Saturday, August 17, 2013




Van Halen, with David Lee Roth, has a new album out that’s just as good as their best.
We’ve been waiting twenty-eight years for this album.
And it’s totally worth it!
The only dude missing from the picture is the only expendable one, really. Michael Anthony hooked up with Sammy Hagar and Joe Satriani to form Chickenfoot, so Eddie Van Halen’s wee bairn Wolfgang plays bass, instead. I don’t know that Wolf plays hugely better that Michael Anthony, but he’s definitely at least as good.
 A Different Kind of Truth boasts thirteen songs, twelve of which are fast enough and loud enough to compare favorably alongside the Ramones. Like a fine cheese, Van Halen has only sharpened with age.
“Tattoo,” “You and Your Blues,” “Blood and Fire,” and “As Is” all stand out in particular as examples of what’s missing in rock n’ roll today. In an age when most of what is called new music is actually mere dancing, Van Halen’s having a blast.
Their first album, plus Women and Children First and Fair Warning, form the band’s core body of work. The second album has some weak spots, as does Diver Down–“Happy Trails” exemplifies the kind of filler that took them in a wrong direction–and {1984} uses too much synthesizer. Those are all good albums. But A Different Kind of Truth ranks right up there with their top material.
No pics of the group when you buy the CD. Apparently they don’t want to be accused of packing aging in the packaging. But they do include the lyrics, now. They never used to do that.
“Big River” mentions Credence Clearwater Revival and Tina Turner. “You and Your Blues” refers specifically to the Rolling Stones’ “19th Nervous Breakdown.” Listen to “Stay Frosty,” which is the one sort of comparatively subdued track, and see if you hear a taste of Led Zep’s “Friends,” off their third album.
 That’s right. I’d like you to see if you can hear a taste.
Hey, blame it on spring. It’s in the air--getting drowned-out by Van Halen!

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