Van Halen – Balance
So last week I pussed out and only had one glass of wine, which does not a Drunk Review make. Well, this week I am much further along in the cups department, and I am all set to let ‘er rip.
And what’s in my sights this evening? Well, it’s another recommended album for these highly serious proceedings from Mike’s site. He’d reviewed this record HERE and I said I’d never heard it. Then I went looking in my CD collection and realized I own the damned thing. Have never played it. Can’t even remember where it came from, don’t remember buying it. So either my CD collection is boinking like bunnies, or I have found the Snuffaluffagus of my CD collection.
And I told Mike I’d use this joke, so here ya go: I have had wine. I will do my level best to keep my Balance during the proceedings.
So. Turn that sucker on…
The chanting monks at the start are hilarious. So… I’m to believe Eddie’s been meditating? OK! Sure! The Seventh Seal is a cool riff. Sounds very L.A. to me, if that makes any sense at all. And the bass, at points, is pure Poundcake (actually, the whole song is), although during the verses the bass sort of just… disappears. Is that just me? This lack makes it shrill and tinny, to my ears.
Can’t Stop Loving You sounds thin too. Did they have some vendetta against the bass player or something? Ah! Now they’re at the chorus and I know this song from the radio. Sorry, terrible. Holy crap this is a bad song. Now that I know what it is, I remember it sucking. Bah. Pop pap. And that “hold on hold on, come on” part totally sounds like Def Leppard produced it. I dunno, I mean, maybe this stuff is better in a live setting? It’d have to be.
Also, I’m two songs in and I haven’t really heard any Eddie Van Halen pyrotechnics yet. What’s he doing, coasting?
Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do) is actually a pretty cool guitar tune, VH-style, but Sammy’s vocals are brutally bad. He’s reaching, trying too hard. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t want us to pay too much attention to the chorus part, which blows chunks of pathetic-ness. Also, over 5 minutes? This song goes on way, way too long. Man, it’s still going…
Amsterdam is a cool chugger of a tune, but it still sounds so thin. This record is maybe Van Halen’s “…And Justice For All.” Let’s all hate the bass player! We’ll pretend it’s there but then turn all the trebles way the hell up so it hardly matters! Still, so far, from this growing steaming pile, this is one tune I mind less. I have no idea what that says about my opinion of this record thus far.
Big Fat Money is a VH super-fast rocker. Finally. Sammy’s vocals are still terrible, but at least the band has kicked it up a notch. Christ, he’s “singing” like someone is jabbing him with a cattle prod. Trying way too hard, and he’s buried way down in the mix so he’s unintelligible. Also the key change up into the… well, is that a guitar solo? It’s awkward. What the hell is that? Oh how I love hearing millionaires singing about money. Ugh.
Still waiting for Eddie to blow my mind. Starting to think it isn’t gonna happen.
Strung Out. Now here is a song title VH understands. And, suitably, it’s a fucked up waste of a minute and half of my life. NEXT.
Ah, the ballad. I’ve been waiting for this to turn up. Piano too, nice touch. Not Enough is weak. Is this where the band is gonna “get serious for a minute?” Oh wait, then the band kicks in. Aaaaand it’s just a slowed down Right Now. Skip. Next.
Aftershock is the first song on this record that sounds like an outtake from FUCK. I like this song. We’re only 8 songs in and they finally get it right. This wine is making me patient, it seems. Sober, I might have shut this shite off ages ago. And I’d have missed this song, and that would have been a shame.
Doin’ Time is very aptly-titled. It sucks away all of the cool of Aftershock with… what is that, a messed up bongo routine? Seriously. How high do they have to be to think this is a good idea? Aaaaaand there’s another 1:41 of my life wasted. NEXT.
Still waiting for some semblance of the Eddie of old. Lots of guitar sound that I know is him, but nthing that blows me backwards.
The stupidly-named Baluchitherium (if I got that wrong, forget ye not I am drunk and typing is hard) is a too-long wank-fest instrumental that flirts with Eastern sounds in its second half. NEXT.
Take Me Back (Deja Vu)’s first line cracked me up. Sitting here, he says “I thought I saw you from a distance…” Yeah man, you did, I was walking the fuck away from this album. Pretty acoustic guitars become, well, a somewhat cool VH riff-song? I dunno, at this point I am losing interest and my glass is empty and I’m having a hard time deciding which scares me worse – more of this album or the wine bottle being all the way upstairs and I’m kinda apathetic about going up to get more. I’m trapped. Shit. Please send help.
Screw this, pause it. I went upstairs. I had to.
And finally. FINALLY.
Feelin’… Meh. If Sammy had one wish? I don’t care. This is a six and a half minute frickin’ song. I don’t have time for this. By this point, I hope he wishes for the chance to start this record over. I don’t generally hate on records, but I hold Van F-ing Halen to a certain standard. This isn’t it. Not even close. Not. Even. Close.
Gimme FUCK any day, over this… whatever this is.