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.