David Hasselhoff, the erstwhile star of TV’s Knight Rider and Baywatch (not to mention Baywatch Nights), has had a pop music career almost the entire time that he has been an actor. In fact, the Hoff probably would not have maintained his fairly consistent meme-worthiness, if not for his offbeat, big-in-Germany-but-not-really-anywhere-else musical output.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Hasselhoff is releasing his fourteenth studio album, Open Your Eyes, on September 27.
The album is an unusual mix of material and collaborators. The Hoff pairs with industrial rock legends Ministry for a cover of the Neil Diamond sing-along classic, “Sweet Caroline.” He joins up with ’80s survivors A Flock of Seagulls to cover Echo and the Bunnymen‘s “Lips Like Sugar.” He even works with “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” mastermind Charlie Daniels on a version of “Rhinestone Cowboy.” And that’s just for starters.
The album is all kind of kitsch-y and odd, but it all makes perfect sense coming from David Hasselhoff.
This week, The Hoff dropped a video for the album’s title track. It’s an unexpectedly faithful cover of the 1982 single “Open Your Eyes” by goth punk supergroup The Lords of the New Church. The recording features Stooges guitarist James Williamson, ripping a pretty solid solo.
The video features The Hoff singing in front of what could reasonably be mistaken for a gallery piece from the early ’90s: vertical stacks of tube televisions, with a neon sign proclaiming “MEDIA POLLUTION” at the top. The screens themselves flicker with static, flashing the word “LIES” and sometimes offering extreme close-ups of eyeballs (perhaps a sly reference to The Stooges’ “TV Eye”?) Images of brainwashed TV watchers, kids in VR headsets, and evil plotting politicos all feel like a self-conscious throwback, but David Hasselhoff seems fairly earnest about the song’s Reagan-era messages and their unfortunate resonance in the current climate.
The Open Your Eyes album comes out September 27 on red colored vinyl, CD, and digital. David Hasselhoff is touring Germany (naturally) in support of the album throughout October.
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Justin Remer makes movies, directs music videos, and plays in the bands Duck the Piano Wire and Elastic No-No Band when he is not writing movie reviews. His folk-rock documentary MAKING LOVERS & DOLLARS is currently streaming on Amazon.