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**** <i> Great Balls of Fire</i> *** <i> Good Vibrations</i> ** <i> Maybe Baby</i> * <i> Running on Empty </i> : SAMMY OUTCLASSED

* “SAMMY HAGAR.” Sammy Hagar. Geffen. Hagar has certainly hired good people for this record, even if it’s cost him part of the spotlight. The most artistic thing here is the cover photography by Annie Leibovitz, and Sammy’s even outclassed by the bass player--some guy named Edward Van Halen.

Despite the presence of such luminaries, this is pretty much a standard Hagar LP, though slightly leaner musically. This means there’s the usual assortment of burnished noggin-rattlers, reflective pieces and blues forays. As a lyricist, Hagar remains clumsy and mucho macho : “Boys’ Night Out” is an ode to oafish male behavior, while “Back Into You” is an account of a jerk who fled a relationship but has been magnanimous enough to return. There’s also another Hagar highway song, “Privacy,” that’s not quite as stoopid as “I Can’t Drive 55.” In “What They Gonna Say Now,” Sammy dismisses his critics and the media, and dispenses incisive political commentary: “Two terms in a row / The Democrats have lost.” An unintentionally hilarious way to close out the album.


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