Van Halen's A Different Kind of Truth: A First Listen

Categories: First Listens
"The Trouble with Never"
With barely a break from the last song, they're still turning out molten boogie molasses, with the first comprehensible David Lee Roth lyrics in a few tracks and his most hilarious ad libs on the record, most of which reference Alice in Wonderland and finish off one verse with oh-my-god "1-800-Tell-Me-Baby." Singlehandedly made the 14-year-wait worth it. Less so: Roth's fake Leonard Cohen monologue in the middle. Finishes with a good koan: "When was the last time you had something for the first time?" Bad rhetoric for a reunion album, though.

"Outta Space"
"We outta space," get it? This one's fucking goofy, driving as hell, with Roth wailing about galaxies like some strange combination of Axl Rose and Nick Oliveri. Some tossed-off sparks from Eddie and severely weird chord somersaults remind you that this band will never be generic.

"Stay Frosty"
Hilariously, they tribute their own "Ice Cream Man" from the debut -- why not just name this Van Halen IV? It has a new member and everything. In case you're unfamiliar, here's how it goes: Eddie plays a quicksilver blues shuffle on acoustic, Dave knits a nonsense yarn (in 1977 it was Raekwon-esque ice cream entendres, in 2012 it, who knows, references Buddhist monks and camels), then electric crazy crunching horns in and gallops away with plenty of solos in between. Am I a bad fan if I prefer this to the original?

"Big River"
Wolfgang's bass is Skrillex-level here: booming, blown-out, and a little bent. It almost charges at you; think "Tramped Underfoot" if said foot belonged to Brontosaurus on Four Loko. This is probably the first song on the album one can imagine on the radio, even though the chorus is just the title like "Tattoo"'s was. Eddie stays in the corners until it's time to finger-tap his ass off. Good job, gentlemen.

"Beats Workin'"
Assholes. Except they really do work their asses off on this one. Epic solos, full-month key changes, double-tracked Roth. Although they really are lazy shits, too: Roth really never had to sing on this album, there weren't any ballads or particularly melodic ones, and on top of that, maybe one and a half songs served up a hook. They know rabid fans from 14 years ago will take what they can get. Assholes. Beats workin'.

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31 comments
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swizzle
swizzle

This guys a jerk!  He has never listened to any of the earlier albums!  VH was never metal, my ass!

Heckle
Heckle

I am 52, saw VH with Sammy, saw VH with Dave (2007/2008) and just saw them in Philly with Kool & The Gang (Note: Kool & The Gang got dey sit togetha) ... VH was good for the energy required in your late 50's ... Dave was stiff and everytime he did a high kick I worried that he would break something (vocals were weak as is to be expected)  ... Eddie looked sober and straight for the first time ever (had to sit down for the solo .. but it was genious as always) ... Alex is Alex ... Baby Huey has more confidence now but he don't look right with the aging metal band... It's all about the cabbage baby (believe it!) .. the tour will probably gross 125 million at least.My most disturbing revelation was not the bands performance... it was looking around the stadium and seeing the fat and miserable 50 year old fans (some of them with their kids in tow) that looked painfully unable to get down anymore ... no more old guy concerts for me!

Ray Dio
Ray Dio

The album lacks hooks and Dave didn't really sing. Seriously? I guess we we listening to different albums...

Justin Marsh
Justin Marsh

This man makes a living being an acerbic asshole. Knowing that you'll meet a legion of him in hell is the primary motivation to "stay frosty."

buy to writing essay
buy to writing essay

first single from the new album impressed a lot. will see what will be with while CD

BigPapiRicoMan
BigPapiRicoMan

1) "Stay Frosty" - Yes you're a bad fan if you like it better.  "Ice Cream Man" is the rockin-est song on the first album.  Besides "You Really Got Me".  And "Runnin with the Devil". And "The Atomic Punk".  And "I'm the One".  Actually they all equally rock way better than this song.

2)  Were they ever metal?  All of "Fair Warning" is metal.  Take "Mean Streets" for example.  And video not-withstanding, "Hot for Teacher" is a pretty intense song. 

anthonyaap
anthonyaap

Dear Dan Weiss,

1. Do you even know what speed metal is?

2. You wrote, "More metal. Is it weird that I never remembered them beingso metal? Were they ever? Are they trying to prove something?"  Did you ever actually listen to the first four Van Halen Albums?

VH4EVR
VH4EVR

I'm proud of VH.  They went back to their roots to give us all what we needed so desperately to hear again.  Thank you so much Al, Dave, Ed, and Wolfie....  You guys have truly hit this one out of the park.  See you on tour !!

Ba5150
Ba5150

You obviously have a hard-on for Dave. sammy fan?

Rwbean
Rwbean

this guy dan weiss wrote the review without listening to the cd. it wound be laughable if anyone actually ever paid this idiot to write anythithing at all .

Alibazzi
Alibazzi

Finally an honest review.  It's a decent record but that's about it.  DLR can't sing.  For whatever reason, everyone talks like this is the 2nd coming of Christ.  I'm happy VH put out some new material but it's just not that great.

Sdpaxe
Sdpaxe

Seems like some critics really hate VH for being VH. So what if they used demos and tracks from the early days...it's still THIER music! I'm glad to hear Eddie playing better than ever as well as Alex. One thing missing from reviews is anything about Wolfgang's playing. I think it sounds incredible and fits in great. Loved Michael Anthony, but this is my type of bass playing. I don't care who dislikes this album, I love it. It's just a lot of fun. Something I think a lot of musicians have forgotten about is that's what it's supposed to be.

Sweendog
Sweendog

I agree with that sentiment regarding Wofgang's playing.  MA's backing harmonies are missed however.   It seems the latter VH recordings with Hagar, the bass was not as loud or pronounced.   Perhaps Eddie was so in control that he just wanted the bass as a background support for his riff and solo work.  Could it be that Wolfgang demanded that the bass be turned up and that the bass parts be made more complicated?  I hope so.  He is shredding on the bass.   Maybe MA didn't have enough power to make demands.   Wofgang may have said ..."Fuck dad!  Quit hogging the mixing board!  Turn my bass up!"  Whatever happened...the album kills!!!

Jill Simper
Jill Simper

woah, this is cause for a tattoo celebration. , I'm getting a new tattoo to honor my girlfriend in a way that only a some great body art could express, So, I found this site name tattoo ideas, showed me how to download some tattoo fonts and create a temporary tattoo. Also, got some sick tattoo ideas for 2012. Awesome.

Mugwomp
Mugwomp

"a slow, bluesy vamp isn't an opening track"~~~

You must have hated the opening tracks to Van Halen II (You're No Good) and Women and Children First (And The Cradle Will Rock) and Diver Down (Where Have All the Good Times Gone!).

Would have been nice to have a blogger that was familiar with Van Halen and not a self-appointed music "expert".

anthonyaap
anthonyaap

I think the writer has made it perfectly obvious that he only heard one or two Van Halen songs on the radio. He seems pretty clueless.

Anthony
Anthony

This review just sounds so much like some dick who tried but never made anywhere near the grade to make it himself. Never have I ever slagged off any music in this way whether I was a fan or not! And this guy gets paid for writing this crap??? Somebody get him sacked pleeeeaasse!

Sweendog
Sweendog

Can't remember VH as being "that heavy"?......Obviously never listened to Light Up the Sky, Sinner's Swing, Atomic Punk, One Step Out the Door.....    How does this guy get license to write a review with no knowledge of VH's catalogue?  They actually pay this guy?....

Mugwomp
Mugwomp

 Do amateur bloggers get paid? Good gods, I hope not.

The Atomic Punks are back, baby!

Going to be a rockin' summer...

Mr.Mike
Mr.Mike

Dave plays acoustic on Stay Frosty.  As he did in ICM.  

PAF wax
PAF wax

I'm a VH fan from waaaaay back in the day. I love A Different Kind of Truth, but I also like this review. Even though it's negative, it's funny, and offers a few insights. Plus, it lets me imagine Eddie in Blue Cheer. Damn, that would've been something. Move over Jimi, heads-up Eric, and, er, Leigh Stephens, you can be the guitar tech now. "I done called my congressman and he said quote -- dig this, boy" (dinosaur death noises)

Tauschitz
Tauschitz

Terrible review. Simply awful. He doesn't remember VH being this heavy? Is he serious? No ballads? After the years of sappy awful ballads from the Sammy years, THANK GOD.

This is a fantastic album.

Tom
Tom

Either that or maybe he is just yankin our chain and actually loves the band and only wrote what he did to get a rise out of us fans for attention.

Na....can't give him that much credit.

Tom
Tom

I don't know what else to take from this article other than it seems as if this guy is a Sammy Hagar fan and is bitter that Sammy is no longer the front man for VH. It seems that way with all the hate of the band, bashing Eddie and knocking Dave's singing. Funny though, through all what this idiot claims, Van Halen has changed the landscape of rock forever and are reaquainting themselves with the music world with an album that absolutely kicks ass!! Hey Dan, jealous much?

Matthew
Matthew

Mr. weiss asks if he is a bad fan for liking Stay Frosty better than Ice Cream man. No sir, you are a bad critic for lying to your readers ( if you have any) about this excellent album. Did you really criticize it for a lack of ballads? Then he goes on to say I don't remember VH being this metal? He concludes his review by calling the band A**holes. Twice! The classic rock world is rejoicing, while VH fans are misting up, and pinching them selves in disbelief over this incredible disc. I think you would prefer chickenfoot, mean while this band has added a second night at the Staples center. I am glad you liked Stay Frosty, it's good advice from a "nonsense yarn spinner"!

Mikeysny
Mikeysny

worst thing I have ever read, total a$$hole, not a single meaningful observation

Hank1980
Hank1980

So Sammys writing reviews again?? LOL..VAN HALEN IS BACK !!!!

Jyoung819
Jyoung819

How in the hell do you have a job? You honestly have no idea how to write a review or how to determine what is good music. I bet you're the guy who slams Van Halen one minute then goes off and listens to Michael Bolton. Get a life, loser. 

Alan Scherstuhl
Alan Scherstuhl

You nailed it! Picky music critic types are always sneaking off to listen to Michael Bolton!!

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