Sammy Hagar

Cosmic Universal Fashion

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Sammy Hagar took it easy on 2006's Livin' It Up! -- maybe a bit too easy, styling himself after Jimmy Buffett's beach bongo, keeping things at a slow-rolling boil. It was a strangely appealing switch-up but it's not a big surprise that the Red Rocker returns to roaring guitars on its 2008 follow-up, Cosmic Universal Fashion. Here Sammy chases after his faded adolescence through the rose-tinted "Loud" and a cover of the Beastie Boys' "Fight for Your Right to Party," while bitching about fuddy-duddy fathers on "Switch on the Light." The electronic bluster of the opening title track shows that Sammy is at least trying to live in the moment instead of always leaning on the past, however, and although the slick "I'm on a Roll" threatens to boogie right off the tracks, at least it feels more age-appropriate. This is all relative, of course, as this is the guy who's still churning out grunge songs like "Peephole" when he wants to seem modern, which helps make the Little Feat-flavored blues "When the Sun Don't Shine" -- the song closest to Livin' It Up! -- easily the standout here. "When the Sun Don't Shine" is so effortlessly charming, it suggests that this is the road Sammy should travel these days.

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