Old/New Albums: America’s “Hat Trick”

hattrickHat Trick is the third album by America, one of the more confusing band names from the ’70s.

Right out of the gate, this is probably one of the more boring albums I’ve listened to in the last year and a half. Nothing about Hat Trick is offensive, and nearly all of it is forgettable.

I think this is kind of America’s niche. Their first five or so albums all sound very similar to this one, and all of them have at least one or two songs that found some marginal success in the American market.

And their style is nice. It’s soft, acoustic, white folk rock music. Like Eagles, but ten times softer. It’s just very vanilla. It takes a great hook for this band to create something memorable. “A Horse With No Name,” “Ventura Highway,” and “Sister Golden Hair” are all examples of their soft style mixed with a good hook.

Unfortunately, Hat Trick has nothing like that. I like some songs more than others, but this is the one album of America’s that could be wiped out and almost nothing lost from their whole catalog.

The one song that really tries anything even slightly off-kilter is the title track, a seven minute tune that plays like a suite, with three different sections bound together very fluidly. It’s got a nice jangly piano part that anchors the first part, and the song morphs into a more guitar-driven vehicle as it goes along.

But even as pleasant as this song, it’s like a watered down version of something like “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” from Crosby, Stills & Nash’s self-titled album. And honestly, this whole album feels less like an homage to Crosby, Stills & Nash than a straight-up attempt to cash in on the West Coast soft rock/folk trend that blew up in the early ’70s. They just really hit the “soft” of soft rock way too hard here, and the majority of this album turns into forgettable pap as a result.

Top 3 Tunes:

  1. Hat Trick
  2. Wind Wave
  3. Goodbye
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2 Comments

Filed under Music, Review

2 responses to “Old/New Albums: America’s “Hat Trick”

  1. Greg Carier

    I think Hat Trick is a great album. No big hooks like Horse or Ventura, but all the songs are solid and the production by George Martin is superb as usual. I don’t see how these guys are ten times softer than the Eagles, frankly.

    • True, ten times is a pretty big exaggeration, although for some reason I’ve always equated Eagles with harder-than-soft rock. I think it’s the lead guitar work on the Hotel California album. But thanks a lot for the comment and thanks for reading!

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