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a l b u m r e v i e w s


SAMMY HAGAR
TEN 13

BEYOND RECORDS ADVANCE
Produced by: Hagar & Harms

Released: OCTOBER 24 / Website
Relative: Marching To Mars, Red Voodoo, VH
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 91%

  1. Shaka Doobie
  2. Let Sally Drive
  3. Serious Juju
  4. The Message
  5. Deeper Kind Of Love
  6. A Little Bit More
  7. Ten 13
  8. Protection
  9. 3 In The Middle
  10. The Real Deal
  11. Tropic Of Capricorn

Van Halen: 1, Sammy Hagar: 3. Yes, Sammy's third solo album since his departure from Van Halen and his umpteenth overall.
Sammy has recorded two solo albums prior to this - Marching To Mars was very reflective - a great album, although maybe a little too serious, while Red Voodoo went 110% in the opposite direction and was a little too concerned with partying.
On Ten 13 Sammy not only strikes a perfect balance between the two, he also kicks in with the best production job of the three post VH albums and the best guitar work.
This is a seriously rocking album with most tracks featuring an in your face guitar riff and some great hard rock vocals.
Most importantly, there is some fine more melodic tunes - both ballads and mid tempo anthems that have been missing off the last two records.
And what's more pleasing, some of the closest Van Halen sounding songs since his I Never Said Goodbye album.
Track By Track:
Shaka Doobie leads off in a traditional in your face hard assed guitar rocker with plenty of tongue in cheek lyrics and as usual, an off the wall song title!
The guitar sound is contemporary and mixed right up there. It's a great rocker basically with a pounding rhythm section.
Let Sally Drive features another tough as nails guitar riff and some seriously stretched Sammy vocals. He really lets the mike have it, especially in the choruses. The guitar riff is almost classic AC/DC - you get the vibe! A good hard rocker with a tight production and once again is in your face rock n roll.
Here's where the album strikes that balance I was talking about. Following up a couple of great rockers, Serious Juju heads back to the style of Marching To Mars, with a moody, effects laden modern rocker. The tune isn't quite as in your face, but it still carries a heavily distorted guitar riff. It takes a few listens to get into, but is a classy slightly experimental track.
The album takes another diverse turn with The Message. This song heads back into Van Halen territory. It compares musically to the Balance era and tracks like Right Now with it's piano/synth use. It also touches on Sammy's previous solo history of complex and moody songs. I like this track a lot. It's heavy, lyrically intense and intelligent and offers the perfect balance to the lighter weight numbers.
Deeper Kind Of Love continues the Van Hagar sound/style comparisons, with this happy go lucky pop rocker with a modern edge and a catchy chorus. These are the kind of songs I love from Sammy - pure melodic rock with a great sentiment. And in tune with the rest of the album, even on the mid-tempo songs, the guitar is right up there in the mix.
A Little Bit More continues the serious side of the album. This is one of the best Sammy Hagar ballads in years. Starting as a vocal and guitar only number, it moves to a stripped back semi-acoustic mode and back again. A class pop rock song.
After the serious mid album interlude, it is time to party again. Ten 13 is a tribute to his own birthday, but I can see it being adopted as the hard rock birthday anthem across the world. A great up tempo party rocker.
Protection is back towards the Marching To Mars sound, with this more serious moody mid tempo rock song. The chorus rocks out more with another in your face riff, but lyrically it's great and certainly a darker track.
3 In The Middle is one of the coolest fast paced Sammy rocker's ever. I can't remember Sammy having to many tracks to his credit that match the pace of this track. Maybe Good Enough or Get Up with Halen...The guitar riff wouldn't be out of place as a modern Motley Crue riff, great hard rock and great lyrics that seem to hint back at his recent problems with Van Halen.
The Real Deal is another departure from the general sound of this album. This is a big time blues rocker in the vein of Finish What You Started or Standing At The Same Old Crossroads. Again, great personal honest lyrics and a gruff blues rocker vocal! Very cool.
Tropic Of Capricorn is a perfect way to end the album. This is one of the most melodic Sammy tunes I have heard since Eagles Fly, but in a different sense. The track is a happy acoustic driven pop rock anthem with harmony vocals and a big chorus, all set to a breezy summer feel. Must be that Hawaiian lifestyle! The hidden track following is titled Maui Wowie and is a simple 2 minute ukulele instrumental. A fun and happy note to finish on.
BOTTOM LINE: After two albums that have divided fans opinions with two different feels, Sammy Hagar has replied with his most consistent and most cohesive set of songs since leaving Van Halen.
I still regard his Geffen Records solo albums as my favourite, but this is easily his best work since leaving Van Halen and since those solo days.
An album that pays homage to his past, while exploring the future and moves a step further towards the perfect album.
PRODUCTION: 96% SONGS: 90% VIBE: 90%ATTITUDE: 90%
ESSENTIAL FOR: All long time Sammy Hagar fans and many Van Halen fans.
RECENT DISCOGRAPHY:Marching To Mars . Red Voodoo . Ten 13



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