Cheap Trick – Dream Police —-Powerpop Friday

Cheap Trick…unlike some of their power-pop brethren had staying power. They toured like crazy and released some great music. They are still out there today playing. I became a fan of them when I heard Surrender.

“Dream Police” dates back to 1976. It was one of 22 songs the band had written for their first album, and it didn’t make the cut. The song evolved as they played it live and refined it in the studio, and it was released as the title track of their fourth studio album. By this time, their live album At Budokan had been released, breaking them big with the single “I Want You To Want Me.”

The next single was “Dream Police,” and it became one of their most popular songs, peaking at #26 in the Billboard 100, #9 in Canada, #7 in New Zealand.

From Songfacts

This song is about a paranoid man who is convinced that his dreams are being monitored, and it’s driving him insane. No matter what he does, the “Dream Police” are always inside his head and waiting to arrest him.

Unlike the paranoia of, say, Black Sabbath, this song has a comedic element. Like most Cheap Trick songs, it was written by their guitarist Rick Nielsen, who creates lots of offbeat characters for his compositions, which keeps it in good fun.

A string section played on this track, which added an element of horror – those violin stabs are reminiscent of what we hear during the shower scene in the movie Psycho. When the song was developing, those parts were done with a keyboard arpeggiator as heard in “Surrender,” but when they got the budget, they hired the strings.

Cheap Trick was always big on visual presentation and were one of very few American bands making concept videos before MTV (Devo was another). The “Dream Police” video was directed by Arnold Levine and starts with a vignette showing each band member in an interrogation, answering to the Dream Police (Bun E. Carlos says: “I’ll never eat another double cheeseburger before bed”). Later in the clip, each member is shown with his alter ego who keeps watch.

When MTV went on the air in 1981, this song was almost two years old, but they played it anyway, giving it renewed exposure.

Dream Police

The dream police
They live inside of my head
The dream police
They come to me in my bed
The dream police
They’re coming to arrest me
Oh no

You know that talk is cheap
And rumors ain’t nice
And when I fall asleep
I don’t think I’ll survive

The night the night

‘Cause they’re waiting for me
Looking for me
Every single night
(They’re) driving me insane
Those men inside my brain

The dream police
They live inside of my head
The dream police
They come to me in my bed

The dream police
They’re coming to arrest me
Oh no

Well I can’t tell lies
‘Cause they’re listening to me
And when I fall asleep
Bet they’re spying on me tonight,
Tonight

‘Cause they’re waiting for me
Looking for me
Every single night
(They’re) driving me insane
Those men inside my brain

I try to sleep
They’re wide awake
They won’t let me alone
They don’t get paid to take vacations
Or let me alone
They spy on me
I try to hide
They won’t let me alone
They persecute me
They’re the judge and jury all in one

‘Cause they’re waiting for me
Looking for me
Every single night
(They’re) driving me insane
Those men inside my brain

The dream police
They live inside of my head
The dream police they come
To me in my bed

The dream police
They’re coming to arrest me

The dream police (police, police)
The dream police (police, police)

Cheap Trick – She’s Tight —-Powerpop Friday

We had fun with this song in high school. I’m surprised it only peaked at #65 in 1982 because it got a lot of airplay and MTV exposure. The song was on the album One On One and it peaked at #39 in the Billboard Album chart in 1982. I liked the album and it had my favorite Cheap Trick song…If You Want My Love.

Cheap Trick does what Cheap Trick does best in this song. They give us a great edge with the guitar with Beatles type harmonies. The song was written by Rick Nielson as were most of their songs. I only got to see them in concert once but it was worth it. They didn’t take themselves seriously and had a good time as did everyone else.

She’s Tight

When I’m down I make a call.
Got the number written on the wall.
First it’s busy then I try again.
Oh, who’s she talking to, could it be him?

I got the number and it starts to ring.
I get excited and I start to dream.
I start to fantasize of memory lane.
Then she answers and she says right way.
She says I’m home on my own, home all alone.
So I got off the phone.

(She’s tight.) She’s ahead of her time.
(She’s tight.) She’s one of a kind.
(She’s tight.) She’s a talented girl.
(She’s tight.) She’s got her head down tight.

I have something got to say to you.
Amnesia and my train of thought.
On the tip, tip of my tongue.
I had a vision when I was young.

You floated in, we floated up.
Through the window and down the hall.
I had a smoke and went upstairs.
Turned the door and opened the key. She spoke…
I’m on my own, home all alone.
So I got off the phone.

(She’s tight.) She’s ahead of her time.
(She’s tight.) She’s one of a kind.
(She’s tight.) She’s a talented girl.
(She’s tight.) She’s got her head down tight.

(She’s tight.) She’s giving me the go.
(She’s tight.) She’s giving me the high sign.
(She’s tight.) We’ll turn off the lights.
(She’s tight.) Pull down the shades.
(She’s nice, she’s tight.) Turn on the cam’ra.
(She’s nice, she’s tight.) And getting ready for action.

Turn off the radio.
Turn on the video.

Cheap Trick – I Want You To Want Me —Powerpop Friday

I Want You To Want me is when I first started to notice Cheap Trick…the version off of the Cheap Trick At Budokon album

The song was included on their second album In Color, which was released later in 1977. This version had a medium tempo with a country feel and a honky-tonk piano throughout the song.

By 1978, the band had dropped this song from their setlist but restored it when they toured Japan that year since Japanese audiences loved the song. They played it on April 28 and 30 at their famous concerts that took place at the Budokan temple in Tokyo, which was a big deal because many Japanese citizens felt the temple was sacred and not appropriate for rock concerts. When the Beatles played at Budokan their were protests a decade before.

The song peaked at #7 on the Billboard 100 in 1979.

 

From Songfacts

This song has a long and intriguing history. It was written by Cheap Trick’s guitarist Rick Nielsen and recorded for their 1977 self-titled debut album, but it didn’t make the cut. 

 The concerts were released as the Live At Budokan album, which captured Cheap Trick’s live energy and turned their fortunes around in America, where the album was released in February 1979 and sold over 3 million copies. The extracted “I Want You To Want Me” became their first hit, charting at #7.

According to Rick Nielsen, the band considered this “sort of hokey pop” when they first recorded it, and the arrangement matched that sentiment, with finger snaps and a plaintive country feel. Robin Zander played up the schmaltz in the vocal, sounding like a woebegone cornpoke. This studio version fell flat, but when they played it as an earnest rocker, it worked.

The famous At Budokan version of this song was inspired by a French cover version (“J’attends Toutes les Nuits”) by a fairly obscure French synthpop artist named Niko Flynn, who sped up the tempo and put a beat to the song.

Many early Cheap Trick songs written by Rick Nielsen are from the perspective of characters who are a little unhinged (see: “Dream Police”), and the band played that up with their eccentric fashions and accessories. The guy in this song is a bit desperate and delusional, figuring a shoeshine and a new shirt will make the girl love him.

This is one of the few rock songs that starts with the chorus.

In 1978, this appeared as the B-side of Cheap Trick’s single “California Man.”

In 1997, the group recorded a new version of the In Color album (complete with this song), with producer Steve Albini, but it was never released.

The studio version

The live version

I Want You To Want Me

I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I’d love you to love me
I’m beggin’ you to beg me
I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I’d love you to love me

I’ll shine up my old brown shoes
I’ll put on a brand new shirt
I’ll get home early from work
If you say that you love me
Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I
See you cryin’ (cryin, cryin’)
Oh, Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I
See you cryin’ (cryin, cryin’)
Feelin’ all alone without a friend
You know you feel like dyin’ (dyin’, dyin’)
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I
See you cryin’ (cryin’, cryin’)

I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I’d love you to love me
I’m beggin’ you to beg me

I’ll shine up my old brown shoes
I’ll put on a brand new shirt
I’ll get home early from work
If you say that you love me
Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I
See you cryin’ (cryin, cryin’)
Oh, Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I
See you cryin’ (cryin, cryin’)
Feelin’ all alone without a friend
You know you feel like dyin’ (dyin’, dyin’)
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I
See you cryin’ (cryin’, cryin’)

Feelin’ all alone without a friend
You know you feel like dyin’ (dyin’, dyin’)
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I
See you cryin’ (cryin’, cryin’)
Feelin’ all alone without a friend
You know you feel like dyin’ (dyin’, dyin’)
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I
See you cryin’ (cryin’, cryin’)

I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I’d love you to love me
I’m beggin’ you to beg me

Cheap Trick – Voices

One of my top Cheap Trick songs. Robin Zanders voice sounds great in this Beatle-esque song.

This song peaked at #32 on the Billboard 100 and #12 in Canada in 1980. The song was on the Dream Police album that peaked at #6 in 1979 in the Billboard album chart. Voices was written by Rick Nielsen.

Rick Neilsen on Voices: We started off with the chorus as opposed to building up to the chorus. Because it’s like you know “Voices,” okay, and that’s the same thing with “Dream Police,” you know, you hear voices in your head or somebody’s just messing with your brain and hears voices. You hear something, it’s like you didn’t know what you were listening for until you heard the voices. Somebody, your mind’s eye, has some talking to do to you.

From Songfacts

Long before their earnest #1 hit “The Flame,” Cheap Trick released another ballad: “Voices.” It’s a love song of sorts:

I fell in love with you again
Please, can I see you every day?

Except that it’s coming from inside his own head. “You hear voices in your head or somebody’s just messing with your brain and hears voices,” the song’s writer, guitarist Rick Nielsen, told The A/V Club. “You hear something, it’s like you didn’t know what you were listening for until you heard the voices. Somebody, your mind’s eye, has some talking to do to you.”

The “title track of the album,” has a similar theme, with the singer dealing with someone else inside his head. Both songs also use a string section.

Arnold Levine directed the video for this song, which was done on the same shoot for the “Dream Police” clip.

Voices

You didn’t know what you were lookin’ for
Til you heard the voices in your ear

Hey, it’s me again
Plain to see again
Please can I see you every day

I’m a fool again
I fell in love with you again
Please can I see you every day

You didn’t know what you were lookin’ for
Til you heard the voices in your ear
You didn’t know what you were lookin’ for
Til you heard the voices in your ear

Words don’t come out right
I try to say it oh so right
I hope you understand my meaning

Hey, it’s me again
I’m so in love with you again
Please can I see you every day

You didn’t know what you were lookin’ for
Til you heard the voices in your ear
You didn’t know what you were lookin’ for
Til you heard the voices in your ear

I remember every word you said
(Word you said)
I remember voices in my head
(In my head)
I remember ever word you said
(Word you said)

I heard your voice-it
Your voice is-cool voices
Warm voices
Just what I needed, too
Words don’t seem right
But its
Cool voices-warm voices
Your voice is
Just what I needed for
Love is the word-it’s
Warm voices-your voice is
Cool voices
Just what I needed, too
I heard your voice-it was
Your voice is-cool voices
Warm voices

Just what I needed, too
Just what I needed, too
Just what I needed, too

Cheap Trick – If You Want My Love

A great Cheap Trick song. In 1982 it was released off the album “One on One” and peaked at #45 on the Billboard 100 and #57 on the UK Charts. That surprised me somewhat because it received heavy airplay on MTV when they actually played music videos.

When I heard the bridge of this song I heard the strong Beatle influence. Cheap Trick was one of the hardest working bands ever…they toured relentlessly.

If You Want My Love

If you want my love, you got it
When you need my love, you got it
I won’t hide it
I won’t throw your love away, ooh

If you want my love, you got it
When you need my love, you got it
I won’t hide it
I won’t throw your love away, ooh

Yes, I thought you were a mystery girl
A special girl in this crazy old world
You couldn’t see me when I laid eyes on you

Lonely is only a place
You don’t know what it’s like
You can’t fight it
And it’s a hole in my heart, in my heart

If you want my love, you got it
When you need my love, you got it
I won’t hide it
I won’t throw your love away, ooh

You hold the secrets of love in this world
I’m hypnotized by your every word
A special face, a special voice, a special smile in my life

‘Cause lonely is only a place
You don’t know what it’s like
You can’t fight it
And it’s a hole in my heart, in my heart

If you want my love, you got it
When you need my love, you got it
I won’t hide it
I won’t throw your love away, ooh

If you want my love, you got it
When you need my love, you got it
I won’t hide it
I won’t throw your love away, ooh

If you want my love, you got it
When you need my love, you got it
You won’t hide it
You won’t throw your love away, ooh