Cheap Trick – The Flame

First Hit #1: July 9, 1988

If there’s one theme developing in 1988, it’s bands famous for more exciting sounds suddenly making really slow, spare ballads. This continues with The Flame, which is a big hit for Cheap Trick, a band whose best songs are quick, fun power pop. Instead, we get a slow love song, but it is a pretty good one. It has some lovely guitar solos, some sincere and heartfelt lyrics – unexpected, from a band which is quite well known for its humor – and a generally pretty solid bit of balladry. It’s almost to the level of Debbie Gibson’s hit the other day, the full bore obsession over someone gone, but it’s actually got a maturity that Gibson lacks, and it sounds almost like the death of a partner rather than a mere breakup in the chorus. Still the chorus is the main part, and what people remember, and it probably got this song played at weddings. Overall, it’s a nice ballad from an unexpected source.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I feel the need to listen to Dream Police.

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One Response to Cheap Trick – The Flame

  1. RBerman says:

    Many popular rock bands manage to squeeze out a ballad or two at the end of their vital career before heading off down the road to Classicrockland. Aerosmith’s death-knell was a Diane Warren song (“Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”). Elton John hasn’t had a great upbeat song since the early 80s. Here, eleven years after their peppy “I Want You to Want Me,” and two years after ending the movie Top Gun with “Mighty Wings,” Cheap Trick delivers their capstone ballad, a torch song about the flame on the torch.

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