Red Voodoo

Sammy Hagar

MCA Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Alfredo Narvaez


One listen to Sammy Hagar's new album and you can clearly tell that the former Van Halen vocalist has left behind the ghost of his unexpected departure from that band. And, while Marching To Mars explored his sentiments and feelings on that ousting/leaving, Red Voodoo does a complete 180 degree turn and focuses on partying and having fun. In many ways, this album could be considered the perfect spring break album. (Course, that's not me saying it, it's the great Drake and Zeke from Rock 103 who said it).

The album starts with the infectious "Mas Tequila." While this could be seen as selfish advertisement for his new tequila business, the truth is that the song is very catchy. This catchy, party feel is continued through songs like "Shag" (yep, there's the year's Austin Powers reference for you) and "High And Dry Again." In fact, the album has this vibe - like it was written over a bunch of tequila out somewhere in Cabo.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Since this IS Sammy Hagar, you can also expect some ballads and self-righteous songs. "Returning Of The Wish" and "Lay Your Hand On Me" fulfill the ballad requirements very nicely. These are the kind of songs that Hagar has done so well - especially with help of co-producer/keyboardist Jesse Harms. As for the righteous songs, you have "Sympathy For The Human." This song is quickly turning out to be my favorite of the entire album. The lyrics - while not deep - tend to be honest. (There's even some of the "whoo-hoos" made famous by that other "Sympathy" song). And it does something rare - it rocks.

One thing that does catch you is that the entire album is filled with such spontaneity. This is probably due to the almost live recording feel that the album has. Again, this sounds just like it was recorded out in some beach-front bar, in front of a mob of drunk frat guys and girls. While that may mean the album isn't as deep and troubled as other albums, it does guarantee one thing - fun.

In fact, as much credit should be given to the back-up band - The Waboritas - as it goes to Hagar. Bassist Mona, guitarist Vic Johnson, keyboardist Jesse Harms and drummer David Lauser all bring a lot to the band and are responsible for the vibe. In fact, though it does say it's Hagar's album on top, you get the feeling that this album was worked on by all band members.

I find it both amazing and amusing that within the last year both of Van Halen's former lead singers have come out with solo efforts that are more exciting and fun than even the "mighty VH"'s efforts. Though this album won't win Grammies or even be recognized by critics - in fact, it's likely that most critics will dismiss it - Red Voodoo is probably the best summer album that has come out so far. Now, someone pass Jose!

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 1999 Alfredo Narvaez and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of MCA Records, and is used for informational purposes only.