Van Halen - Van Halen
Published in 1978
Sometimes, one realizes that they have more awesome friends than they thought they did. I mean, one knew that their friends were fucking awesome, and knew that was why they were their friends, but it takes a special kind of moment to realize just how awesome their friends are in context. That is why there is the Guest Album Project, and that is why I am proud to call these people my friends.
This one is about Van Halen, one of the best examples of late 70's to 80's rock on record, and one of my favorite bands to listen to when I am on the road. The write up is performed by one Zach Gallegos, a man I have frequently mentioned on the project, who is in the three album suggestions club, and has another one on the way. Awesome write up, just awesome.
Hello TAP readers! This is my first post on TAP as a guest contributor to my friend Matt’s excellent site here. My name’s Zach, I’ve known Matt for longer than I care to admit and hopefully these entries will stand up to the previous work. I’ll warn the readers now that unlike Matt I am a bit more biased in my music selection. This doesn’t preclude me from doing different genres. I actually enjoy pretty much everything, no lie. Country, Metal, Hip Hop and I even have some French club tracks on the old iTunes. All this means is I don’t give a fuck if you want me to listen to something, I’m gunna do my own thing and you’re gunna like it. GOT IT?! YOU’LL READ THIS AND THEN LISTEN TO THESE ALBUMS AND YOU’LL FUCKING LIKE IT!!! Sorry, I have outbursts from time to time. Which brings me to my next point; if the cursing offends you then fuck you. Enjoy.
My first album project contribution will be that of Van Halen’s “Van Halen”. You see ladies and gentlemen the band Van Halen has a special place in my heart not only for dear Edward’s face melting licks but also that I grew up listening to Van Halen. Yes that’s right I’m 25 and grew up listening to Van Halen. The reason for this lies with my father. Van Halen was the first band my dad saw live and one of his, if not the, all time favorite. So yes ladies and gentlemen the cradle did indeed ROCK. This album to me though is the quintessential Van Halen test piece. It has everything a true Van Halen fan would want. Screaming licks from Eddie on tracks like Eruption and Ain’t Talkin Bout Love, a classic cover in You Really Got Me and of course the cool lyrical stylings of one David Lee Roth. And lord knows if you’re anything like me you prefer, dare I say DEMAND, David Lee Roth over one Sammy Hagar. I, unlike apparently most of the people who actually grew up in the 80’s, have not developed an immunity to the terribleness of Sammy Hagar. When I hear Sammy Hagar’s voice I want to perforate my ear drums. No I can’t drive 55 but I certainly can’t listen to you without contemplating homicide sir. I digress.
I played a lot of guitar as a kid and Eddie Van Halen is a god to all guitar wielding prepubescent boys so naturally I’ve taken a stab or two at some of his classic riffs but for me nothing screams early Van Halen like the phaser in Ain’t Talkin Bout Love. That riff is powerful and crushing all the while simplistic. When Ain’t Talkin Bout Love comes on some of the TERRIBLE radio stations down here in the bible belt it is a GOD SEND (no pun intended). When you hear this song you can’t help but crank it, roll down the windows, look at Weezy next to you at the stop light and give him the nod. Yea I hear your subwoofer but do you FEEL that fucking phaser bro?! Didn’t think so.
Now sadly like ANY great album there’s a track or two you could do without. For me it’s the overly typical 80’s tracks. Things like I’m The One or Ice Cream Man. But at the end of the day will you take these mediocre tracks with the likes of Jamie’s Cryin and Runnin With the Devil? Fuck yes you will because you’re a god damned American. And if you’re not an American I’d wager you’ll still be down to rock out. When I hear Van Halen’s signature sound I can’t help but get super motivated and I think if you were to put this album on you’d understand right away within the first 30 seconds of Runnin With the Devil. Between the beat on the drums and the pace of the guitar your blood boils. There are also some easily overlooked details in these tracks. One of my favorites is the haunting hook on Little Dreamer. That harmony on the “oooooh”s has this epic hollow feel that makes those little hairs you try to get rid of on your ears stand up.
And that, my friends, is why we have friends.
All in all this is one of the greatest rock works of all time let alone that decade. If you disagree I’m all for it but I want to hear why haters. TELL ME WHY!!! That’s all I’ve got for this entry but I look forward to hearing your opinions (no really I do please don’t be fooled). Also while you’re at it take some time to visit the sites linked on this page and if you can spare it Give Phil Five guys. Thanks for taking the time to read my bullshit.
I think he nailed this album, one of my favorites of the era. I don't have anything really personal to say about it, other than this is a great, not optional album, and you really should hear it, merely so you can hear Eddie Van Halen play it.
"Okay, Clone Wars." "Zing."