Monday, December 15, 2014

Rediscovered Albums - Cheap Trick / In Color 'The Steve Albini Sessions'

This is how my brain works.

I was watching Episode 1 of Sonic Highways and they were interviewing Steve Albini.

I immediately thought, "I have never heard the Steve Albini produced version of Cheap Trick's 'In Color'.

When I was a kid my older sister's were in love with Cheap Trick.  They saw them in concert every chance they had.  I was familiar with Dream Police. That is an album I owned myself.  I was also familiar with 'I Want You To Want Me' from Live at Boudakan.  Who wasn't?  But I never officially gave 'In Color' a spin.  I dialed up 'I Want You To Want Me' sucked.  It sounded like a slowed down, safe version recorded in a wet cardboard box. As I listened I listened to a lot of other great music recorded the very same way, watered down and radio safe versions of brilliant power pop.  Songs like 'Clock Strikes 10', 'Southern Girls', and 'C'mon C'mon' just stripped of their edge and emasculated.

You listen, you like it, but you don't love it.  You want to, you see it's potential, but it just falls short.  Cheap Trick felt the same way about Tom Werman's production.  That came up in 1997 while they were in the studio with Steve Albini recording the single 'Baby Talk'.  Albini mentioned that he never liked the production of that album and the band agreed.  What happened next was incredible.  Albini convinced the band to start re-recording that album on their own terms with the songs recorded the way they were meant to be heard.

Albini and the band started work on this but never really finished.  Some songs were missing backing vocals or over dubbing.  Consequently, the album was never released.  Some of the songs were leaked.  A version of 'Hello There' was used for the video game Rock Band 2 in 2008.  In 2010 Rick Nielsen confirmed to Spinner magazine the the re-recording had been completed and would be released in the not so distant future.

Exit the teeny bob versions and enter the hard driving arena versions.  They hit you hard.  Almost like an overcompensation.  They went from driving a Prius to driving a Pagani.  You get the impression that somewhere in between lies the perfect version.  Regardless, the Albini sessions are much closer to the real thing than the original .

After listening to these versions it is almost impossible to listen to the original.  If you haven't given them a listen you can find most of them on Youtube.

I will see you when the needle drops!



  1. I need to watch the Sonic Highways series... Thanks for reminding me :)!


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