Monday, August 14, 2006

Sammy Hagar – Livin’ It Up

Van Halen: The Where Are They Now Extravaganza - Part II

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Sammy Hagar - Livin’ It Up (2006)

Sammy Hagar is slowly but surely encroaching on Jimmy Buffett’s territory. Both are kings of the beach party, both own restaurants or clubs and both hock tequila to the thirsty masses. Hagar even mentions Buffett by name on his new album Livin’ It Up near the end of his song Sailin’.

Come to think of it, have you ever actually seen Jimmy Buffett and Sammy Hagar in the same place at the same time? No? I didn’t think so…interesting. Who knows, they may actually be the same person…kind of like Michael and Latoya.

Anyway…Sammy Hagar is back with his latest album, Livin’ It Up and he finally got it right. There are a few issues, but on the whole Livin’ It Up is a party from start to finish. Since his original departure from Van Halen, his albums have been spotty at best, the only consistency being that they have all contained the good, the bad and the filler.

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This time out, Hagar has managed to put together a consistent album both in feel and theme. The songwriting is probably his best as a solo artist to date and definitely his least “cheesy” since his Van Halen days…Amsterdam not withstanding. The songs all fall into the atmosphere of the Mexican beach party that he has been trying to get across since Cabo Wabo was released on OU812.

Another interesting turn of events it that the former member of Montrose, HSAS and Van Halen openly embraces several aspects of the Country genre on Livin’ It Up including the trademark twang of Pedal Steel guitar on tracks like Halfway To Memphis.

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My biggest problem with Sammy Hagar’s new album is…product placement. Livin’ It Up, while being a really good album, seems at times to be nothing more than a sales pitch for Hagar's Cabo Wabo and Cabo Tahoe resort destinations and his Cabo Wabo brand tequila, as fine as it may, in fact, be. The song Just One Sip could, and most likely will, be the official Cabo Wabo Tequila jingle. Both the tequila and the clubs are mentioned by name more than once on Livin’ It Up which does make his former ode to salt-rimmed glasses, Mas Tequila, seem subtle by comparison.

We live in an advertising age and the boy does have something to sell...I guess his thought was why not sell to a captive audience.

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