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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Van Halen

MUSIC REVIEWS

 

Van Halen-The Best Of Van Halen Part I   (Warner Brothers)

 

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 Best Of is 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.  (12/96)

 

Jay S. Jacobs

 

Copyright © 1996 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Revised: February 01, 2016.

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Copyright © 1996 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved.
Revised: February 01, 2016.