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.