Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sammy Hagar - VOA

Today (July 23rd) marks the thirtieth anniversary of VOA, the eighth solo studio album from Sammy Hagar and the last one he did prior to joining Van Halen. The Platinum seller spent thirty-six weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 32.

Side one opens with the lead hit “I Can’t Drive 55”. The song raced up the charts, peaking at number 26 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 9 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. I remember this pounding rocker being a big party favorite; everyone would be bouncing around the crowded dance floor and shouting along with the defiant chorus. Years later, it was ranked at number 100 on VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs.

“Swept Away” has a bit of a progressive rock opening before breaking out into Hagar’s signature guitar-centric, beat-driven sound.

The mid-tempo “Rock Is in My Blood” is next.

“Two Sides of Love”, the second single, topped out at number 38 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 27 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. The mid-tempo tune shows the complexities of navigating a new relationship.

Side two begins with “Dick in the Dirt”, a song about a redneck Romeo named Richie.

The title track “VOA” stands for the Voice of America, the broadcast network of the United States federal government. The up-tempo track serves as a pro-American anthem.

“Don’t Make Me Wait” was the only track on the album that Hagar had assistance in writing; it was co-written with keyboardist Jesse Harms. This ballad is about the strong desire to get married.

“Burnin’ Down the City”, the closing track, was also the B-side to the lead and second single. The song was inspired by the street artists of New York City.

No doubt about it - VOA totally rocks. Sammy Hagar and the band deliver a solid eight track set, perfect in size and duration. I had been very familiar with the hit singles back in the day, and the album-oriented rock stations also would play a number of the deeper cuts as well.

For more reviews featuring music by Sammy Hagar, click here.

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