Long gone are the days of Michael Knight trading quips with KITT (the precursor to Siri and Alexa? Kinda?) and Mitch Buchannon running down the beach wearing nothing but a pair of red shorts and a buoy. The most watched man in television history—a distinction given to David Hasselhoff by The Guinness Book of World Records—has hit us with something out of left field—an album of ‘80s punk, metal, and new wave covers titled Open Your Eyes. Lest you think this musical path is a detour for the actor, this’ll be Hasselhoff’s fourteenth album.
The first single and video from the upcoming release is a surprising cover of The Lords of the New Church song of the same name, “Open Your Eyes.” And despite all obvious preconceived notions, it’s good!
The Lords of the New Church were a super group of ex-punk rockers formed in 1982 by Stiv Bators (The Dead Boys), Brian James (The Damned), Dave Tregunna (Sham 69) and Nick Turner (The Barracudas). Trading in their safety pins for an ‘80s gothic glam-metal look and sound, the band was more polished and melodic than their previous acts. Bators took an intellectual/political approach to his lyrics (for the most part), and the band delivered these with hooks, synths and musical prowess. 1982’s “Open Your Eyes” was a song that echoed the paranoia of the Cold War’s mutually assured destruction era. The song reached #7 on the UK Indie Charts, #34 on the Canadian charts, and #27 on the US Rock charts. The self-titled album it appeared on peaked at #3 in the UK Indie charts.
David Hasselhoff, a musical sensation in Germany and Austria for over 30 years now, sang his pop anthem, “Looking for Freedom,” at the Berlin Wall on New Years Eve in 1989 – just two weeks before the reunification of Germany and the beginning of the end of the Cold War. The single is his biggest hit to date, and held the number one spot on the West German pop charts for eight weeks. His third album, also called Looking for Freedom, went triple platinum.
The Hoff’s choice to release an album 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall is no surprise – his performance their made him a star in Germany. The choice of songs? Now that’s a different story. Have you heard Pingu Dance? That may not be the best example, but most of his music can be categorized as adult contemporary and not really resembling anything outside of the norm – like his cover of The Beach Boys’ California Girls.
Featuring Stooges guitarist James Williamson, The Hoff’s version of “Open Your Eyes” is a fairly straightforward rendition, with a video emphasizing the message of the original. Lyrics like, “They scare us all with threats of war/So we forget just how bad things are,” obviously ring true in today’s chaotic political climate. We see The Hoff smirking at times as if to say, how is it 30 years later and we’re still dealing with this shit?
Musically, the synthesizers, drum machines, and Williamson’s guitar chords deliver the perfect ‘80s mix beneath Hasselhoff’s appropriately deep baritone vocals—think Iggy Pop, Billy Idol, Danzig, Jim Morrison, and David Bowie—produced to perfection.
Throughout the video, Hasselhoff mimes in front of a stack of old TVs with the word LIES sprawled across them and images of eyes staring out of them. It’s 1984 all over again. We’re watching They Live. He can’t change the channel – he tests the remote with no luck – and sparks fly when he pulls the plug.
The idea of David Hasselhoff stepping into Stiv Bators’ shoes is as weird as it sounds. But it works, and it’s impressive.
The Hoff also takes on songs like Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Lips Like Sugar” (featuring the The Cars’ Elliot Easton), The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Head On” (featuring A Flock of Seagulls), a rendition of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” featuring Al Jourgensen of Ministry (yep, Al Jourgensen!), and David Bowie’s “Heroes” featuring Tyler Bates—who delivered similar material on the soundtrack to Atomic Blonde, a 2017 spy film set during the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Can this album go triple platinum? If history’s taught us anything, we think so.
Open Your Eyes, will be release on September 27th on Cleopatra Records. The CD deluxe digipak comes with a “Hoff Army” patch!
While there are no US tour dates listed, we’re sure if the Get Hasselhoff to Number 1 campaign got him to number 3 in 2006, a Get Hasselhoff to tour the US campaign can at least get him to Brooklyn in 2020. Or so we hope!