Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth

This was the album that started this whole parcel from Scott, our beloved HMO. He said he had an extra copy, said I could have it, right on. Of course, the box in the mail had 23 CDs in it, hence this whole series of reviews covering (and thanks for) all of this goodness.

Van Halen. What does a guy write about them in 2014 that hasn’t already been said? Exactly. Well screw that, let’s hear the record…

Tattoo is a song I’d heard before (it was the single). It’s  a good rocker, bluesy, just heavy enough. Some of the lyrics are silly but whatever. We’re just feeling out having DLR back in the fold. And finally, an EVH solo! After the (drunk review) debacle that was Balance, this is the most welcome thing I’ve heard in a while.

She’s The Woman is pure VH awesomeness. Now this is what I’m talking about! This track maybe should’ve opened the record, but that could just be my opinion. Turn this ballsy rocker way the hell up! Oh yeah! Check out that EVH solo and the drumming prowess of AVH! Daaaaaamnnnn! … You And Your Blues has a nice little nod to Red House at the start, as well as Communication Breakdown and 19th Nervous Breakdown elsewhere. It’s a fun rock tune, but it’s not so bluesy, which is weird, given the title. It’s a nice kiss-off track with another (short) EVH solo. Oh man I am loving that he is back!

China Town is an absolutely pounding track. Full-tilt boogie, baby! This was awesome. Pure energy and rawk aggression. Go go go! Damn, this back to Hot For Teacher territory… Blood And Fire becomes another decent rock song. The chorus reminded me of Pearl Jam’s ‘Faithful.’ Listen to the presentation of lyrics… this is not a bad thing, mind you! It’s a cool track that totally fits the record on which it lives. You know, by now I am realizing that what I’ve heard so far is the sound of a band revitalized and having frickin’ FUN.

Bullethead is another speed rocker. Pretty straight forward but this is what Van Halen does best so you’d better get the hell out of the way! … As Is has a really heavy friggin’ intro, and then that guitar starts a slinky fast riff and away they go with that VH thunger again! Damn, this record is built to go. Wait, the bluesy little bit in the middle here is short but very cool.

Honeybabysweetiedoll is a really stupid title for a song, but that doesn’t top the weirdo intro. Nevermind, it quickly goes for the throat again. The guitar truly owns this track. Heavy! Wailing! YEAH! … The Trouble With Never tries for that same mix of energy and VH magic but in the end it feels like a few good ideas pasted together. Ha, listen to me. As if I could do any better.

Outta Space is still letting it frickin’ rip. More bluesy rawk and I am falling in love with this damn record, by now. So much in these tracks… Stay Frosty has a fun acoustic bluesy intro. The rest of the band comes in and away they go with a blues rocker. Yay! “If you wanna be a monk, you’re gonna have to cook a lot of rice!” Haha! This is th kind of tune that DLR just totally owns. So fun.

Big River sounds like it’s straight off FUCK and that’s not a bad thing. Hear this track and you’ll hear what I mean, I think. Cool tune all around… And finally, as if all of that wasn’t enough, we have Beats Workin’, which builds into yet another cool rocker. Love the shift between the verse and chorus guitar riff.

In sum: Holy hell I absolutely loved this record. All worries about DLR’s return were unfounded. There’s so much rock here, it’s boggling. Anyone who says it doesn’t measure up to 80s VH can just go listen to 80s VH and never grow up. This record was SO AWESOME.

My HUMUNGOUS thanks to Scott for sending me this record. It was exactly what I needed and I will be playing this thing again and again.

14 thoughts on “Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth

  1. Deke says:

    Forgot to mention there’s a extended version with acoustic performances of Panama,Beautiful Girls and You & Yer Blues which for me I really like the acoustic version of You &Yer Blues over the electric one on ADKOT !
    Plus it includes Roth hacking during the know the ol Marlborough hack!


  2. Deke says:

    As a lifelong Halen Fan since 1980!! This after about 2 yrs now listening to it is one of there best! At first when I purchased Tattoo off of iTunes as the preorder to the album I was like ..I dunno it’s good to hear new Halen but…..when the album came out for me anyways Tattoo was the weakest track and it was the debut single and the first track!!!
    I think they should have gone with She’s The Woman as the debut single I think people were mixed about Tattoo but She’s The Woman was more old school Halen and that may have swayed people’s opinions about the rest of the album..who knows …Jesus I’m becoming Dr Phil…..???!!!

    This album you have summoned it up perfectly….and I was fortunate to catch this tour live live and they played Tattoo,Chinatown,She’s the Woman & The Trouble With Never actually I think I said over at Mikes page one time I would have been cool if they ripped out this whole album live front to back it’s that good…….

    So ADKOT is a worthy successor & followup to 1984…..
    Great read…..


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Thanks Deke! Yeah this album kicked all kinds of ass. Totally agree about She’s The Woman (I even said it in my review!). And you’re right, just playing this whole record front to back, live, would be one helluva show!

      I once saw Live in concert and the basically played Throwing Copper front to back. Brilliant.


      1. Deke says:

        I love the Live album that ummm Secret Samadhi is that what’s it called??…man I dug that one and still do….the bass on it sonically is sick….
        Good songs ….


      2. keepsmealive says:

        Secret Samadhi is also awesome. Those are their two best albums, IMO. But as a live act in 1996? Wow. Only downside to that show was I got kicked in the head by a body surfer during that show. Kinda puts a damper on the fun… Yeah that was a 3-day festival out in Lindsay, near Peterborough. The Saturday night line-up went Odds, Porno For Pyros, Live and the the Hip. Great night.


  3. mikeladano says:

    So glad you liked this man. Sometimes bands like VH have an uphill battle with new music. Some will refuse to give new music a fair shake which is very unfortunate. You hear a lot of people slam this album because they don’t understand you can’t go back in time to 1984 and just hit “reset”.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Oh man I thought this record was great! Wahoo!

      Yeah that’s what I was saying at the end there. It’s the same as Metallica fans, just wanting them to remake Puppets over and over. Or Stones fans who dislike everything since the early 80s. Like, grow up. A band’s gotta try new things and the lucky ones get to do that while still sounding like themselves. Unless you’re Motörhead, then as you were because you have a sound and it works great so just go do that…

      I do still feel bad for the bass player though. I mean, the kid did really really well here, but it’s still gotta feel unfair.


      1. mikeladano says:

        Motorhead and AC/DC are the two bands that thrive on non-evolution! Every other band always fails miserably at recapturing their youth although Journey sure have come close.

        Stones fans who don’t like anything since the 80’s (or in some cases since the 70’s)…I don’t get that. I’ve loved many of their songs since that time. High Wire is great. Some of the album tracks that you sent me ages ago (thanks ago) from Bridges to Babylon were excellent. When they did that 40 Licks a long time ago I loved 3 of the 4 new songs. The only one I didn’t like was Keef’s. And then they did that Grrrr! set in 2012 and I bought the single from that, yet another great song. Mick and Keith, when they toss out these wonderful new songs like a cotton candy machine of rock and roll, are defying the odds and maintaining their impossible to beat legacy.


      2. keepsmealive says:

        My bias will show here, but I’ve loved everything the Stones have done in this later period. The songs are just as vital and interesting. I think maybe it’ll be the long game for those tracks, like maybe after they die (if they ever do) people will rediscover that stuff and realize its excellence.


      3. Deke says:

        Actually the Voodoo Lounge and Bridges records are very solid…Nuthin wrong with em….but some peoples heads are stuck in the past….too bad there missing some great work …..
        But I know what you guys are saying….yrs ago I seen Paul Macartney at the Skydome on his Flowers In The Dirt tour. He opened with 3 non Beatle tracks and once he went into his fourth tune(Beatles tune) the place erupted!
        He played about 5 tracks off of Flowers In The Dirt and they all went over the heads of 95% of the 57,000 in attendance.
        Kinda frustrating for him I’m sure……

        Actually a footnote Elvis Costello co wrote a couple,of tracks on
        Flowers In The Dirt…..


      4. keepsmealive says:

        Agreed on Voodoo and Bridges. Bigger Bang too. I like ’em all. There’s a few lesser tracks, maybe, but they stand up well in the discography. And as for people who can’t get outta the past…

        I suppose it’s gotta come with the territory of being a friggin BEATLE. I mean, he’s never gonna get away from that. All we can hope for Mr. McCartney is that HE is enjoying the songs he writes as a solo artist. If he is having fun, then let the people who only want to hear Beatles songs have their fun too.

        I knew about the Costello connection, having just read the book. If I have the story correct, there was supposed to have been a whole album of them together but it never happened and the songs got parcelled out, some to each of them. I’d have to look it up again to know for sure.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Oh man, I wasn’t sure what to expect either but track after track it hit me harder. My two-year-old daughter was in the car with me as we listened and I asked her if she liked it and she said “yes daddy but turn it down!” Haha.

      A follow-up already? Bring it on! Welcome back DLR!


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