A Different Kind of Truth…that maybe only true Van Halen fans can handle
Artist: Van Halen
Album: A Different Kind Of Truth
Released: February 7th, 2012
Genre: Hard Rock / Metal
- David Lee Roth – lead vocals
- Eddie Van Halen – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
- Alex Van Halen – drums
- Wolfgang Van Halen – bass guitar, backing vocals
- She’s The Woman
- You and Your Blues
- China Town
- Blood and Fire
- As Is
- The Trouble With Never
- Outta Space
- Stay Frosty
- Big River
- Beats Workin’
- Panama (acoustic)
- You And Your Blues (Intro)
- You And Your Blues (acoustic)
- Beautiful Girls (acoustic)
I’m a huge Van Halen fan, and of course especially of Eddie, and I couldn’t wait to listen to the latest Van Halen release, A Different Kind Of Truth, from one of my biggest musical influences growing up in the 80‘s.
Yet, the truth be said, after listening to this album, I was left with some mixed emotions and questions, not necessarily always in regards to the music. My main questions were: Are these guys ever going to be relevant again–especially with David Lee Roth back in–and not be a parody of themselves? Can they shake this creative funk they seem to be in? Should they maybe have collaborated with Skrillex the way the Doors and KORN did? And seriously, would it not have been better to release these songs at the same time as some newer material?
Bands used to do this all the time in the not-so-old days, often in a double CD format. On one CD there would be strictly tracks that were strictly studio tracks, with the second CD being live versions of songs, alternate versions, or even B sides. This novelty alone would have made up for the extremely long time that Van Halen fans had to endure (14 years, but whose counting), as opposed to the Bonus DVD content of acoustic versions (which I could personally take or leave) of “Panama,” “You And Your Blues,” and the Van Halen II classic “Beautiful Girls.”
Further, can Diamond Dave’s voice hold up? This was particularly noticeable while watching the DVD content and it actually should be a cause for some concern. On the video, Dave is trying so hard (over-trying really) to perform his vocals that he continuously has to cough or clear his throat, which in essence is his body (throat) telling him that there is a problem. Hopefully Dave, or someone more qualified than myself, has observed this and he is getting things checked out, especially since they are touring in support of the album, and it seems that he has lost some range possibly because of something else that could potentially be going on.
The other big question that lingers with me is, when will they have a night on American Idol where they pay tribute to Van Halen?
On to the fun stuff… I found my favourite thing to do while listening to the songs was trying to figure out when they had originally came up with the song or concept(s) and how old I would have been.
For example, I figure that they might have wrote “Blood & Fire” around the Diver Down album, and “She’s The Woman” some time around Fair Warning. ”Big River” was like a little brother to “Running With The Devil,” so I’m guessing around Van Halen 1, “Beats Workin’” around Van Halen II, and “Stay Frosty” was kinda reminiscent of “Ice Cream Man” in approach, also off of Van Halen 1. By the way, I really did appreciate the transitions between the acoustic and electric guitar parts on “Stay Frosty.” In regards to placing the other songs I don’t want to ruin all the fun for the true VH fan, so I’ll stop there.
As for the musical performance, although there wasn’t any groundbreaking material from Van Halen in regards to guitar work and musicianship, I found little “diamonds” scattered throughout the album, such as on “China Town,” “Bullethead,” and “Big River.” Lyrics were weak on more than one occasion; which is probably why these songs hadn’t seen the light of day before now, especially in comparison to older material. The wittiest lyrics are located throughout “The Trouble With Never”:
“If you turn your TV on does it return the favour…”
I already covered the vocals issue, but I should mention that I miss Michael Anthony’s backing vocals as it sounds strange to hear a Van Halen song without them; especially these throwbacks.
“She’s The Woman” (which has inspired me to write a song called–you got it–”She’s the Man”), “Honeybabysweetiedoll,” and my absolute favourite, “Outta Space,” which had a lot of energy and what I feel was there best overall performance and effort as a band.
“As Is”…which is probably the way they should have left it.
Rob Howard is a ROCK Legend in his own mind and, according to his wife, thinks he knows everything. Rob can be reached at email@example.com