Rolling Stone - 6/30/94, p.742 Stars
- Fair - "...Hagar belts out everything...in his familiar, earnest, balls-out yelp. And that's OK. Really. Just not very exciting...."
Personnel includes: Sammy Hagar (guitar, vocals), Eddie Van Halen (guitar).
Additional producers: Sammy Hagar, Keith Olsen, Edward Van Halen, Ted Templeman.
Photographer: E.J. Camp.
Unknown Contributor Role: John Kalodner.
In between his days with hard-rocking Montrose in the early '70s and his takeover of lead singing duties from David Lee Roth in Van Halen, Sammy Hagar had a moderately successful solo career. Many of his singles didn't receive the recognition they deserved, which were either staid guitar-driven party anthems or infectious AOR tunes with punchy choruses. Unboxed is a hits collection that takes Hagar's best work from Standing Hampton, I Never Said Goodbye, VOA, and Three Lock Box, plus two other fiery singles, and puts them all on one disc, which is both convenient and entertaining. Hagar did crack Billboard's Top 40 with three of the songs on this hits set, including the friendly six-string pounce of "Two Sides of Love," which hit number 38 in 1984. His most popular solo effort, the speed inducing raucous of "I Can't Drive 55," highlights the album, proving that the vocal abilities of Hagar are anything but limited. His semi-slower material is equally justified, especially the surprising sincerity found within "Give to Live," which broke the Top 30 in 1987. The thunderous chorus of "Heavy Metal," which is twice as fast as the rest of the song, spotlights Hagar at his most fervent and is outlined with raw chord-crunching power. Surprisingly, Sammy Hagar's highest-charting single up to the release of Unboxed, the radio-friendly "Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy," is missing from this collection. Nonetheless, this greatest hits presents Hagar in a light that many have either sidestepped or completely disregarded, but with all his best material in one place, his musicianship is better appreciated. ~ Mike DeGagne