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07 October 2011 @ 10:12 pm
Bp's Song of the Week #132: Chickenfoot "Three & a Half Letters (I Need a Job)"  
It’s a Rock-tober fist pumping track for this week.

It was a toss-up this week between “Three & a Half Letters” and “Different Devil” from the new Chickenfoot album, III. “Different Devil” is a great, melodic song in the vein of Balance era Van Hagar, with strong vocal harmonies. Definitely well worth a listen and listed in the links area below.

Oh, who is Chickenfoot you’re asking? Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony (ex-Van Halen), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani.

“Three & a Half Letters” was the track that initially grabbed my attention when I first listened to a stream of the album online. The rest of the album kind of played without a lot to hold onto for me until this track came up. It was startlingly different which is why it stood out. It was interesting enough to listen to twice, but then I sent an email to my brother (who had mentioned reading about a Sammy quote in USA Today) and told him that the album was pretty boring apart from one or two tracks.

The following day there was a write-up on www.melodicrock.com – a fantastic news site dedicated to AOR/Melodic bands – which mentioned track-by-track you tube clips with interviews of the band. I love that sort of thing, so I checked those out while on the exercise bike that night. I’ve said before that all artists should release EPKs or inside details, behind the scenes footage of albums because it’s so interesting and many albums have stayed on my radar as a result. I would have given this record a pass if I hadn’t checked out these clips. It was a great glimpse into the writing and recording process of the album and it made me want to listen to the album again. When I did, I started to get into the spirit a bit more.

I think I also have a soft spot for Sammy for some reason. I was a fan of “You’re Love is Driving Me Crazy” (my first introduction) and “I Can’t Drive 55” back in the MTV era and although many disagree, I think Van Halen became ten times better when he joined the group. The combination of Sammy and Eddie was a tour de force of melodic greatness. “Dreams,” “Feelin’,” “Eagles Fly,” (the latter being Sammy solo, but produced by Eddie) were miles above what the previous incarnation could ever have come up with. When Sammy wrote thoughtful and inspiring lyrics, that band was on fire. Of course, there are some less interesting songs as well, and his solo work since Van Halen hasn’t really done much for me.

“Three & a Half Letters (I Need a Job)”

As discussed in the video clip below, Sammy found three letters he’d received and decided to do a spoken word piece with a ferocious, screaming chorus based on an idea Sammy’s late friend had that connected to some of the letters Sammy received. It’s timely and aptly evokes the frustration that’s on the minds of so many Americans right now. The melodic guitar and vocal underneath the spoken verses is haunting. The guitar solo is blistering and the band is laid out rockin’. It’s almost 95% all live, the 4th take, and Sammy’s voice is shot by the end of it.

Chickenfoot discusses “Three & a Half Letters” here.

It’s easy for this to come across as hokey and insincere, but I think they do a good job and it reminds me a little bit of another Hagar driven classic, “Right Now.”

More Chickenfoot, etc:
Different Devil
Alright, Alright
Eagles Fly (live) – knee buckling performance
Feelin’ (live)