Rockford (album)

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Rockford
Studio album by Cheap Trick
Released June 6, 2006
Recorded 2004–2005 in Rockford, Illinois
Genre Rock and roll, hard rock, power pop
Length 41:13
Label Big3 Records
Producer Cheap Trick ("Perfect Stranger" by Linda Perry),
Co-producers: Jim "Pinky Beeman, Julian Raymond, Jack Douglas, Steve Albini, Chris Shaw
Cheap Trick chronology
Special One
(2003)
Rockford
(2006)
The Latest
(2009)

Rockford is the fifteenth studio album by Cheap Trick, released on June 6, 2006. The album's title refers to Rockford, Illinois, the band's hometown.

Background[edit]

With the band's 2003 album Special One, which was Cheap Trick's first studio album in six years, the band released the album under Big3 Entertainment, alongside their own label Cheap Trick Unlimited. In June 2006, Cheap Trick released Rockford on through Big3 Records. The first single from the album was "Perfect Stranger" (produced by Linda Perry and co-written by Cheap Trick and Perry). The following singles "Come On, Come On, Come On" and "If It Takes a Lifetime" were released shortly after. The band promoted the album through appearances on the Sirius and XM satellite radio networks and a North American tour. There was one animated video shot for the song "Welcome to the World." The album was not a major commercial success, like the band's last several studio albums, however it did peak at #101 on The Billboard 200 Chart. It also reached #84 on the Japan Album Chart.[1] The album cover was used for Rockford's vehicle registration stickers in 2007. This was honored by officials of Rockford to the band.[2]

For Classic Rock Revisited, Rick Nielsen was interviewed by Martin Popoff at the time of the album's release, with the article title "The Rockford Files". One question asked by Popoff was about the contrast between the assembly of the last two studio albums. Nielsen stated "Well, this one wasn't done like, you know, we're going to make an album. We didn't sit down and block off one month in one place. We did it over a year. We mixed it all at one time, but we recorded it... well, just look at the credits: L.A., New York, Boston, Rockford Chicago, Nashville, Florida. So that's really it. I think the longest we were in one spot was maybe a week. We travel all the time, so we're already traveling. We say, let's try out this studio; if we've got extra time available, and our gear is here, let's do it. That way we're kind of on the road. And it's not like, if you get stuck, and something is not working, you're sitting there for a month trying to figure out something. You decide, well, that's good enough. But this way we get to let the songs breathe a bit. There was good stuff we left off. It's not like we took only the best. Of course, good stuff, but there's some other stuff that is equal or better than some of the things that are on there that was left off because, well, I don't want to put it out until it's finished. Robin's got one great song we took off. But he was uncomfortable with it. Hey, you've got to respect that. I chose to have it on, but he decided to leave it off. Being a songwriter, I know when something is missing and you don't like it. And if you settle; you're mad forever, because it's on an album."[3]

When asked about certain songs, Nielsen revealed that the opening track "Welcome to the World" is "Hello There" from the band's 1977 album In Color, but with a different rhythm. The guitar solo section is noted as having an ascending sequence, which is similar to the sequence of the 1979 track "Dream Police". He added "It's not something that is new. We play 1-2-3-4, start over. We do that most of the time." "Come On, Come On, Come On" was lyrically redone by Zander, who took it in a different direction. Neilsen added "It was a great instrumental basic track, and certain tracks, you can go one way or you can go completely another way. But you know, we work together, so it's not like, this is my idea or your idea - who cares?" He described "One More" as a song for "every addict of everything", adding "I need one more day or one more hour, give me another cigarette, give me one more drink, dope, sex, whatever. I think the chorus is kind of cool. All I need is one more this, one more that, sunshine, not the sunshine of your love, but it could be that. The sunshine of what the thing does for you, the obsession or whatever. "One More" was cool and fun to do - that's me doing that high voice. You know, it's not really tough once you do it. There's a lot of little details to that song." "Dream the Night Away" originally stemmed as an idea from Tom Petersson. With "Decaf", Neilsen revealed the lyrical meaning; "Well, don't get too wound up. "Hey buddy, take some decaf."[4]

"O' Claire" bares a similar title to the 1978 album track "Oh Claire" from the Heaven Tonight album. Nielsen revealed that it was a song he wrote a long time ago and had always wanted to finish it. Nielsen performed the intro vocals, to which he joked "It's tough, I had to do it 5000 times to make it sound that bad; Robin could do it in two seconds. But it's the emotion of... you know "The World's Greatest Lover," with me singing? I'm nowhere near as good a singer as Robin, but I just have a different emotion to it. If we did all the harmonies with him singing all the background harmonies, like other bands do, it wouldn't sound like a real band. They get me because it sounds kind of crummy. It makes the stuff sound more believable or something. It's kind of old-fashioned. I always say like, even the toughest guys you see - when they're with a girl, the girlfriend, they're all sissies just like we are. So you know, that emotion, I don't mind doing a song that sounds old-fashioned, because we're all kind of old-fashioned. When Robin came and did the chorus, and the song really just built up to what I had envisioned. We tried it through the years; it was never right and we finally got it. That was the only song that was kind of old [on the album]."[5]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Welcome to the World"   Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander, Tom Petersson, Bun E. Carlos 2:06
2. "Perfect Stranger"   Linda Perry, Nielsen, Zander, Petersson, Carlos 3:41
3. "If It Takes a Lifetime"   Nielsen, Zander, Petersson, Carlos, Julian Raymond 4:22
4. "Come On Come On Come On"   Nielsen, Zander, Petersson, Carlos 3:03
5. "O Claire"   Nielsen, Zander, Petersson, Carlos 3:43
6. "This Time You Got It"   Nielsen, Zander, Petersson, Carlos 4:01
7. "Give It Away"   Nielsen, Zander, Petersson, Carlos 2:48
8. "One More"   Nielsen, Zander, Petersson, Carlos 3:50
9. "Every Night and Every Day"   Nielsen, Zander, Petersson, Carlos 3:12
10. "Dream the Night Away"   Nielsen, Zander, Petersson, Carlos, Bill Lloyd 3:14
11. "All Those Years"   Nielsen, Zander, Petersson, Carlos, Raymond 3:35
12. "Decaf"   Nielsen, Zander, Petersson, Carlos 3:38
Japanese Version
No. Title Lyrics Length
13. "Mando Ragga" (Instrumental) Nielsen, Zander, Petersson, Carlos  

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[6]
Audio Video Revolution favorable[7]
Entertainment Weekly B[8]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[9]
The Phoenix favorable[10]
PopMatters 8/10 stars[11]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[12]
Sea of Tranquility 4/5 stars[13]
Toledo Blade favorable[14]

The album was praised by both fans and critics, considering it a return to form for Cheap Trick. Rolling Stone magazine even declared Rockford one of the best rock albums of 2006.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic noted "Cheap Trick's recorded work has been so inconsistent for so long, bouncing back and forth between belabored attempts to reach radio and self-conscious returns to their classic early work, it's kind of a shock to discover that 2006's Rockford is a good, solid Cheap Trick record. Scratch that - it's a very, very good Cheap Trick record, glistening with Beatlesque harmonies, sugary hooks and snarling guitars, and built on a set of songs that emphasize their strengths without seeming fussy or formulaic. They also don't seem tired or juvenile, either, nor do the band try to rock too hard or heavy. It winds up as Cheap Trick's first genuine power pop album since their heyday, and their best album since "Dream Police". After all these years and all those uneven albums, it's a bit of a surprise to have the band deliver an album this good completely out of the blue but it's better to finally get a very, very good Cheap Trick record unexpectedly, some 27 years after the last good one, instead of not getting one at all."[15]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2006) Peak
position
Total
weeks
Japan Albums Charts 84 2
U.S. Billboard 200[16] 101 2

Singles[edit]

Outtakes[edit]

  • "Mando Ragga" (Vocal Version)
  • "What's In It For You" (Re-worked and re-recorded as "Alive" for the following album "The Latest")
  • "Every Single Girl" (Instrumental)

These tracks were released on a promotional-only sampler titled Works In Progress in 2005, and the disc also contained alternate/unfinished versions of various album tracks from Rockford.

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]