Under The Radar: Cheap Trick, Woke Up With A Monster (1994)
Woke Up With a Monster is the twelfth studio album by Cheap Trick. The eleven-track studio record was released on March 4, 1994 with Ted Templeman (The Doobie Brothers, Montrose, Van Halen) producing.
On paper, Cheap Trick with producer extraordinaire Ted Templeman sounds like a “sure thing”, but the album came and went and is considered as one of the bands biggest commercial disappointments. While most fans and critics have panned the record, I have recently rediscovered Woke Up With A Monster and to my surprise, I enjoyed the album. While a not full-fledged return to greatness, it does have flashes of brilliance. It deserves a better fate then being found in a bargain bin at Walmart.
In my opinion Woke Up With A Monster failed to connect with the record buying public for a number of reasons. First, the album didn’t get a proper "push" from Warner Bros. According to a 2004 interview with Star-News- Lead Guitarist Rick Nielsen stated “the album suffered from a lack of promotion, largely because the two label reps who signed Cheap Trick to Warner Bros. were fired at the time of the release.” "Everybody who signed us was worried for their jobs, so we got no promotion on that one.” Second, have you seen the album cover? I mean let's try too get past that fact that the bands iconic Cheap Trick logo is gone. The album cover looks like the clown from IT landed a role in a low budget adult film. I mean who at Warner Bros. approved this? Hands down one of the worst looking album covers in rock history.
Third, even though Cheap Trick’s first collaboration with super-producer Ted Templeman, does give some of the material a harder rocking edge, reminiscent of the bands 70's and early 80's heyday. The album stumbles as the rest of the tracks try to recapture the sound of Cheap Tricks's 1988 number one hit single The Flame. This compromise or attempt to find a middle ground between power pop and hard rockers hurts the momentum of the album.
Still, the songs that work really work well,and remind us how great this band really is. Tracks like My Gang. Girlfriends , Love Me For A Minute and You’re All I Wanna Do are undiscovered gems. So if you like Cheap Trick ,you owe it to yourself to give Woke Up With A Monster a listen.