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VAN HALEN, KIDS


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#1 Christian

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 05:59 PM

That's right, you indie-rock/folkie/"Paste"-luvin' dudes. The new Van Halen CD releases today!

Where's our thread announcing this? Wasn't one started months ago, in eager anticipation? No?

NO!! No thread!

Alright, alright, we know the score. Andy once posted about how he doesn't understand why people might remain fixated on classic Eddie Van Halen riffs while they miss all the great music released in the last 20 years (or so). It's a fair point.

But this ... THIS is a major music happening.

Isn't it?

Am I just ... showing my age? Is Van Halen beneath the refined tastes here at A&F? Does no one care whether or not the new VH is "the true kick in the butt that arena rock desperately needs"? C'mon! We all need a little arena rock in our lives.

I'm callin' you guys out! Defend your apostasy! Or ... or ... I'll use some more exclamation marks!!!!

Edited by Christian, 07 February 2012 - 06:00 PM.


#2 bloop

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 06:32 PM

I like Van Halen, still put 1984 and Van Halen on my record player from time to time, but I didn't know they had a new one until you told me. I'll have to give it a go.

Edited by bloop, 07 February 2012 - 06:33 PM.


#3 Greg P

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 07:01 PM

Christian, I'm fully ready to lay down a cogent defense of early Van Halen to any of the pasty-faced A&F hipsters in the house. Bring it.

Those first three albums are remarkable rock n roll landmarks in many, many regards. They slipped with Fair Warning and then tumbled fatally with Diver Down, only to die a miserable death with 1984. BUT, BUT BUT!!! There is I, II and Women and Children First... and that trio will always stand apart in the canon of FM hard rock albums.

Eddie was a guitar innovator. Perhaps the only one to come down the pike post-Hendrix. His playing was not a novelty-- he truly rewrote the Holy Book of Riffs and that alone is a monumental achievement. He redefined the way a guitar could actually sound on tape and to this day has an electric guitar ever sounded so gut-wrenchingly primal or apocalyptic? (with so FEW effects processors, no less-- much has been discussed about the secret to his early sound, and it's funny that a full 30 years later folks are realizing it was mostly SHEER VOLUME... the most harmonically rich setting for an amplified instrument, btw... but i digress ). He transformed the way the instrument was approached, played and appreciated. It also didnt hurt that he wrote some memorable and original-sounding rock tunes, complete with occasional jazzy flourishes and extremely uncool key changes.

Having said all that, something tragic and lame happened to them around Diver Down and they NEVER recovered. The Hagar era was a complete waste of time. The "new" music is fairly rancid too, from what I've heard. I understand it's mostly revamped, unreleased tunes from their early years-- further evidence that old age and fame do something fatal to real rock n roll. Put on Romeo's Delight or Ain't Talkin Bout Love or the Cradle Will Rock and cry some man tears for the opportunities these geezers squandered.

Edited by Greg P, 07 February 2012 - 07:13 PM.


#4 Attica

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 07:03 PM

Just bought it on I-tunes. Yep I'm an old rocker.

#5 bloop

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 09:53 PM

Those first three albums are remarkable rock n roll landmarks in many, many regards. They slipped with Fair Warning and then tumbled fatally with Diver Down, only to die a miserable death with 1984.


Aw - I really like 1984.

(full disclosure: I'm a teacher) :P

#6 Darryl A. Armstrong

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 09:59 PM

I am reporting this entire thread to the moderators.

#7 Jason Panella

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 10:10 PM

The AV Club actually gave the album a pretty positive review. They mention that the first single "Tattoo" is one of the worst tunes on the album, which is good to hear. I was pretty underwhelmed.

Also, here I will admit that I'm more of a Hagar man than a Diamond Dave man.

#8 Darren H

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 09:19 AM

I made the mistake one day last week of looking at the Van Halen website, which featured b&w video of them rocking out, and it depressed the heck out of me. I'd always heard that Michael Anthony was the glue holding that band together. ;)

#9 Ward in SC

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 09:38 AM

That's right, you indie-rock/folkie/"Paste"-luvin' dudes. The new Van Halen CD releases today!

But this ... THIS is a major music happening.
Isn't it?


It might have been a little more major 10, 15, or 20 years ago. But I think it's still pretty cool.


Am I just ... showing my age? Is Van Halen beneath the refined tastes here at A&F?


<snort> Yes, my refined tastes!

VH circa 1978 to 1984 - best rock band in America (as in, rawk).
[I would like to maybe put Cheap Trick in that slot; but the Trick simply did not lay down a 6-album streak of gold to start their career in the way that Van Halen did.]

They were the essence of everything good about rock music. First of all, they had the blues and the boogie. They were not-always-clean fun with a capital F. Sometimes unsettling and sometimes threatening. Melodies, harmonies, and, well, Eddie Van Halen. And David Lee Roth? Not fair.
They were larger than life. And they did Kinks covers, and did them well.

So I certainly won't begrudge them this reunion, and I'll probably be picking up the new record at some point. I'm just curious about what happened to them between 1984 and now. Anyone?

#10 John Drew

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 09:54 AM

The Hagar era was a complete waste of time. The "new" music is fairly rancid too, from what I've heard.



I like the three original VH albums you refer to, but I have to admit that I was a bigger fan during the Hagar years than the Roth years. Maybe I just saw some underwhelming shows, but the boys seemed to have done too much partying before taking the stage for the concerts I attended during the Roth years. The Hagar concerts seemed much more focused, much less sloppy.

The first three cuts off of this new CD have been some of the worst that Van Halen has released. Almost makes you long for the Gary Cherone year(s)...

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah, 08 February 2012 - 09:56 AM.


#11 Jason Panella

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:02 AM

[I would like to maybe put Cheap Trick in that slot; but the Trick simply did not lay down a 6-album streak of gold to start their career in the way that Van Halen did.]



Quite true, though the Trick's streak of gold was four albums long (some might argue three and a half). That's pretty killer too.

#12 J. Henry Waugh

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:15 AM

Christian, a hearty +1 (do we allow that?) for the good humor of how you raised this topic.

I missed the arena rock era entirely. When I started college in 1995, it was a lock that any of my music-obsessed friends who liked Van Halen had an older brother who was also a fan. (The same applied for U2 then as well for most my age. Not true for those even two years older who were 13-14 when Joshua Tree hit them). Van Halen was just off the radar of any eldest sibling, outside of having seen the Right Now video a few hundred times on MTV.

I'd already begun diving into classic albums (and some not-so-classic), but had read a million times that I could skip everything from the 80s outside of Hip Hip and anything that was then called college rock, so I did. It is cheap and easy to give these albums a try now, so I'll give it a sincere effort.

#13 Greg P

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 12:27 PM

In my early teens, my best friend and next door neighbor built one of our areas only skateboard ramps in his backyard. That big ramp eventually became a hang-out for every flannel shirt-wearing punk in South FL... with a boombox on the perilous drop-in providing a steady cassette-flow of JFA, Black Flag, Descendents, Dead Kennedys, Husker Du etc... This was '83-'84. The ONLY non-punk band I can recall hearing blasted among this dogtown rabble was early Van Halen-- a fact that I consider very telling of how their early music was regarded by us. Roth's innuendos and cocky, SoCal suburban-kid banter about the female libido -- along with Eddie's mind-blistering, impossible-sounding lead runs-- provided the ideal soundtrack for us up-and-coming music snobs.

Jacob London wrote an interesting piece about the "subversive power of preemptive irony" in the The Replacements covering KISS' classic tune "Black Diamond" on Let It Be. Westerberg let the snooty, college radio brats of the 80's know that early KISS was badass (a fact us lifelong KISS fans already knew!) The author talks about hearing thme cover the tune live for the first time:

Immediately, I felt confused and self-conscious about how to respond. Everything in my rigidly disciplined rock music snob brain said that a Kiss cover was wrong. This was Kiss. A joke band. A pimple on the ass of good rock and roll, at least as good rock and roll was defined by my peers and the pop cultural elite to whom I owed my very sense of good and bad. But everything in my emotional experience and that of the rest of the audience simultaneously said the opposite. We all seemed to be loving it. Although as I looked around the room, I saw looks of guilt or confusion on more than one face–no doubt owing to the knowledge that however good the whole thing felt, one’s rigidly codified sense of cool and uncool was rapidly being turned inside out.


There's clearly still an element of this in my 21st century appreciation of early VH. The whole shameless, guilty pleasure thing is there in spades, but so is Westerberg's "I don't give a crap what you pansies think, this stuff still kicks ass."

#14 Andy Whitman

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 12:31 PM

There is also the Van Halen Vocabulary Analysis, currently up at Paste.

Edited by Andy Whitman, 08 February 2012 - 12:31 PM.


#15 Christian

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 12:32 PM

There is also the Van Halen Vocabulary Analysis, currently up at Paste.

Beautiful!

#16 Kent

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 02:20 PM

There is also the Van Halen Vocabulary Analysis, currently up at Paste.


Despite the fact that Van Halen didn't have a single until 1978, this is still pretty fun.

#17 Christian

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 03:21 PM


There is also the Van Halen Vocabulary Analysis, currently up at Paste.


Despite the fact that Van Halen didn't have a single until 1978, this is still pretty fun.

I've always thought their 1972-1975 period was their greatest. ;)

#18 Kent

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 03:47 PM



There is also the Van Halen Vocabulary Analysis, currently up at Paste.


Despite the fact that Van Halen didn't have a single until 1978, this is still pretty fun.

I've always thought their 1972-1975 period was their greatest. ;)


The Mammoth years with Eddie singing up until '74 when Dave joined. RAWK!

#19 J. Henry Waugh

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 05:06 PM

Greg P, I listened to the song you posted and that sound doesn't just doesn't work for me. It has everything to do with what I was listening to (and rejecting) when I was 13, and I am ok with that.

#20 Greg P

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:49 AM

Greg P, I listened to the song you posted and that sound doesn't just doesn't work for me.



Is it just the E chord in general that you dislike? Or maybe the freight train intensity of a tight rhythm section? Amazing guitar solos? Volume swells on verses? Songs about whiskey or contentious women? ;)

I challenge anyone to find a song from 1980 that rocks harder than Romeo's Delight.