Authorized Greatest Hits
A yeasty mix of glam-boys and goofballs, Cheap Trick turned their eccentricities into big success in the late ‘70s. The extremes of the quartet were defined by guitar geek Rick Nielsen and hunky vocalist Robin Zander. Authorized Greatest Hits improves upon earlier best-of packages by combining familiar singles with live cuts and the band’s theme song for That ‘70s Show. At their finest, these Tricksters toss off hard-pop confections that mix sweetness with a sarcastic aftertaste. “I Want You to Want Me,” “Surrender,” and “Southern Girls” haven’t lost their snap and sizzle with time. The band’s late ‘70s/early ‘80s output gets a bit dicey, with New Wave keyboard influences blunting the guitar attack on “Dream Police,” “Tonight It’s You” and other tracks. Even so, Zander retains his brash, insinuating edge on “She’s Tight” and “Can’t Stop Fallin’ in Love,” prodded on by Bun E. Carlos’ deadpan drumming. “The Flame” — included here as a live track — is a credible power ballad that’s either a creative stretch or a blatant sellout (depending upon your taste). Cheap Trick couldn’t quite sustain the impact of their early releases, but as this collection shows, they never lost their lovable, zany charm.