|Posted by Painkiller on May 30, 2012 at 6:45 PM|
PK’s Album Reviews – Van Halen’s Different Kind of Truth
Well folks this has been one that has pretty much on the fence about it. You see on the one hand it is good, and on the other there are things that really well seem to be like they are stuck in the 80’s. Is that a good thing, or a bad thing… honestly I’m not sure. Let’s take this from a nostalgic stand point shall we?
Well First off it is the first time in 28 years that David Lee Roth is back as the front man of the band, so… they seemed they went back to their old roots, why not it has been a while, granted they have a new bassist too, Wolfgang Van Halen (the son of Eddie Van Halen). So why not do it where you have just a few songs that were from the demos they did…. So why don’t we look at this album and see what it has for us shall we?
This album is not bad for the length in time just shy of 50 mins. So they are keeping a good time going for the length … however as I said before, they grabbed some songs from the demos back in the 70’s, seven of the thirteen tracks to be honest. That is over half of the tracks, now either that is lazy work or pure crazy genius! For me it is probably a little from column A and a little from column B. After all Roth is back and they probably couldn’t use the music they created before when he left/fired/quit the band back in the 80’s. The songs that were reused are “She’s the Woman”, “Outta Space”, “Big River”, “Beat’s Workin”, “Tattoo”, “Honeybabysweetiedoll”, and “Bullethead” in which you can tell it is the older stuff, however it doesn’t quite the style of today’s music.
One of the songs “Blood and Fire” dates back to 1984 that was originally a instrumental known as “Ripley”.
So eight of the 13 songs were re used or released from earlier stuff in one form or another. Maybe this is why it didn’t take long for them to come out with this album?
Either way how does this album fit in with the style of Van Halen?
Let me put it this way, at best it is … OK… at worst it is very sloppy! Before you go on a tirade of sorts because you love Van Halen, let me put it to you this way.. I am a HUGE old school Van Halen fan, and knowing that VH was back with Roth to make a album I was happy! Hearing “Tattoo” I got nervous. Hearing this album, I have so many things that I don’t know if I like it or hate it.
So I’m going to go with the Good, the bad, and the ugly on this review:
The Good – Well the style is back with Van Halen, they have the guitar work for most of it, the solo’s can stand out, and the rhythm can be ok… at best. The background singing makes up for the lead… yeah.. I said it… the lead vocals are well…
The Bad – LYRICS.. OMG the Lyrics! I’m sorry it was like he looked into a cracker jack box and pulled them out to make up some of his lyrics, that and the timing is off from the instruments, and as I said before the lead vocals are off from everything else, the background vocals make it tolerable. It may have been that they pulled this out of the 70’s vault.. but the least they could have done is polished it up to make it sound like it was suited for 2010’s … not that old school.
Some of the solos are …. Well .. boring, and just not suited for the songs.
The Songs total… well they did try some new things, like put a blues style to songs like “Stay Frosty” and then they make it rock out… yes.. ok .. that is a great style, however MY GOD THE LYRICS… at least 30 to 45 seconds of the song you have Roth going “ uuh uh uh… uh uhh uhh.. uh uh hh….” Well you get the picture there, and it is only a filler which could have been filled by a better guitar solo… and then he tries to rhyme in the song… just not the style I want to hear.. and there is some parts of that song that is borderline, well not racist, but stereotyping of different parts of the world, almost offending.
The Ugly: As much as I hate to say it.. there is TOO much energy for this album, and that is what drives me nuts, you see by now I would have remembered at least some of the lyrics after hearing it as many times I have … but, my mind does NOT want to even comprehend this album exists in a sense. I think it is the fact that these guys have physically aged, yet they still act really young in their style. I mean it is like they wont accept that the 21st century is here, they want to live in the 80’s and that is not the way you progress in the music industry, unless you want to sell your albums that way.
I mean, Iron Maiden actually progressed with their style, and yes they got hung out to dry for it, for me personally it was a brave move and they did it right… Rolling Stones did the same, many other bands changed the way they played and adapted to the new styles but still kept their old style within the music, and it worked for them… VH is living in the past, and just like a ex girlfriend living in the past and still wants you to hold on to the good times they are doing the same… and it doesn’t quite work for them,
That is also what is missing.. a instrumental that most Van Halen Albums have… there is NONE! That would have been perfect to hear.. because they still know how to play their hearts out.. and that may have been a good break from the rest of the album, which would have scored a bit higher. Only two other out of the 12 studio albums did NOT have instrumentals.
So … for a good song I’m going to have to say it is You and your Blues… it has a good mix of stuff, the energy is good for the song, and it is a sweet beat to listen to and the harmonics of it really come off well. It isn’t perfect, but it feels right like they are trying to give VH a little something with a twist, and it helps this song out quite well.
The worst song on the album has to be “As Is” That one just has the old style of Halen that I didn’t like about them, the arrogant stuck up attitudes they displayed. It is also a very sloppy song with Roth asking to have more volume put into the headphones, and you can hear some of the background noise a little to well… it was like it was thrown together in one take and they didn’t care what happened to it.
I know I’m going to get flack for this, but I really have to give this album a 5/10, you see I’m not getting paid by anyone to give it a higher mark… it just doesn’t cut it for me, yes they are trying to give the old stuff a chance to be heard almost 40 years later, but, they should have changed it up a bit with the way that “You and Your Blues” did. I have to say they tried to stay close to their roots, but it was a bit to close to my liking, I would have loved to hear something a little different… they didn’t venture to far out of their comfort zone, which people liked, but not this person… I just feel that it would have been better produced, and managed. As well as cleaned up a bit so you didn’t hear some of the stuff you SHOULDN’T hear on a album. I shouldn’t have to listen to it 15 times before I make a call on it either, that is how conflicted I was with this album
However, I can hear myself putting some of these songs in with a mix while I’m killing things for a few times because it frustrates me to hear this it will make the other songs in my mix that much better!
For now this is PK saying ROCK ON, and we will see you next time!