Wild Wagener Week – Saigon Kick

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     Saigon Kick formed in Miami in 1988, built a strong local following and soon signed with Atlantic Records, who released the band’s Michael Wagener-produced self-titled debut in 1991. Saigon Kick are a perfect example of the injustice of the smug, elitist “hair metal” tag. Pretentious non-fans of metal and hard rock dismissively lump bands as diverse as say Danger Danger, Love/Hate, and Saigon Kick into one all-encompassing category of rock which they seem to deem inferior or without merit, then somehow give themselves a pass for liking Guns n’ Roses because that is the one band they are allowed to appreciate while maintaining their “credibility.” Saigon Kick were a creative, adventurous, artistic rock band with talent and personality galore, and their first album is all over the place stylistically. Michael Wagener did a great job of reigning things in, somehow compressing all that variety into a somewhat cohesive whole. My two favorite songs on the record by far are the first single, “What You Do,” and guitarist Jason Bieler’s folk and roll epic “My Life.”

 

     Much of the album (“Month of Sundays,” “Ugly” and “What Do You Do”) resembles thrash metal and songs like “New World” and “Coming Home” seem to anticipate the advent of grunge. This is a heavy album with some poppy moments, melodic yet aggressive. To call this hair metal is a joke, a statement of prejudice and ignorance, yet the band will always be remembered for the shitty hit ballad, “Love Is On The Way,” from their next album The Lizard, which is a woefully unfortunate circumstance considering The Lizard is a killer album, a lot better than the first album even. I am also a big fan of the band’s third record, Water.

    

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