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530 of 601 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1984 it's not... it's more like 2012!, February 7, 2012
This review is from: A Different Kind of Truth (Audio CD)
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!)
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Tracked by 8 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 68 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 7, 2012 9:39:21 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 7, 2012 9:58:05 AM PST
FLOYD DMELO says:
Great review! Can you comment on the sound quality of the cd version? The samples I've heard on youtube have me questioning Ross Hogarth's production.

Posted on Feb 7, 2012 11:43:11 AM PST
Excellent review but may I make a little correction? Not your fault, I don't know what they're smoking at Rolling Stone but "She's the Woman" has always been, "She's The Woman" according to demos I've heard. "Tattoo" was actually "Down In Flames" and is a song that out of their old demos, I was so happy to hear all polished and made brand new. "Tattoo" isn't the only reworked song on the CD. "Big River" was once, "Big Trouble" and "Beats Workin'" used to go by the title, "Put Out The Lights". I have no problem with these reworks either. A bunch of old tunes used to be older tunes that were reworked for the better. "Mean Street" used to be "Voodoo Queen", "Hang 'Em High" was originally "Last Night" and "Romeo Delight" was once called, "Get The Show On The Road". Yes, I'm a VH fan.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2012 6:56:28 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 7, 2012 6:59:12 PM PST
FLOYD DMELO says:
I bought the CD this afternoon so now I can say without hesitation that the album sounds absolutely terrific. The production is stellar which goes to show how fallible it can be to base an assessment based solely on those low quality internet samples. I wonder how many other people fell into that same trap. Sammy Hagar, maybe? There's no denying that this album is absolute killer, one of Van Halen's best. This may very well be the best rock album of the past 10 years!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2012 5:43:56 AM PST
"FLOYD DMELO says:
Great review! Can you comment on the sound quality of the cd version? The samples I've heard on youtube have me questioning Ross Hogarth's production."

The sound quality is excellent, being recorded over several months at Henson Studios, and mixed gloriously at 5150 with a 256kbps output.

In other words, most excellent!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2012 5:45:50 AM PST
"Kevin McLenna says:
Excellent review but may I make a little correction? Not your fault, I don't know what they're smoking at Rolling Stone but "She's the Woman" has always been, "She's The Woman" according to demos I've heard. "Tattoo" was actually "Down In Flames" and is a song that out of their old demos, I was so happy to hear all polished and made brand new. "Tattoo" isn't the only reworked song on the CD. "Big River" was once, "Big Trouble" and "Beats Workin'" used to go by the title, "Put Out The Lights". I have no problem with these reworks either. A bunch of old tunes used to be older tunes that were reworked for the better. "Mean Street" used to be "Voodoo Queen", "Hang 'Em High" was originally "Last Night" and "Romeo Delight" was once called, "Get The Show On The Road". Yes, I'm a VH fan."

You are right. A great many songs have been "reworked" from previous demos, unused songs and some songs recorded but never put on actual albums. Nothing wrong at looking back at a formula that worked for them and propelling it forward with a better greater sound to them.

I'm a VH fan, too.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2012 5:47:37 AM PST
"FLOYD DMELO says:
I bought the CD this afternoon so now I can say without hesitation that the album sounds absolutely terrific. The production is stellar which goes to show how fallible it can be to base an assessment based solely on those low quality internet samples. I wonder how many other people fell into that same trap. Sammy Hagar, maybe? There's no denying that this album is absolute killer, one of Van Halen's best. This may very well be the best rock album of the past 10 years!"

I agree wholeheartedly. The leaked stuff sucked. VH is giving us rock at a great price and fantastic quality, so why not an official release as opposed to garbage circulating 'round the internets?

Posted on Feb 9, 2012 3:23:59 PM PST
D. Cool says:
Sounds good to ME! Sounds like Van Halen, only older. Brings back memories! I'll take "dinosaur rock" ANY day over the crap these kids call music today! I'll be waiting for Rap to croak until the day I croak myself! LOL

Posted on Feb 10, 2012 6:51:03 PM PST
runrummer says:
I enjoyed reading your review. This sounds like the long-awaited follow-up to 1984, and blows that one away. Not to mention all the VH albums that followed it. They don't sound older to me, except for maybe DLR's voice, but not by much. They sound rejuvenated and ready to rock like never before.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 10, 2012 7:07:21 PM PST
"Gator Carter says:
I enjoyed reading your review. This sounds like the long-awaited follow-up to 1984, and blows that one away. Not to mention all the VH albums that followed it. They don't sound older to me, except for maybe DLR's voice, but not by much. They sound rejuvenated and ready to rock like never before."

Yup, the time machine they're using is working!

Posted on Feb 11, 2012 6:45:20 AM PST
B. Scott says:
Another thumbs up on your review! I can't remember the last time I was this excited over an album release... oh wait yes I can, it was 1984 ! Can't stop listening to ADKOT, my family (& neighbors) must think I'm crazy blasting it away all day in my garage while I'm working on my project truck. Which btw I accomplished and incredible amount of work on the project while listening, it just made me get into the groove! I think I've found the Fountain of Youth in this CD (or maybe VH did and somehow channeled it via the music to anyone who wants a drink!). Awesome, just simply awesome.
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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

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