Chickenfoot's second album, III, dumps the sophomore slump
BY BILL SMITH STAFF This album really has two strikes against it right off the bat. First strike is that super groups are notorious for causing a bunch of hype, but normally delivering nothing but disappointment. Groups like “The Traveling Wilbury’s,” “Audioslave,” “Damn Yankee’s,” and “Derek & the Domino’s,” usually make a big splash when they first land, however they usually leave very little of an impact in their wake. The second strike is that it’s their second album, the dreaded “Sophomore Slump,” as it were in musically terms. The second album for a lot of bands, rarely stands up to the quality of their first release, and almost always fails to sell as many copies as the first album did. With all of that being said Chickenfoot has a lot to live up to, especially since their first release in 2009 went Gold, selling over 500,000 copies and landing at number 4 on the Billboard charts, which is no small feet in this day and age.
I am very pleased to say that this isn’t the case for Chickenfoot. This may not be the album that Rock and Roll fans have been waiting and praying for to revive their beloved ill fated genre from commercial death, but it is a fun album to listen to. You can really hear the band begin to gel as a tight unit, and with some of the most talented and under rated people in the industry, we shouldn’t expect any less. When you first listen to the album you can begin to hear the cohesiveness of band as they move from individual players to a real band. One almost gets the feeling that Chickenfoot doesn’t want to be a super group, but just a group. Chickenfoot seems to be making a genuine attempt to create a long lasting band that makes great Rock and Roll. As with many new bands there are some snares and traps along the way as they grow together, but Chickenfoot seems to be tackling those challenges not only as veteran’s musicians, but as a committed band.
Stand out tracks include “Big Foot,” the lead single from album, the tender balladry of “Come Closer,” and the acoustic guitar and Banjo gladdened “Something Has Gone Wrong,” but it’s on the song “Different Devil,” where the band really shines. Sounding like it could have been an outtake from Van Halen’s “5150” album, it’s a rare treat these days to hear a song that just makes you want to roll down the windows and crank up your car stereo, without causing noise pollution.
Chickenfoot has made some big improvements on this album from the previous one. The music is tighter, the songwriting is better, the hooks are catchier, and of course the musicianship is outstanding. Satriani is learning that it’s not always a bad thing to take the back seat every once in a while as he really reigns in his playing. Sammy Hagar’s vocals sound just as good now as they did in the 1980’s, proving that he was the best singer his former band ever had, sorry Diamond Dave.