Hai Hai

Roger Hodgson

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Hai Hai Review

by Aaron Badgley

With this release,Hodgson dove head first into the '80s sound, both with production and instruments. Gone was the music of Supertramp(long, drawn-out prog/art rock pieces), and in its place, '80s dance-pop, not unlikeWang Chung. Hodgson wanted to leave the past behind him, and with the help of top session players (including drummer Jeff Porcaro), he seemed to want to branch out and experiment with other forms of music, such as reggae, pop, dance, and synth pop. The problem is that for the most part, it did not work. The songs lack the melodies that he is capable of writing, and the lyrics are at times juvenile and embarrassing (for example "Who's Afraid," or "My Magazine"). He may have had the best intentions, and he may have been trying to say something, but the poetry reads like a bored high school student wrote them. And while he hints at experimentation with other forms of music, he does not go far enough. For example, the listener is left with the small flavor of reggae without the structure or commitment to go all the way with the sound. The brief shining moments harken back to the Supertramp days, including a song he wrote with fellow Supertramp member Rick Davies in 1974 (the highlight of the album, the brilliant and moving "Land Ho"). He relies way too much on technology, and the music comes off as sounding cold and distant. What could have been beautiful melodies are lost in the heavy electro beat production and arrangements. For such a talented artist, this album is a big disappointment.

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