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Roger Hodgson

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
1 stars Yikes Yikes

1.5 stars tops. As Supertramp was to make a dismal album (Free As A Bird) the following year, Roger Hodgson showed them how to do it, but his former group chose to outdo him in that department and clearly won and lost at the same time. If those two albums had to be merged to make one album, this might not even have been an album of some quality, but it is so plainly clear that they (Rick and Roger) needed each other and more than 20 years later, they still haven't realized it.

Largely forgettable tunes from a man that seemed to be doing this album out of contractual reasons (it was three years since Storm), the inspiration on this album seems absent. More importantly Hodgson had by now given in and produced an album with the typical 80's sonic flaws, like that horrible drumming, courtesy of Porcaro. Haï is an ultra-pop album in the typical 80's mode, even though when considering that atrocious decade's overall output, this album isn't faring all that bad, because much much worse had been released. In the meantime, Hodgson's songwriting is now a far cry from his 70's heydays, it's no use to look for something coming up to the heel-height of a Hide in Your Shell or a Child of Vision. Just average pop tunes that even him don't seem to really believe in, but it could be the fault of the era's mediocrity. Some tracks are even reminiscent of tad less atrocious Duran Duran, like the no-less ambiguously named Haï Haï. The rock-bottom of Roger's career must be that awful Land Ho, again a try at these wanker melodies he's given us to stuff ourselves with.

By the end of the album (if you ever manage to reach it), you'll no doubt be suffering of ear damage, and in case your eardrums survived the torture, no doubt you sanity hasn't. Indeed, if there were still some good tracks on the Eye of The Storm, in this one, you can scrape up and come up with next to nothing interesting from the proghead's point of view. But in this second round matchup, when both factions came out with half-baked efforts, Roger's seems a tad less awful, and if one day, he was to re-record the album without those 80's crap flaws, no wonder Haï would get better recognition. In the meantime, Roger evened the score, the damage was now done, but at least Rick's shadow was gone by now.

Report this review (#26027)
Posted Friday, February 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars One or two songs shine like ' You make me love you' and ' Hai Hai'. The rest is awful. You have been warned. Maybe Roger Hodgson felt the freedom of leaving Supertramp and the personality clashes with Rick Davies were too much but he must look back on his Supertramp years with a lot of pride. Why did it go quite so wrong?
Report this review (#26029)
Posted Thursday, August 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars I cannot believe my ears when I hear this. Support when Roger Hodgson was with Supertramp, it made the nice progressive model of rock of art in the music. In Hai Hai, it is like a group of music of baby with hello hello the whoopies! Not one of these songs could probably be considered in the kingdom of the progressive music, nor it intellectually stimulates all the models of brain in my small head. The first album solo of Roger was well better, framing between the noise and the progressive rock of art. I would recommend ventilators of interest to buy this album and not this one.

Collectors and the ventilators could be interested if you can find it, but in general, it is a release so weak which I think that it should only go to the completionists to obtain this. You will quietly be disappointed and to feel like stuffing your potatoes inside a biscuit box. I can only assign it that one hold the first role.

Report this review (#78350)
Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
1 stars No No!

Having given us the excellent "In the eye of the storm" as his debut solo offering, hopes were high that the follow up would be another fine post-Supertramp album. Hodgson had been instrumental in guiding Supertramp to some fine progressive rock moments, and these had continued on that first album.

Unfortunately, with "Hai Hai", he lost the plot completely and came up with a thoroughly disappointing album. Hodgson himself now admits that when the album was released he was "very confused and disconnected from the music industry". He took well meaning, but ultimately misguided, advice from his record company and manager to attempt to create another hit single, in the hope of re-establishing him as a major solo artist.

Hodgson also cites the use of high profile session musicians, who quickly inflated the cost of making the album, as having a detrimental effect. He later said that those musicians imposed their personalities on the recording, to the virtual exclusion of his own. Even Roger now says he does not like the album.

So what is it which makes "Hai Hai" so disappointing? Well, it was recorded at Hodgson's studios in California, but the first single to be taken from it ("London") by Roger's own admission reflected his "yearning for England". The 10 songs are all single length, with little development, and basic instrumentation. All the progressive magic which had made "In the eye of the storm" so appealing has been unceremoniously dumped by the wayside, to be replaced by funky beats and puerile lyrics ("I wish I was in London, I really miss the rain, I wish I was in England, I really miss the Queen").

Occasionally, tracks like "You make me love you" throw up a reasonably melody, but even here it is squandered beside an over repetitive chorus and a chronic lack of adventure. "Desert love" is another case in point, a song which has the potential to be developed into something passionate and memorable, but which is allowed to drift along for a few minutes without truly getting started, then simply fade away. Lyrically, "House on the corner" is the only track with any real depth, but the insightful nature of the words is at odds with the flippant, jaunty melody. "Puppet dance" is the only other track of any merit at all, being a reasonable abbreviation of Supertramp's "Hide in your shell". Things really plumb the depths on the title track, which uses every pop cliché in the book, and still sounds awful. The track has an 80's Genesis plastic synth beat and lyrics which would embarrass a child.

In all, a very disappointing affair, geared exclusively towards the pop market, but even in that environment it was sub-standard.

Interesting footnote 1. It seems the album was jinxed from the start. Just before it was released, Hodgson fell off a ladder, breaking both his wrists and incurring minor concussion.

Interesting footnote 2. My copy of the LP was bought from a second hand store. The price started at £5.50, and reduced in 50p decrements until I finally bought it for 50p!

Report this review (#92031)
Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I never quite understood why this album always gets so horribly low ratings. Except for a few weaker songs, this album is in fact very good, with songs like "Desert Love" and the title track being one of Hodgson's best works. Of course, the pop influences are not easy to ignore, but at least it's good and well constructed pop, not such teenage bubblegum pop which was mostly the case for late 80's pop/rock albums. The instruments are well played and Hodgson's voice is present in is usualy Supertramp fashion.

You can still hear a hint of Supertramp influences here, though not as present as on "In The Eye of The Storm", notably in the acoustic parts and, of course, Hodgson's keyboard playing. Regular Progressive Rock fans will most likely hat this, but if you like Supertramp/Hodgson's more poppy songs and are a bit open-minded at the same time, you'll see that this album have qualities too, though not as strong maybe.

Should be given a try if you liked "In The Eye of The Storm". A very good release overall, at least in my huble opinion! I'll give this one 3.5/5.

Report this review (#92467)
Posted Thursday, September 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars This was a very difficult album to review. When an artist that you profoundly respect, records such a work, to describe it and rate it will inevitably lead to some major disappointment.

How could such a musical genius write such poor songs? I don't understand. The major problem with this album is that almost all songs sound miserable. Some sub-par AOR (''My Magazine'') or pop tunes with no flair nor texture (''You Make Me Love You''). And what to think about this weak reggae song (''London'') and the avoidable synth pop ''Who's Afraid''?

There is really no need to do a track by track review, since this uniform work offers little to write home about. This type of record is best avoided IMO. If not, it is best forgettable after a couple of spins.

I doubt that lots of people will be willing to repeat the experience on and on. At least it is not my case. There is only one rating possible unfortunately: one star. Sorry Roger, but you did it.

Report this review (#216027)
Posted Friday, May 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars You have questions about this album because you're disappointed ? Let me try to give you an answer...

First thing - it was the 80s, dear friends. And as the 80s came closer to the 90s, a lot of the "spirit" of the old days that had made musicians like Roger ( by then, as a very important member of Supertramp, of course ) become major artists for many of us, was no longer alive. Some say it was due to the artists that, for commercial reasons, had turned away from significant qualities, as f.e. so many of us blame Phil Collins to have led Genesis into an embarrassing demise that sounded like a betrayal of almost anything the band was loved and admired for until Peter Gabriel and, even more obvious to me, Steve Hackett left the band. It's all too easy ( and, perhaps, a bit unfair ) to judge things this way, I must say here. Every creative man does rely on inspiration, and therefore HAS to remain open for the feel of the times and the people around him, else he was bound to make his output his headstone instead of a sign of LIFE.

The 80s, in many ways, tended to present a more superficial feel to most of us. And we had to move on - and this is what Roger ( and Phil especially WITH Genesis, cause it wasn't only him, once and for all ! ) did here. Most of the music was based on achieving certain emotional effects rather than the good old values of composing and writing. Do not mistake this for a mere sell-out, who ever is writing songs can tell you that their output can not be any more than their personal feelings - being influenced ( INSPIRED ! ) by whatever is around them and, by the time, is leaving an impression - allow it to be. And I remember well that there was a special feel at the time that many of us did share, this resulting in attempts to capture and share it in terms of energy that was determined to be felt when we started performing. The "mistake" was simply that we then perhaps neglected ( and sacrificed ) too much of what was special and valuable at long term for the "kick of the moment". It was a time in which, think of the Punk-Movement, we tended to break down certain values in order to build something new, we did not see a point in just building up and up on what we already had achieved cause we felt the need to sound more fresh and alive. Again, you may say, this was only meant to jump on a bandwagon and "stay up to date" in order to sell, but this is simply not true. I have felt that PUNK had an important message at its time, and I'm sure that Roger - as well as many other musicians - felt the same, though none of us wanted to become untrue to our framework. The message was: "Hey you there ! It's a bore, can't you see it ? You're stuck in sheer self-indulgence by presenting your abilities to play and doing the things you've grown comfortable with over and over again, but there's a lack of spark and it became a tedious affair. Get up from your ass... this is music and music ought to sound alive and fresh, you've lost the connection to what is more important than all your technical abilities !"

Listen to "Famous last Words". No matter how much you may like it, and no matter how good it is - in retrospect, especially - all those accusations weren't that far from the truth. In 1979, somehow being sheltered from whatever had happened in the UK, Supertramp sounded alive and fresh even on an album as polished as "Breakfast" is. By 1983, the concept was a little worn, and "Famous last Words", in spite of all its qualities, sounded tired and a step backwards - or even more. I'm sure that Roger felt the same about it. I'm sure his quest that led to his departure from Supertramp was a quest for new excitement, he wanted to feel and deliver the spark again that he saw more evident in "Crisis" ( and "Even in the quietest Moments", still, I think ) than on "Breakfast" and its successor, cause the making of those had more of a direct approach and therefore felt better ( although they weren't necessarily better ). He could not see how to move on in that framework, he wanted to regain that spark and even get a grip on something new... and, as I said in my review to Supertramp's "Slow Motion", Rick Davies is a conservative man.

This means nothing less than "Hai Hai" ( as well as "Abacab" has to be seen for Genesis ) was a sign of the artist's serious willingness for progression and not stagnation or regression !

The biggest problem with this album ( apart from this and other than Abacap ) is... the artist did not exactly know ( figure out ) where he wanted to go yet, and instead of giving him the time and faith to do right by himself and develop the product to his full satisfaction, the record company ( A & M's Jerry Moss, in particular ) stepped in, worried of a commercial let-down. Roger, open-minded as he is, tried to satisfy those requests and lost control over the final product underway. Do not underestimate the pressures from record-companies, please. "In the Eye of the Storm" did not sell badly, but Roger had to prove a lot since he was only one single person now and didn't even have the established name of "Supertramp" to his advance/favour. He gave way to the pressures long before "Hai Hai" could have become the album it was supposed to be. You dig it: One more compromise, and, in this case, a compromise too much.

It's simply unfinished, on every ( musical ) degree, but it satisfies that certain feel that seemed to make it suitable to the times. And it had quite some "big names" ( for the "insiders" ) featured in the personel/credit-section, supposed to sell it as a "meeting of first class musicians", another sign of faith being not given to the artist himself - but to a "first class production". And, be sure, the feel that I am talking about, it really was in it, and this was what made Roger finally agree to put it out that way... I suppose. You may think I'm talking bollocks, don't you ? But I have proof, maybe the best proof there may be... because: At the time the album came out, I must have inherited and therefore shared this feel. I thought it was great, and not only me. Several Songs, including "My Magazine" and "London", were "DJed" in my favourite Rock-Disco ( ! Not a fashion-one ! ) at that time and the DJ, who became a friend of mine ( and sadly died way too early some years ago ) felt just as excited about it as I did. We thought it was a Smash ! It wasn't. It failed to sell. And me... I failed on buying it because I didn't have the money - it was top of my list - and very soon afterwards suffered from a severe nervous breakdown that had me cold for quite some time. During that time - the worst of music I could have listened to was the music that aimed at certain emotional effects I used to get my "Kicks" out of for maybe too long... including this one.

I had to get back to the values myself, if you like. And, many years afterwards, buying this CD made me wonder what it was that I liked so much way back then. Immature - in too many parts. And that's what it stayed while "Brother where you bound", since I had won my nerves back, maintained its momentum. The simple truth is: There aren't enough of decent compositions on this one, though I still have a soft spot for "London" ( well, that's just a fun-song, no more, and I don't think that "Lady" is any better only because it's being more complicated, sorry ) and "Desert Love".

Apart from "Puppet Dance" ( a gem ) the material is of no higher standard, even "Land Ho" fails to make an impression, though ( preferably in its original form - with Supertramp... lol ) it's not so bad. The feel has gone and the album remains kind of a stinker, and be sure that RH himself is not too proud of it.

I haven't bought any other album of him yet ( except the far superior "Eye of the Storm", of course ), but that - again - is due to ( lack of ) money, not lack of interest. I saw the man live in concert ( because I had been gifted the ticket ) last year and it was absolutely marvellous.

This album is not, of course. It's a bare 2 star. But I hope that I have helped you understand why. If not... well, I can live with that. And Roger can, too. He's a great artist and in many ways he's better than ever. And you can't blame him for having been open-minded, or can you ? You may even recognise his real progressive approach in a failure like "Hai Hai", but then again... not too much, and for sure, nothing like "progressive ROCK MUSIC". Only progression as an artist... as his driving force, interrupted by pressure and then... goodbye for a long, long time, cause you all know that A&M dropped the artist after one flop only. That's business. That's record-companies. And be sure, Jerry Moss is one of the good people in the business, so better not blame him either ( Roger himself, you can read it in the booklet, has THANKED him for his support... a "support" that wasn't really supportive but this was to be seen later for all of us are human beings and human beings are bound to make mistakes ). C'est la vie, not C'est le bon, more than often, believe me !

Report this review (#610394)
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's not perfect, but believe me, it's not horrible either. I enjoyed a lot of stuff in here... The best tracks are: London, Who's Afraid?, Land Ho, House on the Corner and Puppet Dance (quite stellar by the way) My feeling about this period in Supertramp history is this: had they stayed together, the best tracks of Free As a Bird combined with the best ones of Hai Hai would have made a great 80's album. I know, it would still be maligned by all you at but it would have sold millions of units and people in the 80's would have pickd this as their favorite.
Report this review (#890658)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars It seems that many bands, Supertramp included, are greater than the sum of it's parts. More often than not, when members of a great group go their separate ways, they at best become a pale imitation of what they had once been. This is extremely evident in this Roger Hodgson solo.

Hodgson has surrounded himself with an all-star cast. Jeff Porcaro, Omar Hakim, and Nathan East head up a very long list of sidemen, who make this set of songs as slick and well produced as any Supertramp classic. Unfortunately, the best moments sound like rehashes of popular Supertramp tracks, changed just enough to make them seem to be original songs. And since this is Hodgson without Rick Davies, it leans far more to pop simplicity than prog grandeur.

2.5 stars.

Report this review (#933631)
Posted Thursday, March 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
1 stars I've been trying to avoid this album even though I grew a fondness for it's predecessor, In The Eye Of The Storm, but after finding out that it's successor, Open The Door, was also quite enjoyable there really was no way for me to avoid Hai Hai! How bad could it possibly be, I thought to myself? Let's dive in and find out...

The first moments of this record suggested that I wouldn't like the rest due to the introductory '80s synths and drum sounds. But this is really not the biggest problem that plagues Hai Hai since this record is filled with hollow songwriting that I would compare to a visit to a fast food franchise of your choice. It certainly fills your ears up with sounds but leave you pretty empty once it's over. Roger Hodgson's vocals are just as charismatic as ever but there just doesn't seem to be any purpose to any of these performances. All the session musicians seem to do their job just right but all it does is cover the lackluster songwriting. Songs seem to linger on for long periods without any excitement or passion to them and the moment that actually sound exciting are only glimpses of Hodgson's past glories.

Unfortunately there's very little enjoyment to be found for me on Hai Hai. Yes, it kind of feels like beating a dead horse, since anyone who likes this record will find themselves in a minority, but I just can't find any sympathy of this record. I'm certain that some of these tracks might grow with repeated listens but the '80s production really makes it difficult for me to give Hai Hai another go.

**** star songs: Land Ho (4:06)

*** star songs: Right Place (4:05) You Make Me Love You (5:08) Hai Hai (5:28) Who's Afraid? (4:57) Desert Love (5:26) House On The Corner (5:21) Puppet Dance (5:16)

** star songs: My Magazine (4:39) London (4:11)

Report this review (#936205)
Posted Wednesday, March 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars 1987 was a bad year for the left over remnants of Supertramp as Rick Davies released the awful "Free as a Bird" (under the Supertramp moniker that he continued to keep alive) and Roger Hodgson released the uninspired pop of "Hai Hai". The previous albums both artists released close to the same time ("Brother Where You Bound" and "In the Eye of the Storm") were pretty decent and would have made quite an amazing album if the two previously co-leaders of Supertramp had stayed together, and it seemed as if the two artist might be able to be respectable on their own. But, 1987 proved that this was a false hope as this time, both albums would be releases that should be forgotten.

"Hai Hai" follows Hodgson's previous album by continuing on the pop path, but leaving out any indication that much of his previous music at least followed some progressive practices. This album was a half-hearted attempt to go completely commercial. This time there were no long tracks and any of them were playable on the radio, for the most part. Hodgson could have at least tried to make a decent pop album by giving it some heart, but instead, he leaves it out. Sure, the album starts out with some nice bright pop with the first three songs; "Right Place", "My Magazine", and the reggae- influenced "London" tries to find a foot hold in the synth-laden pop of the 80's, and just about gets there, but, all hope is lost when you reach the completely washed-out, assembly-line pop sound of "You Make Me Love You". It seems that Hodgson can't redeem the album after this point, and the rest of the songs just don't seem to create any excitement becoming quite pointless and uninteresting. Not even "Land Ho", a leftover song from the Supertramp days, written by both Hodgson and Davies, can't save this.

Since I had been a long-time Supertramp fan, I was very disappointed after hearing this album the first time. Even after hearing it several times, it fails to make any impression on me, even in a pop-music sense. Hodgson just didn't seem to be sold on these tracks much either. There was no tour for this album either, as Hodgson was involved in an accident a week after it was released, that left him unable to use his hands for quite some time. After this point, I lost all interest in his solo career and didn't take any time to hear any of his following albums for quite some time. I did keep some interest in Rick Davies' Supertramp, but not a lot of hope. However, at least they were able to release one decent album many years later, however Hodgson has failed to impress on his own after this point, as much as I hate to say that. It has been a sad loss to what had been a respectable career previous to this album.

Report this review (#2488895)
Posted Wednesday, December 30, 2020 | Review Permalink

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