on June 26, 2006
I am so tired of the Roth vs. Hagar Wars. People who dislike Sammy Hagar view Van Halen's second coming as something akin to the downfall of a great nation. Hagar sucks. Van Halen sold out.
That's all crap, of course. I like BOTH versions of the band. With Diamond Dave (now more similar to a piece of granite), Van Halen was a fun band, no doubt. Nearly all their songs followed the same basic pattern: Eddie blew you over with a killer riff, David Lee Roth told some sexual jokes, Eddie took a solo, David Lee Roth laughed at his own jokes, then the song ended. I'm really not belittling it, as the Roth-era VH was horny, good-natured fun laced with some of the greatest guitar playing of all time.
With Hagar, Eddie and Alex replaced a stand-up comedian with a true musician. The result was a blazing, diverse, intelligent - yet still fun - hard rock masterpiece. First off, anyone who thinks Roth is a better singer than Hagar - even when he still could sing the high notes - has been taking too much cough syrup. As a musician myself who has worked with a fair amount of singers, to a T they'll all tell you Hagar is flat-out better, end of story. Hagar didn't need to tell jokes in his song lyrics; he could sing.
This is by far the most complex Van Halen album they had made to date, perhaps their most complex, period. But it's not just complex for the sake of being complex (Rush comes to mind). Instead, it seems to achieve what is so often lacking in hard rock: intelligent fun. Eddie and the boys seem invigorated by Sammy's smarts, and together, they wrote great material.
"Best of Both Worlds" is example one. Eddie kicks the song off with something he's not fond of: power chords. Those chords quickly give way to a terrifc, hooky piece of hard rock with lyrics that actually go somewhere. This song title seems to sum up what Van Halen was achieving now. This song is a somewhat overlooked rock classic.
Proving that the Spirit of Dave still lingered, they managed to channel that spirit productively into "Summer Nights," a terrific piece of summer lounging and longing wrapped around guitar work that alternates between simplistic chord picking to infuriatingly difficult whammy bar bends and key changes. The results will leave you humming the chorus and wishing for a beach chair and a fishing pole. Songs like the title track, "Good Enough", and "Get Up" fall somewhere between these two songs in scope, and they're both good.
Vah Halen alienates a lot of their fans when they put out songs like "Love Walks In", "Dreams", and "Why Can't This Be Love". I don't understand that. None of these songs - with the stunning exception of "Dreams" - would rank as Van Halen gems, but they do show diversity, musicality, and yes, intelligence. They're fun too, and - heaven forbid - were hits.
All of this is possible, of course, due to the incredible musicianship of Edward Van Halen. Certainly in terms of guitar playing, he will always rank as one of the top 10 of all time: he did, after all, invent a whole new style of playing. But on this album, it's his ability to pull it all together; to make it happen, that is most impressive. In that way, he reminds one of Jimmy Page.
After this album, the band still put out some impressive stuff, but nothing like this eruption. So stop your squabbling. Sammy is not Satan. No one is telling you to ditch your Diver Down cassette. But to not like this album if you're a Van Halen fan is simple musical racism.
on May 2, 2003
Van Halen lived on in 1986 when they replaced DLR with Sammy Hagar.While 5150 is put down by many fans of early Van Halen.This is some of Van Halen's finest work to tell you the truth.Dreams,Why Can't this be Love,and Summer Nights are the best tracks.The whole CD is very good.I would rank it with Van Halen,Van Halen II,and Van Halen 1984.The Hagar era never reached these heights again though.
on November 9, 1999
Big energy and a well polished sound define this album. Sammy is fantastic on vocals, and shines the best on the title track, "5150". There is incredible feeling and emotion in how Sammy pounds out that song. "Why Can't This Be Love" and "Dreams" are anthem type songs, and "Get Up" is simply good heavy metal fun. This is the most consistent of any Van Halen album, and really defines their sound.
on March 22, 2002
Believe me, when David lee Roth left Van Halen, I was [mad]. When I bought the ALBUM (shows my age) of 5150 and put it on my turntable, one listen changed my mind. This album stands up, even after all these years. I used to listen to this thing every day after school, and I still do not get tired of it, even though I admit I only listen to it occassionally now. The weakest point of the album is, of course, the last song, "Inside". Other than that one glitch, I love this thing. the drumming is top knotch, even though Alex is using those stupid Simmons pads everyone loved in the 80's. If you are to get 2 Van Halen CDs, get this one and 1984. If you are going to get 3, throw in Diver Down too.
on July 28, 1998
Real VH fans know that every CD (or LP, as you wish..) from these guys is different. Van Halen I was Van Halen I; there will not exist another CD like that, and 5150 is 5150 the same way... Songs like "Why can't this be love" and "Dreams" are history, and "5150" simply blows your ears away. Van Halen is one of the best bands of the history, and this CD is a masterpiece.
on November 12, 1999
Blow-the-roof-off 80's hard rock, Van Halen style. That's what "5150" is all about, rich in unforgettable hard rock melodies which, half the time, manage to match their loudness with that good ol' lovin' feeling. The title track is arguably the best Van Halen song, period. If you consider yourself a hard rock and fan and don't own this CD, better grab a copy before someone notices.
on September 10, 1999
Van Halen had always been one of the best rock bands arounds. A new lead singer? No problem, if it's Sammy Hagar. The music did change, and it's a good thing, because Van Halen needed to work into the 90's. What a way to introduce a new lead singer because this album is perfect! I'm surprised the song "5150" wasn't played on the radio, it is a great rocker!!
on December 8, 1998
Compare it to old Van Halen, old solo Sammy, or all by itself, this album is one of the all time great album's of rock. The music, the singing, the songwriting, this album has synergies that only come once in a great while. Only "Inside" and "Get Up" sound a bit misplaced, but not near enough to put a smudge in its perfection!! A must have!