Under The Radar: Cheap Trick - In Color (1977)
Updated: Oct 13, 2020
In Color is the second studio album by Cheap Trick. The album was released in September 1977 with Tom Werman (Ted Nugent, Molly Hatchet, Blue Öyster Cult, Mötley Crüe ) producing.
I have always enjoyed listening to Cheap Trick and their sophomore release has always been a favourite of mine.
Although I always thought that their first three studio albums - 1977's Cheap Trick and In Color along with 1978's Heaven Tonight were essential listening, there seems to be some contention with the In-Color record. Over the years the band has dismissed their sophomore effort stating that is as too lightweight and unrepresentative of its live sound.
Granted their second album does stumble in capturing the bands live sound, but it more than makes up for it by delivering a set of songs with killer hooks and unforgettable melodies.
In my opinion I thought that producer Tom Werman did an excellent job in getting the band, most notably lead guitarist and primary song writer Rick Nielsen to focus on the melodies. In Color is definitely a career defining record, in which the band takes hold of its irresistible formula of Beatlesque pop and hard rock attitude.
Cheap Trick's sophomore record doesn't have a weak track on it and plays out like a greatest hits record. I always have a hard time choosing my favorite tracks on this album , but if I had to it would be the following. Hello There, starts off the album perfectly with an invitation to rock. Big Eyes takes the momentum of the opening track and runs with it. Downed is a great psychedelia mid-tempo track that demonstrates the bands versatility. The pop rockers Southern Girls, Oh Caroline stay in your head long after the record has stopped playing. The bluesy rockers Clock Strikes Ten and You’re All Talk continues to showcase the hypnotic guitar riffs Rick Nielsen. Track for track , In Color is pure power pop perfection.
No matter how Cheap Trick or anyone else feels about In Colors slick production, half of its songs make up half of their commercial breakthrough record At Budokan. So the album can’t be that bad.
So if you love pop, rock or music in general, then you owe it to yourself to give In Color a listen.