Saturday, October 1, 2011

Music Review: “Chickenfoot III” by Chickenfoot


Just when you thought that ‘album rock’ was dead four of the baddest mothers on the planet get together and made a rip your heart out rock n’ roll album. The songwriting, the playing – hell, there are three musicians here who are considered among the best on their instrument of all time – production and recording and, maybe more than anything a feeling of a band, jelled, tight, and in in psychic communication with each other. This might just be the best album any of these guys ever played on.

                     Chickenfoot III

If you don’t know it by now, Chickenfoot is rock singing legend Sammy Hagar, guitar god Joe Satriani, Van Halen bass player Michael Anthony and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer, Chad Smith. That’s right, a super group. But perhaps never before in rock history has a super group been such a cohesive unit. These guys had a huge hit album in 2009 which hit the charts at number three and almost immediately went gold. It contained (if just barely contained) the high-octane hook laden singles “Oh Yeah”, “Sexy Little Thing” and “My Kinda Girl”. From there they embarked on a string of live shows that ended a year later. They proved with that one album that a super group could do more than show case four super star, virtuosos.

During that whirlwind tour, as Hagar put it, “We went from being a weekend fun-time thing to making a record and touring the world. Our learning curve was fast – even for us….We earned everything we got, and along the way, we established a trust in one another that happens rarely in bands.”

So, Chickenfoot set out to make a high minded heart pounding follow up, they did it right with Chickenfoot III. They challenged each other to be even better, and that is exactly what they accomplished. There’s a cohesiveness on this album that demands that it be listened to in its entirety. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of tunes that will no doubt be radio favorites, make great singles, but to really appreciate it, listen to it all the way through.

The band did a Pod cast the week of release (September 27), and here is “Last Temptation” explained:

Chickenfoot Podcast

The album opens with “Last Temptation”, a bluesy ballsy, stadium rocker about a married guy, maybe sitting in a strip club and trying not to do the wrong thing. “Alright, Alright” “Big Foot” and “Lighten Up” are other examples of their earth quaking, riff driven monstrous rock anthems.

“Up Next” is another of the albums bone crushers, but with a spiritual undertone. Just after the band went into the studio, Hagar’s longtime manager and friend, John Carter, or simply Carter was diagnosed with cancer. Hagar was shaken. When Carter died, Hagar penned “Up Next”. This tune just mounts an aural assault that packs the force of an atom bomb, and Satriani lays down a mind bending guitar solo that more than cements his reputation as the king shredder. Hagar’s lyrics are a satirical twist on facing mortality. Picture standing at the gates of heaven, like waiting in line at a burger joint, and the kid yells, “Up Next”.

There’s also biting sarcasm and social commentary. “Three and a Half Letters” which should be known simply as “I need a job” (which is the chorus). This is a talking/rapping soul gouging cry for help in todays economy. The subject matter covers returning vets that can’t find work, kids with kids that might have a degree, but can’t find a job. Maybe my favorite tune on the album, and Satriani tears it up again.

Chickenfoot “Three and a Half Letters”

There are  great rock ballads, “Come Closer”, Country dipped pop, “Different Devil, and in your face classic-rock, “Dubai Blues”. it even finishes up with homage to Delta Blues with “Something Gone Wrong” rounding out a rock album that proves that album rock isn’t dead. Makes you want to go get the first two albums, doesn’t it? Well, give it up, Chickenfoot III is only the second Chickenfoot album. When you are this good you can get away with that.


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Copyright © 2011 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

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