One of the main reasons that Cheap Trick never achieved the world-straddling success that they should have is because their lyrics were too darkly comic, too snidely cynical and too brilliantly subversive for mass consumption. This is especially true of "Surrender", which is a great example of the off-the-wall subject matter that Nielsen would cram into his impossibly hooky songs in their pre-label days.
The narrator of the song is a teenager who feels that his parents are not cool enough. He describes his mother serving in the WAC, and his father listening to rock and roll music on his KISS records. The chorus, "Mommy's alright, Daddy's alright / They just seem a little weird," is an indication that the narrator does not believe his parents understand him and that they are trying to meddle in his life with their advice.
In the same Blender interview, Nielsen explained that the line about the WACs was actually a reference to a classic Shirelles hit, "Old Maids, Dykes, and Whores". He also revealed that the original lyric for this song actually included the line, "Some Indonesian junk that's going round." This lyrical change was probably too much for rock radio in 1978, but it is an excellent illustration of the snarky humor and cleverness that makes this song so memorable.
Surrender may be a simple, lighthearted song about the generation gap between parents and their kids, but its message is profound and well delivered. The catchy melodies and harmonies will keep you singing along, while the lyrics will keep you thinking long after the last note has faded away.