Cheap Trick, ‘The Latest’ (Cheap Trick Unlimited)
With a knack for unforgettable hitmaking (“Surrender”) and a weakness for song-doctor capitulation (“The Flame”), these iconic smartasses have always seduced and subverted, remaking the mainstream while wallowing in it. Not for nothing did Kurt Cobain dub Nirvana the Cheap Trick of their day. And from its winking title on down, The Latest earns that praise, as the band gamely surfs Beatles-besotted power pop (“Miracle”) and arena-rock Bic-flickers (“Alive”). Even the power ballad “Smile” is a welcome gloopy respite, allowing the album’s gems to shine even brighter.