Still Livin’ This Dream and it Ain’t Over Yet: Reviewing Sammy Hagar and The Circle’s Crazy Times

All images courtesy of Wicked Creative PR


By John Siden
john.siden391@gmail.com

What do you see yourself doing at 75? If you are anything like Sammy Hagar, releasing a great rock album may be in your future. Hagar is still rocking hard after all these years and doing it well. His latest venture is with his band The Circle which features Michael Anthony (of Van Halen), Jason Bonham (son of the legendary John Bonham), and Vic Johnson (of The Busboys). This is a group of veteran musicians, and they do not disappoint.

The band was initially formed in 2014, and their inaugural LP was a live record, At Your Service. These songs were a mix of Montrose, Van Halen, and cover versions of Led Zeppelin songs. This was followed up with their debut of original material Space Between and then Lockdown 2020.

Crazy Times is their latest, and at the very least, their album titles are on point. I am sure we can all relate to the titles Lockdown 2020 and Crazy Times. Be that as it may, let’s dive into this new one. We start with the acoustic track “Intro: The Beginning of the End.” Even a casual look at the track listing makes this seem like a concept album. This track is a short acoustic number that sets the tone for this record.

From there, we go into “Slow Drain,” This track comes across with a blues-metal feel, if that is even a thing. The main riff makes me think of both. The song is medium tempo and slightly heavy. But it sure makes you groove. Lyrically, I feel the pandemic inspired this song with the chorus of “Watching the world go down, it’s a Slow Drain.” It also seems to be coming from a person who isn’t affected as much financially but more emotionally—a strong track. The background vocals also stand out here.

All images courtesy of Wicked Creative PR

“Feed Your Head” continues with the heavier rock. A straightforward driving song. This song, I assume, is about learning new things and adjusting to the ever-changing crazy times. A reasonably simple track but good. The next one caught me off guard initially, a cover of Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up.” Sammy’s voice is in fine form here, with some high-quality screams. This version of the song is a little more metal than the original but a great version.

“Be Still” is next and takes things down a notch mood-wise. Starting with some pretty acoustic guitar before the heavier guitar and drum beats come in on the chorus. Here we find him looking back on his life a bit nostalgically. Another song that has an actual emotional center. “You Get What You Pay For ” has a wonderful riff. It immediately hooks you in. Solid rock song. Outstanding backing vocals on this as well, courtesy of Michael Anthony. This leads into the title track, “Crazy Times.” A slightly longer track. The arrangement is very well made—a slow build that takes off about a minute in.

“Funky Feng Shui” continues the party. Some more fine vocals from Mr. Hagar on this one. Pretty much the highlight of this song. Now we come to the highlight and, honestly, in my opinion, the centerpiece of the record “Father Time.” A reflection on aging and a life lived but not finished by a long shot. This song gives me a Springsteen feel. Both emotionally and melodically. “Father, time’s over there looking over my shoulder,” Sammy sings to start the song. This a very reflective, almost ominous lyric, but he follows that up in the chorus with, “I’m stilling living this dream, and it ain’t over yet.” This is my favorite song on here by a long shot.

Heading into the final part of this record, we have “Childhood’s End,” a song referencing bigotry. At times this record tackles some serious topics. Not necessarily what I was expecting. Not a bad thing either. “2120” is another great rocker. A reflective song about changing the world. The album ends with an acoustic rendition of “Father Time.” Another clue as to how important this song is to this record.

So, wrapping things up, I was very impressed by this record. Some of the singles really stand out. “Father Time ” and “Be Still” stand out for me. It addresses mortality and the challenges we all face, so it is an authentic and great rock ‘n’ roll album. Here’s to hoping we have more of this to look forward to.

All images courtesy of Wicked Creative PR

John Siden (@jake1967) is a contributor for www.vwmusicrocks.com and may be reached at john.siden391@gmail.com

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