530 of 601 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2012
This is the album Van Halen has wanted to make for over 10 years, even after all the infighting, the firings, the lead singer switches, David Lee Roth "re-joining" the band for a moment in 2000, and then again for a year or two in 2006, bassist Michael Anthony vanishing from view and replaced by Eddie's son Wolfgang, and meanwhile brother Alex Van Halen just keeps beating away on the drums... you know, it's only So Cal rock and roll, but they like it. And it's a formula that worked for all those years, so why not try it one more time? This is the result.
This is a short (and priced to move) album of "new" songs, so in that spirit I'm going to review this quickly, but if you know me, it never works out that way. Enjoy...
13 songs at just over 50 minutes:
1. Tattoo - from right off the jump, the sonic jet crashes into your ears. The Van Halen of old has landed, and David's somewhat older voice still soars over the destruction of guitars, drums and synths. This song reaches into my heart and grabs it, as it's friggin' Van Halen, man! This rocked so hard, and the ending just quietly silenced itself. Great song either way. It was number one the second it was released, and to be sure it's just a prelude of things to come on the rest of this album.
2. She's The Woman - according to an article by Rolling Stone magazine, this song sounds like an old unreleased song of theirs called "Down In Flames" from 1977. Sure it does, but who cares? It sounds fresh and loud and once again, it rocks! It's like 1983 all over again, and I can see 10,000 Camaros blaring this album - and this short song - out all over America this summer. This is a great rocker for sure!
3. You and Your Blues - the guitar riff is familiar, the voice is haunting and young, the drums come up and the vocal harmonies appear, and there it is, andother perfect Van Halen song. Did these guys jump into a time machine and set it for the 80's, because I'm all for it! This is the song of the album so far, it's rich and lush and the solos are perfect, and the rock is finally back!
4. China Town - look out, keep your heads down, and jump right in, this is THE speed rock song of the album - everything is double-time except for David's laid-back vocals, but it's the formula
that made them famous through over a dozen albums and compilations, greatest hits albums and live cuts, too. The guitar solo here is vintage Eddie, and is so freaking dizzying your head will spin, and then it stops for that one second and then the song jumps back in full blast! Look out, you're gonna get blown away by this one.
5. Blood and Fire - are the boys singing the history of their lives or of the band's, or of both? "Told ya I was coming back..." Dave moans over the smashing guitar work of Eddie, brother Alex keeping fantastic time, and young son Wolfgang just banging away on the bass. they've been through punch-ups, break-ups, silent glances and some of the best rock ever put on vinyl. Here they are in their fortieth year (!) of working this craziness out together, and I'll be honest, they've never sounded better, fresher and younger! Bravo!
6. Bullethead - this song is pure nostalgia, and it takes me to a lost track from "Women and Children First." Great stuff, a quick song, and insane lyrics from the boys who invented power-drill rock and roll.
7. As Is - As this song is, the drums tell you a monster track is coming. And it sure is, a behemoth of sound, quickly building up to David Lee roth once again keeping up in his own way against the all-out assault of the Van Halens. Who wins this fight on this song this time. I'll tell you - we do, and what a solo in the middle. Once again, classic Eddie at work and it is only getting better. As David half-whispers, "Never spoiled by progress..." Another winner!
8. Honeybabysweetiedoll - One of the odder tracks on the album, something like finding a foreign broadcast of Martian rock on the radio by way of Southern California, but it goes right into 1984 again, as if the boys had never stopped jamming together for all those years. It's sexy, and fast, and it's like a moonlight ride with your lover with the lights off doing 125 on the highway as you get closer to... oh, you know what! Another growling mastertake. The song ends quickly with a quick feedback right into
9. The Trouble with Never - what happens when your lover suddenly says no after so much yes? This song once again takes me back to the past glories of the band, but it's a great place to be,
and David's voice has never sounded more syrupy and with that sexy quiet growl he is famous for. Another classic.
10. Outta Space - What if Ted Nugent decided to play with Van Halen? This is the closest you'll ever get to hearing that, as the song's subject takes us to the stratosphere. Another screamer from David, and another wonderful solo from the master, and he's getting better with every song, and on this song you can feel every fret and string being tortured under his capable hands!
11. Stay Frosty - a bit of silly old timey blues, which makes me think this is a sequel of sorts to "Ice Cream Man," as the boys have always loved it, but of course jump right into a quick-time version of the song, and they're letting us know that it's good to have fun, but of course keep your karma careful, and who should know about the ultimate ups and downs but these guys? A great bit of solo Eddie work once again in between as well, and of course what Van Halen album would be complete without the big classic song ending?
12. Big River - now it's time for a bit of seriousness - not! They run right into this song as they have throughout, with abandon and the type of rock and roll that needs to be remembered, 100 percent! This is a great song and one of my picks for another hit, if they let it happen! The guitar work is solid and the solo here is unmatched and timeless, and even though you may have heard similar versions of it, this is Eddie Van Halen, one of the inventors of the speed solo, and here he is untouched. Serious masterwork.
13. Beats Workin' - for these guys, the final song on the album is a love letter to everyone who has ever wanted to start a rock band, to everyone who has failed, and to those who succeeded
only to let it slip out of their hands. The power of rock is here in all it's glory, and it's timeless, and it has kept them playing for four decades - young bassist Wolfgang wasn't even born when they started! A great way to close out the album, with a suggestion from the band itself: it beats working, all of it. It's rock and roll.
So, I had apprehensions, maybe it's because I'm almost 50 now and my rock and roll idols are dead or have gone soft and gone on reality shows to keep their names alive, or worse, gone off to cover Broadway show tunes. So here it is, supposedly the end of the world, and these guys have the audacity to put out an album of straight-forward good old fashioned rock and roll? Just a guitar, a bass player, a singer and a drummer? Well... yes!
I listened, I reviewed, and I loved every second of it. You young kids can call it dinosaur rock, but I dare any of you to tell these guys that. They are rocking their butts off, and it works for me!
In the end, I'm giving the album 5 glorious stars - they deserve it, they've restored my faith in true rock and roll, and the fun spirit four guys can have by just sitting down and playing what they've been doing since many of us were young, at least me.
Go now, buy the album, and as us old people say, crank it up to eleven! You'll be glad you did!
(thanks for reading, and please leave some feedback (or a vote) if you liked it or not, and also check out my other reviews here on Amazon!)
198 of 242 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2012
Van Halen is my favorite band of all time. I'd say my two favorite albums are VH II and Fair Warning. I have been waiting for this for 16 years since they released those 2 new songs off the Greatest Hits package. I remember that day like it was yesterday.
When I heard Tattoo, I was slightly discouraged initially. It wasn't what I was expecting, however I liked the song. But I kept the faith, and refused to bash the band like many others who heard Tattoo and discounted the rest of the 13 songs on the album without even a listen. Man oh man, and does the rest of the album kill! Each and every song following Tattoo are extraordinary songs. Van Halen have returned to form and given us their most aggressive album ever. And to the nay sayers who are complaining about them re-working old unreleased songs, so what? They are THEIR songs that were UNRELEASED for a reason. They were unfinished in the form they were in. I can't understand why a band isn't allowed to use their OWN material that THEY wrote and never released officially. Would you rather other writers come in or Van Halen to sound more modern like Nickelback or have Eminem come in and rap in the middle of a song? Quit complaining and thinking you can tell one of the greatest bands in history how they should sound or make an album. That's why they are Van Halen and you are you sitting in your mother's basement with a negative attitude. If you actually listen to the album, it is, IMO, their best since Fair Warning.
Stand-out tracks for me are: Chinatown, As-Is, She's the Woman, Trouble with Never, Stay Frosty, Outta Space, and Big River. However, each and every song is stellar. Even Tattoo which, when listened with the rest of the album, grows on you like a nice mustache. At worst I'd say 12 excellent tracks and one not bad track (Tattoo). If you ask me, that's pretty darn good.
A note on production: I was very scared of how this album would sound. I was afraid it would sound too glossy and polished and poppy. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that this album sounds just as good and as raw as any of their early albums. Big Brown Sound from Eddie and Thunderous drum sound from Alex is all there. Very pleased with the production! I feel that background vocals were handled very well also! While Mikey is missed, I didn't think about him once while I listened bc Wolfie nailed it. He is killing it on the bass (almost sounds like Sheehan) and definitely did a tremendous job on the backing vocals. Mikey will always be a part of VH but if that's what it took for these guys to get along again, have fun, and make a great album, then so be it. Wolfie is doing a great job at filling Mike's shoes!
A huge thanks to Van Halen for restoring my faith in modern music!
147 of 180 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2012
I'll open this review by saying I realize I'm in the vast minority with my rating. (As of this writing, less than 20% of the reviewers have given the album three or fewer stars.) My hope is that people will understand I'm sharing my open-minded opinion of the music and won't thumbs-down the review just because it doesn't align with their own opinions.
First, the good...
I'm absolutely impressed with how well each individual band member has held up over the years. In terms of technique and chops, I don't think Eddie has flagged one bit; his riffs and solos are just as clean and blazing as ever. Diamond Dave's attitude remains fresh and slightly obnoxious in the way VH fans like myself enjoy, and although he's not screaming and squealing orgasmically as much as he did in the late '70s, he doesn't come across as a watered-down version of himself like so many singers do when they're well past their prime but trying so hard to believe they've still got it. What can I say about Alex? While he's not showing much flash--nor does he need to--he still lays down the bedrock well enough. What really surprised and pleased me is how well Wolfgang slid into Michael Anthony's slot. He's got a smooth vocal upper range and his playing is like a clock, the perfect foil to Eddie's fretboard pyrotechnics. Wolfie even shows off a bit of technical complexity here and there without stepping on anyone's toes. The kid definitely has musician's blood in his veins.
Now the not-so-good...
Like everyone else reading and writing these reviews, I was completely pumped in anticipation of this release. Michael wouldn't be part of the project, which was a bit of a bummer, but we all saw that coming. Just to hear Eddie and Dave collaborating again full-bore more than piqued my interest and got me hopefully wondering. Would they challenge and inspire each other as they did thirty years ago? Would they create new sounds to be later imitated but never duplicated by others? Did they have more Camaro-blasting burger joint classics in them? Most importantly, would they rock hard?
ADKOT answered those questions for me, unfortunately not in the direction I'd hoped. Clearly from the reviews here, on various music sites, and in magazines and newspapers across the country, it's rocking a lot of people...I'm just not one of them. That's too bad, because so many folks out there are making comparisons between this latest opus and classics like Women and Children First and Fair Warning. I don't hear it. Hey, maybe it's my fault for not being sixteen anymore. When those earlier albums first came out, they had a certain something at once sexy, dark, and playful that insinuated itself into my teenage id. They inspired me to--for better or for worse--play guitar loudly, drive fast, and spray-paint my tiny universe in crisscrossed red, white and black stripes. Then again, maybe I just haven't given this album enough spins. The way it works for me with albums, at least most of the time, is a handful of tracks grab me right out of the gate while others are slower to reveal their charms.
So far, this new album hasn't revealed a single jaw-dropper. In fact, I'm hard-pressed to find even a thirty-second block of music that might just blossom into something great after multiple listenings (although the fade-out to "As Is" is a strong contender at the moment). The most ADKOT has done to this point is made me go back to the classic DLR-era cuts to see if I could define their mystique for myself. Maybe through that exercise I could put a finger on what I feel is lacking today. While most of what's missing amounts to an intangible spark at least partially attributable to what was my own coming of age at the time, there are a few aspects I can point to as what I consider definite weaknesses on ADKOT.
BACKUP VOCALS: Most great DLR-era tracks feature Eddie and Mike on backup vocals. These vocal harmonies are an instantly-recognizable VH fingerprint. What's more, they tie VH to a rock 'n' roll, R&B and Motown tradition, one in which the song was built on vocal melody. Perhaps the most important aspect of these backup vocals is that they elevate great tracks to anthem status as they become eminently singable to the masses. In the case of ADKOT, many of the vocal harmonies (to my ears) are built around multi-tracks of Dave's own voice. Instead of that great call-and-response vocal dynamic found in songs like "Runnin' With the Devil," "Unchained," and "Jamie's Cryin'," you get The Diamond Dave Show, which isn't my brand of whiskey. Yes, there are background oohs and aahs, but nothing like the construction of the aforementioned VH classics.
EXPERIMENTATION: There's always been at least one track, be it a proper song or an intro to another song, that featured some level of instrumental experimentation, like the sound engineer let the Van Halen kids run amok in the control room for an afternoon and left the tape recorder running. It's that kind of musical curiosity that resulted in "Sunday Afternoon in the Park," "Intruder," and parts of "And the Cradle Will Rock...," to name just a few moments of sonic chaos gone right. I feel like the Van Halen kids have grown up and are playing nicely with their toys now. Makes me want to say, "C'mon, guys. Grab a pair of scissors and RUN!!!"
SONGWRITING: This is by far the most subjective and undefinable element for me to criticize, but I feel the songs lack the musical depth and level of interest I've come to expect from early VH. This ties into the experimentation point at least partially, but taking the songs as a whole, I'm not getting any of that same air-guitar or singalong joy from these tunes that I'd hoped for. Never do I get to the end of any one song and say to myself, "Dayum, I just *gotta* hear that again," reaching for the iPod's back button. Nothing here is great all the way through for me. On the other hand, I could listen to "Somebody Get Me a Doctor" on repeat for an hour or more and be perfectly happy. Again, one of the more personal and subjective critiques.
PRODUCTION QUALITY: I dunno, maybe it's just how things are done these days, but I agree with an earlier reviewer who said the tracks sound spatially squashed. Ninety percent of the sound is pushing through the center channel. Feels like someone took all the furniture out of a Beverly Hills mansion and crammed it into a studio apartment on the Lower East Side. But it's not just about the separation; the EQ sounds muddier. Part of that that is due to Eddie's brown sound becoming more saturated, which has taken away a lot of the clarity. Every musician has a golden tone in his or her head, and maybe this is a step closer to that tone for Eddie, or maybe it's the evolution of his own ideal. Either way, it's a step further from what I want to hear. Too muddled and overblown.
Overall, I'm giving this album three stars, because while it's not making me want to dive in more and more with every listen, it's not actively pushing me away either. I'll still come back to it on occasion, and maybe I'll discover new gems every now and again.
In the meantime, be cool. Stay frosty.
32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2012
I absolutely can't believe it. I was expecting this album not not be good at all... I probably should have known better. This is an absolutely amazing album. It makes you wonder how they do it. The album is impossibly brilliant. It makes you feel like you can have fun again with rock and roll. I feel like I can breathe. I don't know how to explain it... Too many albums out right now are so freaking depressing (and in this economy, do we really need more of that?). This is what you want to listen to when you are having the best day of your life.
30 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2012
As "Van Halen II" is to "Van Halen" I, "A Different Kind of Truth" is unto "Women and Children First". It really is that good. "A Different Kind Of Truth" is everything Van Halen was about, when it was rock n roll; dark, mischievous fun. "It" still remains. Dave is as he was; obnoxious, hilarious and gregarious, the ultimate Master of Ceremony, though less sparkling I think due to mixing than anything else. But the band plows through these tracks as though this was 1985, full of confidence and power. I was discouraged with "Tattoo" like everyone else was, but I knew there was more to the album than that.
"As Is" is an incredible showcase for the band, Dave included, as there are some really memorable vocal spots on this song, as well as instrumental brilliance,
the nuanced delicate powerhouse "Blood And Fire" is an instant hit,
"Stay Frosty" is an everything and the kitchen sink kinda song and it's fun, funny and quite brilliant..
It goes on and on, and all I could think was, how much like "Women And Children" First this sounded. Which is perfect. I didn't catch on to "Fair Warning" 50% of that album was stellar. WACF was brilliant from start to finish. Other than "Tattoo", which is mediocre, there is really not one bad song on this album.
And you know, I read some of the 2 star reviews and this guy says "where's Eddie", "where's the song-writing".
Eddie is here in all his brilliance and the song-writing is top notch. Some people don't know what they are talking about. If you know Van Halen, familiar with the Roth years, "A Different Kind Of Truth" delivers, and in some way, is just as good as any album they put out almost 30 years ago. And crushes the Hagar version.
For that, I am very thankful
66 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2012
This is a shocking return to form. Their heaviest album since Fair Warning, it features Eddie blazing away on guitar like he hasn't in decades. For someone who has gone through so many problems over the years, it is amazing to hear him so thoroughly rejuvenated. Dave's voice has never been better--he has actually extended his upper non-falsetto register and is now actually singing rather than the singing/rapping mix he tended to favor the first time around. The vocals overall are just awesome--classic VH melody melded into unique arrangements over sledgehammer-heavy riffing. For those who feared that Mike's absence would leave a huge, unfillable hole, in comes Wolf, playing the best bass I've ever heard on a VH album and doing an astonishing job with the background vox, including passages where he hits the high notes in Anthony-esque fashion. How crazy is it that the perfect replacement for Mike ends up being Eddie's son? And how about Alex? What can I say, he's always been a monster, no change here--he sounds amazing as well. Some people are so put off with many of these songs being updated, new takes on old unreleased demos, and I don't understand what the problem is. VH has *always* mined the vaults for new ideas, going back to the earlier albums, and many bands do the same. It's still their own original stuff and it still explodes from the speakers quite satisfactorily. When it's this good, who cares where it came from or when it was written?
I was one of those that had basically sadly written off my favorite band forever after all the missteps since Balance. I am thrilled to have them back and in better shape than ever! I just turned 50 yesterday, and to have their triumphant return released a day after that is blowing me away. Can't wait to see them on tour this Spring.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2012
as a huge classic van halen fan (read: anything with roth - not hagar), i wasn't about to let them off the hook on this one. as one who is always sceptical of reunions, i expected/demanded something that was on par with their classic albums (the first through 1984). to me, why do it if they're going to phone it in? it would only diminish their legacy and be a waste of their time (and their fan's time).
when i heard the first single "tattoo" a couple of weeks before the album was released, i have to say that i was not impressed. still, i knew that it could be misleading as singles are often my least favorite songs. generally, the singles are chosen to appeal the lowest common denominator. no new news on that front.
i picked up a different kind of truth the day it was released (first one out of the box!). i took it home, popped it, and was absolutely floored. this album is not only on part with the classic albums, it is an extension. it is classic van halen, but also is a contemporary, modern take on it. i would go as far as to say that they outdid themselves on this one. the album is full of fire, passion, inspiration, and great songwriting and playing - all trademarks of the classic VH. still, it doesn't sound like a parody of itself. like i said, it is modern take on CVH.
the biggest surprise would have to go to edward van halen himself. i don't think i've ever heard him sound better or more inspired. much is made of original bassist michael anthony not being a part of it, but wolfgang is just as good (if not better) on the bass, and he does a great job handling the high vocal harmonies that were/are michael anthony's strong suit. alex van halen is in top form as well.
and then there's diamond dave, who will not dissapoint those of us taken by his wit, sense of humor, and exhuberance. still, the only critique i have would probably go to dave. there are moments where it seems as though he is trying a little to hard to be the singer's singer, as if he has something to prove to those who have said that he is not as good of a vocalist as hagar. what roth may not realise is that we love him just the way he is, and that his singing, phrasing, and what not is perfect for the band and has always been one of it's most appealing factors.
the album begins with "tattoo," easily the most radio-friendly tune on the album (thus, the first single), and just takes off into the stratosphere from there. in fact, after hearing the song in context with the entire album, i have grown to like "tattoo." the rest of the album is chock full of super-charged rock and roll (not one ballad on the record, and very little keyboards) done CVH style.
i could dissect each song, but what's the point. music, like all art, is a subjective thing. it would be better to just fork out the $$ and decide for yourself. about the only thing i will add is that if you are a CVH fan, it is money well spent, and i can't imagine too many people being dissapointed with this album.
thanks to ed, alex, dave, and wolfgang - you pulled it off!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2012
The Mighty Van Halen has returned with the best rock 'n' roll album since Nirvanna came along and destroyed the genre and allowed Britney Spears, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, and Justin Beiber to control popular music! They have really done it! They created a modern day masterpiece!
Eddie plays his best guitar ever and reclaims his place as the greatest hard rock guitarist. He obviously knew he needed to redeem a lot of bad will, from allowing VH to become too keyboard heavy with too many love ballads, to the horrible misfire of hiring Gary Cherone to sing while forgetting what his tone should sound like on Van Halen III, to getting too drunk to remember how to play anymore, and seeing the embarrassing display plastered all over youtube during the 2004 tour. Eddie totally redeemed himself for all past sins! Eddie also provides some of his best harmonies ever, and I was worried that his weathered speaking voice and cancer issues would affect that, especially when I first heard his monotone low octave harmony on Tattoo, but that is definitely not the case.
Dave is also in top form, writing some of the greatest lyrics and melodies I can recall in a very long time from anybody. The guy was hungry to prove himself again just like Eddie was. I've seen people making comments that Dave has lost range, and it's like they are just repeating what some clueless critic who doesn't know how to sing had said. Dave never had great range back in the day, and he's actually stretching his limits now. He did that on Me Wise Magic, obviously realizing that Sammy Hagar had set a vocal standard, and he needed to at least stretch his range a bit to avoid criticisms. He continued stretch on the new CD, and if you listen to Outta Space and parts in You and Your Blues, he's hitting stuff in Sammy's range. It's everything he can do to hit it, but he's hitting it, so please, no more of this silly talk about him losing range because you read some critic who can't sing say he has! He hasn't!
Wolfgang buries Michael Anthony on the bass, and forms a rhythm section pocket with Uncle Al that is a very big reason the new CD grooves so well! I have to believe that their personal closeness has a lot to do with them getting so in step with eachother. He also kicks ass on the high harmonies. I keep hearing people say that Michael Anthony's high harmonies are missed, as if they think the pitch on the high notes would be higher if Mike was singing. Harmony doesn't work like that. Wolfgang is hitting every note that Mike would have been singing. Those notes don't change just because the singer does. I get the feeling that Wolf and Dave like eachother a lot, just from seeing them interact. Dave probably knows it's best to make friends with Eddie's boy. I also get the feeling that Wolf really got into Dave's lyrics and melodies by the way he throws himself into the vocals so passionately. He and Dave sing great together, and when Eddie joins in, those Van Halen harmonies aren't begging for Mikey to return one bit.
Alex rocks the hell out of the drums, providing his nephew with a perfect partner to make everything sound as tight as I've ever heard music be. He does difficult advanced stuff, from the double kick beats to the speed changes. It's a bit surprising that with all the attention his brother's guitar playing gets, Al's very difficult and creative drumming never gets the same praise, despite everyone knowing how great he is.
Okay, since I have listened to this album about 50 times already, I'll do a quick song by song review:
Tattoo - When I first heard this, I was ashamed. I waited 14 years for this turd? After disappointments from bands like Kiss and the Eagles coming back after years to do mediocre cash grab lazy songs that didn't come close to their glory days, Tattoo seemed like more of the same. Then a funny thing happened! That song started popping up in my head every day. It really grew on me because it's got a groove that stays with you, and it's catchy with some fun lyrics. When an album starts out with "I've got Elvis on my elbow", I should have known the rest would be just as great! Eddie plays a mesmerizing rhythm guitar on this track that really sucks you into the groove.
She's the Woman - This was one of the old demo songs that VH used, and people really need to stop whining about that. It's done all the time! Even the Beatles went back and rerecorded One After 909 in 1969 after it appeared on their 1962 first demo. She's The Woman is a great rocker, and it showcases exactly why Wolfgang easily replaces Michael Anthony on bass and vocals. Just listen to the new version compared to the old demo and hear for yourself. All the reworked songs are improved upon!
You and Your Blues - This is a great song that I expect could be a single because it's got a great vocal harmony hook and melody that would work well on radio. Dave hits some Sammy Hagar range notes during the chorus, and Wolfgang and Eddie hit some super harmonies. This is another song where Wolfgang shines on bass and vocals.
China Town - Eddie starts this off with a great intro, and then it's hold on for the ride of your life, as Eddie, Wolf and Al kick the tires and light the fires. It's fast and frantic music at it's energized best. Dave's vocal phrasing is exceptional in this one, and the lyrics are stellar. When Eddie takes off on the solo, it's the first song where he steps up and displays skills that we thought he lost or that he never had. It's that good! Wolfgang's harmonies with Dave are incredible, as is his bass and Al's drumming. Perhaps the best track on the CD.
Blood and Fire - This is another great track where every member of the band shines. It almost feels like it's the band's anthem after all they've came through. The standout moment in the song is Dave saying "I told you I was coming back. Say you missed me. Say it like you mean it." and then Eddie answering him with a great guitar solo. The solo ends with an awesome nod to the Who, the way the power chords and drums play while the lead singer lets out a scream. Great stuff!
Bullethead - This is another rocker. It's a fun song with a great harmony by Dave and Wolfgang as they sing the albums name "A Different Kind of Truth". This is the shortest song on the CD.
As Is - This starts with a funny count in by Al, and after a short drum and guitar chord intro, Eddie and Al take off with some of the most impressive speed riffing I've ever heard. Dave sings this one great, and when Wolfgang comes in on the harmonies, it's just perfect. Eddie's solo in this is mindblowing. Dave does a lot of talking throughout various places, and it's always awesome what he says, but nothing is better than when the song changes into this great shuffle beat guitar in the middle, and Dave talks out some awesome lyrics. Everyone comes back in to rock the song. This song rocks so hard!
HoneyBabySweetieDoll - This has a bit of Ted Nugent mixed with a bit of a rap/hip hop delivery by Dave, and goes into some very interesting vocal harmonies. The most impressive thing about this one is how difficult it must have been to play because of all the stops and speed changes throughout. This is another song where Eddie delivers an absolutely mindblowing guitar solo. All 3 Van Halens shine musically on this one.
That's the Trouble With Never - This is another great rocker that starts off with a great lead guitar/bass riff hook. Dave sings this with a great sense of fun, and the line "when you turn on your stereo, does it return the favor?" is an awesome line. Great music, great harmonies, and another mindblowing solo from Eddie. Wolfgang once again shows himself to be a much better bass player than Michael Anthony. The kid is really THAT good.
Outta Space - This song is just balls to the walls ass kicking rock music! You would think that Dave's singing on this would shut people up about his "loss of vocal range", but it doesn't. He's singing in Sammy's range here, folks. You can almost hear Robert Plant singing "Been a long time since I rock 'n' rolled"! Eddie delivers yet another mindblowing guitar solo.
Stay Frosty - This could be the star of the CD. Stay Frosty could be released as a single, and it could become a national catch phrase if it is. It has the obvious connection to Ice Cream Man, but I can also hear Z Z Top's La Grange, Eric Clapton's Motherless Child, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band's Aberdene. Maybe a little Stray Cats thrown in there, too! It's fun, swinging, and has catchy hooks and lyrics. Wolfgang and Uncle Al lay down a great boogie, and Eddie, once again, provides a mindblowing guitar solo. Stay Frosty!
Big River - This is another strong rocker, with great guitar, awesome bass, and some great harmonies by Dave and Wolfgang. Guess what Eddie does again? Yep, another mindblowing guitar solo. He is on fire on this CD like never before!
Beats Working - The CD closes with another strong rocker with great harmonies. After all the hard work that obviously went into this record, it sounds like the fun and satisfaction they all got from knowing they just made a really special album that comes along so rarely made it all worthwhile and didn't make it feel like work. And it's got a cowbell!!
That's all for me. Go out and buy this CD and support great rock music so we can bring it back where it belongs. A Different Kind of Truth is one of the best albums I've ever heard, and it rates right up there with Van Halen's first album.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2012
Been listening to the album since it came out. Man, I love it.
Fav tracks: She's the Woman, Big River (one of Eddie's best face melting guitar solos ever at 1:46, no kidding), Beat's Workin' and You and Your Blues...ah heck, I'll throw Stay Frosty in there cause it's a lot of fun (Dave's a riot).
Truly has the classic VH sound.
A final comparison appropriate for many in the VH generation (certainly for me anyway):
The Star Wars prequals - I wanted to love them. I had a sinking and hollow feeling after I watched them, but wanted to believe they were great (I even fooled myself for a while). I read reviews that said they were great movies. I wanted the greatness of the series from the glory days of my childhood to return. With each re-viewing, I saw even more clearly what genuine steaming piles of crap these movies were. They were so bad, they actually tarnished the greatness of the originals for me.
The new VH album - I wanted to love it. I had a sinking and hollow feeling after I heard "Tattoo", but wanted to believe the album could still be good. I wanted the greatness of this iconic band from my childhood to return. With each re-listening of the entire album, I heard even more clearly that this is truly great classic Van-Halen...that Eddie has reverted back to his 70s/early 80s electrifying self...that flamboyant Dave, while range-challanged, can still rock the mic in his inimitable, hilariously cool way...that they can make songs that amp me up in my car, put a smile on my face, and make me want to grab a babe and party. I haven't heard any song that made me feel like taking on the world with a stick shift and a six pack in a loooonnnnnggggg time (no I don't drink and drive, buy ya know what I mean!).
No cool-aide drinking here guys. I've had time to reflect and compare this album to their first six AND the bootlegs from the 76 demo and house parties: this album is the real deal. They are back. And after almost 30 years of waiting, for this to happen, it's nothing short of a miracle from the rock gods!!!!
27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2012
Van Halen somehow captured the magic 18 years later. It helped that they used the old demos as a starting point, but really allowing Dave to steer the ship (at least lyrically) is the big gain here. This record is HEAVY, it's a tank rolling down a suburban street running over compact cars and flying a pirate flag that was thankfully found in the attic (admit Hagar era VH was not exactly controversial) Dave is 100% counterculture, living by the Tao of Dave and Dave only. The VH brothers have had since 1998 to get the music right and they did a killer job. Wolf's bass (if he did play and not Ed)sounds more like Billy Sheehan than Mikey, which gives the CD an "eat em and smile" feel as well. Short answer, hide your daughters, Van Halen are back!