No rock record collection should exist without Cheap Trick's first three albums. But if you really want a budget (actually not that cheap) sampler, I Want You to Want Me should suffice. Of course the explosive miracle "Surrender"makes an appearance, and "Dream Police" packs almost as brilliant a punch. The tinkly studio original of the title track is a surprise, since the raw and heavy Live at Budokan version put the band on the map. "You Say Jump" was written by -- and then written-off by -- the quartet as being an "I Want You to Want Me" knock-off, but it isn't a bad pop-bit. Same goes for "Younger Girls," one of the few cuts in the band's career wherein supreme vocalist Robin Zander steers the tune rather than guiding loony Rick Nielsen. These album slices from the Rundgren-helmed Next Position Please (this collection's cut-off) are decent, but they can't touch missing '80s masterworks like "Stop This Game" and "I Want Be Man." Luckily, the elegant "If You Want My Love" shines as one of the band's truly great moments, and from the glorious '70s comes the oh-so-cool "Heaven Tonight," which extends the late-night dose-riff moving through "Kashmir." "Big Eyes" combines the "Green Manalishi" with "She's Not There," again proving Cheap Trick's dexterity with infinite influences. This disc should suit the curious, but those persons should just dive into the band's mercurial catalog (the cover photos come from the Doctor, an obnoxious oddball offering often considered the worst Trick album, but none of its song appear here). Each Trick album is a study in production, and honestly, these tracks lose something in the transfer.
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AllMusic Review by Whitney Z. Gomes