Sammy Hagar- Cosmic Universal Fashion

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Saturday, January 17, 2009

Former Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar may be in his early 60’s, but this hasn’t kept him from continuing his very successful solo career. Since 1976 Hagar has been releasing full length albums on a fairly regular basis and is now on his sixteenth full length, Cosmic Universal Fashion. But unfortunately, though he has had some great solo releases over the year Cosmic Universal Fashion isn’t one of them. There are some competent songs on this album, but as a whole the album tends to carelessly jump from one style to the other and just feels like it never reaches its full potential.

Listeners will immediately be thrown off guard when the album starts, as the first song (which shares its name with the album) is an attempt at catchy techno influenced rock that seems to be a strange fit for Hagar’s singing style. From there the album moves into some great hard rock songs, as both “Psycho Vertigo” and “Peephole” feature riffs that are very catchy and that have a heavy Van Halen/Led Zeppelin influence. Unfortunately, while it would have worked out quite nicely if Hagar had continued to explore these two styles, the album also moves into pop rock and country rock territory as well. By trying to branch out into as many genres as possible on one album, Sammy Hagar hasn’t focused enough on one individual style and as a result the songs on Cosmic Universal Fashion aren’t as strong as they could be.

Sammy Hagar’s voice sounds as though it has not suffered at all despite the fact that he is no longer the young singer that he once was. His voice still has tons of energy and attitude, something that other rock singers his age can’t say about their own performances. In this regard, many of the songs in this album feature great vocal performances, but the one exception to this would have to be Hagar’s cover of “Fight For Your Right To Party”. I’m not sure why, but when he tackles this classic Beastie Boys song his voice becomes extremely gruff and grating to listen to. The instrumentals are spot on, but his delivery just doesn’t fit which is unfortunate. But aside from that misstep, Hagar still proves that he still has what it takes to be a noteworthy hard rock vocalist.

Cosmic Universal Fashion has some notable moments, but there are just too many mediocre songs to make it worth picking up for anyone that isn’t a diehard Sammy Hagar fan. Hagar has led a successful solo career for years, but this release shows that not every idea he has is the best. It also shows that Hagar works best as a hard rock artist, as his attempt to branch out into other sub-genres of rock on this disc have been average at best.

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