Ya," the clap-happy "Blood Red Lips" and "No Direction Home."
As they have since the '70s, Cheap Trick infuses their songs with Beatle-esque harmonies, dramatic chord changes and progressions, and guitarist Rick Nielsen's quirky, minimalist solos, all atop a pounding beat that makes these songs easy to listen to and hard to forget. And Nielsen's son Daxx provides a shot of new energy replacing drummer Bun E. Carlos.
This band is a true American original that has thus far not surrendered to age, inertia or hip-hop. Here's hoping they never do.