I had to. I really did. I saw the video for Tattoo and ever since then I've been obsessing on if the rest of the album was as bad as that piece of shit song. I'm glad to say that it isn't, but not by much. Probably 50/50, and for some classic sounding Van Halen, I'll take it. The songs I like on here are the ones they went back into the vaults and re-recorded, songs like She's The Woman, Bullethead and Blood And Fire, which was originally called Donut City and appeared as background music in a movie Eddie Van Halen did the soundtrack for in the early 80's called Wild Life. Did you see it? Probably not, and it doesn't matter. I'm just bringing it up to illustrate the point that some of this stuff goes waaaayyy back in the Van Halen catalog, but, some of this stuff on this release is brand new, and that's scary, because it's really fucking good, standing up alongside anything Van Halen has ever released in their illustrious career. Honeybabysweetiedoll, Stay Frosty, all just fantastic, even if Stay Frosty is just an update of Ice Cream Man with a superior hook in it. Look, I'm a long time Van Halen fan, saw them many times back in the daze, and I can say that this is a real deal Van Halen album. I totally didn't give a shit about Van Hagar, so I haven't been keeping up with the band, but man, after putting this CD in and just cranking it up and hearing the pomp and bombast of it all, it's Rock & Roll familiarity brings a warm, fuzzy feeling to my old jaded heart. Eddie's guitar work on here is nothing short of phenomenal. Gawd damn can that man play. And to address the white elephant in the room, yes, Diamond David Lee's voice is shot - kaputski - but it's still cool to hear him shucking and jiving and riffing on what Eddie's shredding away on the guitar with, but still, this would of been an AMAZING release if DLR could still sing like he used to. Booooooooo. When you hear the spots where you'd expect a yelp or a scream, ala the good old days, and instead, you hear this old, cracking, straining voice trying to hit the high notes, it's pretty sad. And oh yeah - Wolfie's bass playing sucks, and so do his back up vocals. Bring back Michael Anthony or it's not a real Van Halen reunion. But for a 3/4's reunion, this album will do just fine. I dig it. :-) Available from Warner Bros. Records.
Idle Gossip updated
Music Review: Unfair Fight - False Walls
Music Review: The Misfits - Live At The Forum
Gig Calendar updated