Best Of Van Halen Part I
Fact: Van Halen were the best
hard rock band of the late seventies and early eighties.
Fact: Van Halen has
sucked since 1985.
It's not a coincidence, 1985 was the year that leader
David Lee Roth, metal's sleaziest (in a good way) and funniest front man,
was either fired or quit, depending on whose story you buy. (In all
fairness, Roth's solo career has pretty much bit, too...)
Therefore, most of the music
worth cheering is on the first half of this album, good time party tunes as
the stomper "Dance The Night Away" and the wild Roth vocal on "Panama."
You’ve got to dock the band a few points though, for missing their most
incredibly propulsive tune, the ode to beer, digging your toes in the sand
and watching "Beautiful Girls."
Then Eddie Van Halen took his
legendary guitar solos and decided he was an artist, lost his sense of
humor, and picked as his vessel former Montrose leader Sammy Hagar. The
Hagar the horrible years started off pretty strong with "Why Can't This Be
Love?" but steadily spiraled down to the soda jingle "Right Now" and the
wannabee jingle "Poundcake" (apparently Sara Lee wisely passed.)
The big selling point of the
the return of prodigal son Roth for two songs. The bump and grind "Me Wise
Magic" and stronger blues stomp "Can't Get This Stuff No More" are pretty
minor additions to the Van Halen/Roth canon, but the band sounds looser and
more fun than they have in almost a decade.
Now word comes down from Eddie
that the Van Halen/Roth reunion was never meant to be more than a one-shot
thing (read: publicity stunt) and VH's new singer is Gary Cherone,
wimp-metal leader of Extreme. You wouldn't have thought it possible, but Van
Halen are already in the basement and still going down.
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August 22, 2019.