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Fair Warning

215 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Vinyl
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner
  • ASIN: B000091NHC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (215 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,798 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

139 of 153 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Ferguson-Maltzman on May 13, 2005
Format: Audio CD
In 1981 all was not well in the world of the mighty VH. Tensions between guitarist Eddie Van Halen and singer David Lee Roth had been mounting, and it got to the point where Eddie had wanted to quit the group. He recorded music, possibly for a solo album, Roth heard it, and promptly wrote some lyrics--the result...FAIR WARNING. A rather, dark, cynical album, and one of the finest, if not finest, recording Van Halen ever made. The tensions within the band helped to fuel the fire, the intensity, and the passion of the recording process.

With the exception of Van Halen 3, (with vocalist Gary Cherone) "Fair Warning" was the least commercially successful Van Halen album. Although it is generally regarded among fans (especially VH purists) to be one of the bands' best albums.

Although still a "party" album, complete with sing-along choruses, "Fair Warning" is by far the band's darkest album. The overall vibe of the album, as well as Eddie Van Halen's riffs and solos, while undeniably catchy with great hooks, also have a cloudy somberness to them. David Lee Roth's lyrics, for the most part, are also somewhat more cynical than most of his work, before or since.

"Fair Warning" shows Van Halen at their zenith. Truth be told--the first six Van Halen albums are all masterpieces and essential to any great rock collection, but "Fair Warning" is the crown jewel of VH's output. Even more so than the classic debut album. "Fair Warning" simply shows each member of the band, and the band overall as a unit, at their finest. "Fair Warning" demonstrates Eddie Van Halen's best riffs, solos, and overall playing. It's flashy, yet not self-indulgent, intense, yet also has a lot of soul, something that a lot of technical wizards lack.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Martin Lemos on July 16, 2003
Format: Audio CD
In my opinion, FAIR WARNING was the heaviest album VAN HALEN had made up to that point. While the first albums have some killer songs with great melodies, on this album I think the band decided to throw all that to the wind and just get down and play some hard,heavy music. While other reviewers are right in stating that songs from this album are hardly played on classic rock stations, if you base you opinion on that fact, then you will be missing out on some great music. The album starts off with the heavy rocking MEAN STREET, which is a very good way to kick off any album. DIRTY MOVIES is next and it continues on the path that MEAN STREET started us on. SINNERS SWING while not as dark has a good guitar groove to it and some good rhythem to it. HEAR ABOUT IT LATER goes back to the heaviness of the first couple of songs and it just rocks you socks off. Of course the next song is the classic UNCHAINED, which is about the only song you will hear on rock radio these days. It starts off with a killer guitar intro along with a great drum backbeat throughout. I think on this song the band clicked on all cylinders. Hands down the definitive track off this album. I think you get the point by now, this album just rocks and for some unknown reason it gets overlooked. I highly recommend that you go out and get this album. You will not be disappointed.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By S. R. on November 20, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Van Halen's party-hardy with her [...] around her ankles theme took a sharp turn toward the dark side with the release of Fair Warning in '81. Partly because the band was beginning to age a bit, but mostly due to the fact that David Lee Roth's lyrics were being shaped by recent holiday trips to Haiti (of all Places). The realization came to Roth after finnally seeing that Haiti was not really a place of merriment for rich rock stars looking to party all over the world. Thus we see the change to darker, more frank lyrics (Mean Streets, Unchained). There is a bit of the ol' Diamond Dave represented here (Sinner's Swing, One foot out the Door) but the dark edges never quiet leave the entire collections of tunes. Ed Van Halen's then latest collection of authentic riffs give the album the toughness needed for the darker side, his sense of humor in his style being put aside for a more gritty, and dense playing. Fair Warning should have been a cross-roads for the band to progress into a more mature adult-oriented rock and roll band, but time shows it as the beginning of the end of the "Classic" Van Halen lineup, which preceeded the melancholy Sammy Hagar era. Fair Warning stands on its own merits as a classic Van Halen offering, it stands toe to toe with any other effort from the band. It seems that the direction the band took for Fair Warning could have moved them into the direction of such "serious" bands such as The Who or Led Zeppelin as their careers progressed, and would have allowed them to leave the "party band" image that Ed Van Halen is so intent of shedding nowadays. But it's all ancient history today.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By William Dorfer on June 28, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Van Halen is the type of band that can satisfy somebody with high expectations. The interesting thing about them is that while they certainly have a sound of their own, it seems like experimenting is a high priority for them. Between the hair-metal of "1984", the half-moody, half-good time "Van Halen 2" and the unstoppable monster of their debut album, "Van Halen", (all of which had their share of popular tunes), it's easy to see how something less commercial or experimental would tend to go unnoticed.
Unfortunately, that's the case with "Fair Warning". A brilliant album, yes, but the truth of thematter is that it wasn't remembered for high-on-the-chart singles such as "Jump" or "Panama". However, what it lacks for in commercial success it more than makes up for in clever songwriting and an overall dark tone. On a positive note, it's probably one of their overall greatest albums.
"Fair Warning" is the type of album where each song can flow pretty well into the following, even if the styles are a bit different. In addition, "Fair Warning" overall paints an easy-to-see picture. You can almost imagine a movie being made in the scenery that's painted by the rebelliousness of "Unchained" or the third-world neighborhood of "Mean Street". It's a land of murky tales and strange situations that's just so interesting and quite dark that you are brought in without hardly knowing. The imagery on the album covers, front and back, hint at what such a place might be like; twisted days where people go wild, uncertain events pop up out of nowhere, and all is portrayed by the soundtrack, a hard-rocking, moody masterpiece that is "Fair Warning".
All right, so more to the point, the music on this album is quite unique and interesting.
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