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Roger Hodgson - Hai Hai CD (album) cover

HAI HAI

Roger Hodgson

 

Prog Related

1.89 | 67 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
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!

Easy Livin | 1/5 |

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