Special One (Big 3 Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Cheap Trick's Special One finds one of the world's greatest power pop bands treading water and recording to collect a paycheck. Labored, over produced, and, at times, skating by on history, Cheap Trick is going through the motions - and they don't seem to care.
Special One offers up what you'd expect from Cheap Trick. There are sharp hooks, plenty of meat from the rhythm section, and Robin Zander's soaring lead vocals. The melodies shimmer and sparkle, and on the surface, the candy coating seems undeniably delicious.
However, the aftertaste, unlike the band's historic body of work, is what hurts here. The record lacks staying power, is void of substance, and, as I said, just seems to skate by without realizing it is flapping its arms to not drown.
You can relax, though, as Special One is far from one of Cheap Trick's worst records. It is still a solid pop record, not just a solid Cheap Trick pop record. Put a new name and face on this and you might go, "Hey, a few of these songs remind me of Cheap Trick's better days", but knowing who it is erases any of those thoughts.
They still have talent. They still have energy. And they still have some vitality left. They just need to tap into that vitality and get their drive back. Don't count them out - yet. But, don't also come running to Special One looking for a pop gem.
It also includes a bonus DVD disc for the fan and novice.
I'll give it a C.