Sound — 9
Sound ridiculous? Consider that Trick still boasts its signature lin-eup, vocalist Robin Zander, bassist Tom Petersson, drummer Bun E. Carlos and guitarist Rick Nielsen, all of whom still play as well as ever. The band is still together, apparently, because the guys love playing music. They aren't in the game on some never-ending reunion tour, organized with the goal of milking fans for all they're worth. Most significantly, the band has never stopped making good music. There aren't many classic rock acts (defined as bands who achieved huge commercial success prior to 1980) that can claim one of those things, let alone all of them.
Lyrics — 8
"Perfect Stranger," which was produced and co-written by former 4 Non Blonde Linda Perry, is an excellent choice for a first single. It's classic Trick, full of catchy riffs and bubbling with urgency. "If It Takes a Lifetime" is an exquisite piece of finely crafted pop/rock, reminiscent of Jeff Lynne's best tracks with ELO. "Come On Come On Come On" is a driving rocker that would have fit on Trick's classic '77 album, "In Color." If you need a dose of Beatlesque pop, the type that Tears for Fears mined for platinum, you'll definitely find it on "O Claire" and "This Time You Got It."
Overall Impression — 9
Forget what you think you know about Cheap Trick. Or, perhaps, try to remember what you used to know. The band proves with "Rockford" that it's one of the finest power-pop/rock outfits in history and, arguably, the greatest classic-rock band in the biz today.