F U L L . R E V I E W S
Van Halen: A Different Kind of Toupe
The question is Can Halen? YES! They Can!
Just to be 100% clear, right here, right now: I Love this CD!!!
VAN HALEN with DAVID LEE ROTH are BACK BIG TIME BABY!!!
The real Truth here is the one man they forgot about. The one man they lost faith in. The one man who made it happen for everyone on both sides of the stage. And the real Toupe here is the band, covering the truth of who was the real head in charge.
This was all Dave.
He is singing his heart and EMT lungs out on this one. He sounds like he had the most fun recording vocals in his career. Dave hasn't lost his ballsy voice or stream of unconscious lyrics. Yes, I'm still trying to figure out his genius way of wrapping up an entire fragmented discussion with many voices in his head that never began. And as unintelligible as he seems he seems to still make perfect sense!?!
Dave saves the day personally. He gave them an "EPI" shot with a new phonograph needle. Rocking the cradle, getting unchained, (minding the women and children first); he was all the while maintaining the moving parts clean of this heavy machine. This is not Angelina "Jolie's" Diver Down, more like Ronnie Dio's "Holy" Diver Down.
You almost have to hold it with both hands its surprisingly heavy. Mind you this is Van Franklen but this is what will erupt the ears of the old. This is what will corrupt the years of the ears to come. Goddamn! If you didn't know me any wiser, this is fresh magic from the Van Halen Family Dutch oven.
Oh yeah, remember a guitar player named Eddie Van Halen?! Allow It! The magic man with the famous "fingertap" now holds nothing back with his reconstructed cyber hands. He sounds like the Terminator re-re-re-reprogramed to never ever stop until Sarah Conner is Dead. He searches high and low across the fretboard still so fluent in the hunger of youth. It's almost like some solos don't get to finish what Ed started. They scream at him to just let their final notes fly free from his instrument to live out their remaining resonance on their own terms.
Please welcome "Shreddie Eddie" from his long 5150 stay!
If the power of EVH dosen't resurge guitar solos amongst America's younglings then I don't know who can anymore other than maybe the return of Nigel Tufnel. Ed's structures for his leads precisely allow for his undeniable fun and educational coloring outside of the lines. Ed had a big river ahead of him and he speed-peddled his way through the rough waters and the dry beds. YES!
BUT OMG! After almost 30 years of endless days, hours, minutes & every second thinking, rethinking, cutting, pasting, copying, deleting, begging, borrowing, stealing, writing, rewriting, arguing, giving up, restarting, reuniting, regrouping, uploading, downloading, breaking shit, pissing on, pissing off, shelving, hiring, firing, gluing and recording old unfinished, unused, unnecessary arms, legs and various other body parts of vaulted material from 1977 until 1984, Van Halen have forced themselves to pull their mammoth egos out of their Gary Cherones! The 13 songs selected here echo the lightning strike sound captured in some old bass players empty Jack Daniels bottle still laying around the studio. Just kidding Mikey! You know WE ALL love and miss you!
Sadly, less than a hand full of new original penned songs made the final cut. Two of these new songs, for instance, are a classic example of "something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue."
"You and Your Blues" and "Stay Frosty" alone would have written a ballsy blueprint for a new collection. They are the certain satisfying flavor of the new taste and sonic soundscape swirled into this cd. "Stay Frosty" was an original a tune Diamond Dave delivered. Fans and critics alike have already brainfreezed the song as the unofficial sequel to "Ice Cream Man." Everything being equal it's the baddest mofo on the album!
Gotta love the other harder, faster, longer Van Franklensteined creations of the bitchin "She's the Woman", the freight train power of "Bullethead", their walk in the park through "Blood and Fire", space trucking along in "Outta Space" and the huge ender of "Beats Workin'". Seems a growing maturity in building some songs around a wide open sing along chorus, but we are getting the best of both worlds. The one lined anthemic repetition is still very apparent and extremely comfortable. But what they learned about writing away from each other was integral in writing together again.
Currently my personal favorite is the Charlie horse of the album, "As Is." Meanest and closest to metal they have been. "Tattoo" is not a weak link though it may have not been the right single to debut this rock and roll circus; more like a teaser. I would make sure "That's the Trouble with Never" would make the singles release list also. It has a lot to say. Just like Dave & me! Another kind of truth is the vault is not the fault. It's the wrong hands caught in the wrong cookie jar for the wrong reasons.
Sorry Chinese Eddie, but 100% contrary to your illogic, you are NOT a nostalgia band. The day a band decides what the fans do and do not want is the day the band insults their fans. If they ever wanted to make another album they wouldn't ever have to write anything new. Aren't your loyal fans, peers and influences enough?!
Sad really, when they spent more time and money not making a new album. I can't impress enough that with or without Anthony Michael Hall or Wolfbang Schmuk, DLR was not going to let this go. Even if it meant no real new songs and no new love in the camp. Even if it means not sharing the same side of the page nor the same side of the stage. I didn't want to get pumped up about something with such preceding insania only to be kicked in the teeth by David's karate.
I admittedly went into this with very low expectations after all the press and hype over no press and hype. Which, after all was said and done was brilliant marketing. Brilliant is a strong word, like love, so I'm careful in flinging it like a lit cigarette at a cop.
Using Edgar Winter as an action verb may have been something they happened upon, it may have been late in the process; however by the end it mustered this mediocre movement into a true victory on vinyl--Franken Halen!
And it is a beautiful monster.
Eddie wasn't kidding with all that "Frankenstrat" business. Here is a novel idea of a tribute to themselves. Puzzling b-side bits and pieces forcing together b-side songs never good enough before to release, it is still a KICK ASS RECORD!!!!
Hmmm... just wondering if this is gonna be the new rad fad?! This collection of songs is a finely stitched together body of art much like the work of our friendly sAtAniK Crow from the "Jeepers Creepers" movies. The cabbie hat Roth is sporting is the one Brian Johnson is mysteriously missing.
And after the show Eddie might mistakenly flag him down for a ride home. Or at least give him the flag on his ride home.
And wow! Let's get it on with this Kid Halen! The closest he got to playing music was playing garbage angel on the studio floor with all of the scrapped material. The closest he got to a lick was his final one on his plate after every meal break. Wookie didn't plug in, practice for or even play on this album. It's too tight, musical & playful for him to replicate live. Again, sadly the music will suffer, but as long as he peddles the E string, Daddy will buy him dinner, Uncle Alex will have the hooker and 8-ball waiting, and Dave will be there to Heimlich the coke bullet out of his throat accidently into the hookers throat, then back into Wookie's, continuing back and forth like a rundown between bases until Dave can catch it and revive their breathing.
And, oh brother where art thou? Somewhere at the beginning of arrogance and the ending of wisdom, if you listen to it in reverse you can hear Alex leaning back in his chair, stretching his legs, resting his feet on his snare and sleeping behind his Vaurnets. All of his REM body movements were recorded live without his knowledge and pieced and sampled together. Yet another part for Eddie to literally and pivotally play.
One last very important issue that people need to realize is this is not reality. A month or two before the big announcement on the release, after several months of media fluff, Dave negotiates the record deal away from Warner over to Universal. No one cared as long as they could hear the album.
So for the first time in 35 years the VH bros split with the Warner Bros! Broadway Dave had enough faith to successfully exorcise the spirit of Phyllis Diller and return to Diamond Dave. Full well knowing that the band won't last beyond the tour, Diamond Dave is still covered by the record company.
In 2013, the band Van Halen will pass away into obscurity. And still it's a win-win for them and Warner with the back stock. Christ with as many surgeries EVH has had, and as many DLR has performed, their shows should be billed as the "Somebody Get Me A Doctor" tour! Next year Universal will bet it all on Dave. And DLR will be back in denim and leather with a young hotshot band playing to the same giant venues carrying on his role despite Van Halen's retired rock and roll.
Hey, first the Empire is built, then the Empire strikes back & every Empire falls. It already has with Van Halen. Now it's on Dave just like it was on Sammy to prove their solo staying power. The early 2000's teaming of the pair on the "Sans Halen" tour proved Van Halen can live forever in these two rock and roll survivors.
And thank you for not winning the "Lulu" of the year award. Far from it boys! The best Bulletboys album Van Halen never made! Or the best Van Halen album the Bulletboys never made! And that's the truth baby!
4 generous stars out of 5 even with lack of originality and the lack of Michael Anthony!!!
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