Van Halen - A Different Kind Of Truth (2012)



Something a little different here on the the Thirteenth floor. Today we'll be looking at what can probably be described as the most anticipated album release since Guns And Roses "Chinese Democracy," Van Halens first full length studio album with original lead singer David Lee Roth in 28 years. Since the last DLR Van Halen we've had 5 different presidents, seen shows like Seinfeld and Friends come and go, and the boys them selves have been through two other lead singers.

Van Halen formed in the early 70s, hit pay dirt with the release of their classic debut album. They continued releasing at prolific pace until 1984 when internal tensions tore the band apart. lead singer David Lee Roth split to start a solo career while former Montrose front man and solo artist, Sammy Hagar was brought in to guide the ship. This incarnation of the band remained successful through the mid-90s when internal tensions pushed Hagar out of the band. Enter former Extreme lead singer Gary Cherone. The less said about his brief, one album tenure in the band, the better. The band has flirted, rather publicly, with both Roth and Hagar over the years with nothing solid coming from the band...until now. But before we get to the new album, I want to take a look at the bands timeline and the front men that drove them.

David lee Roth is your first real girlfriend. She's fun, she's exciting. She's into trying different things because no one has told her that's not what you should be doing. Ultimately the relationship is doomed though. Your both young and volatile. Little things become big things and big things become land mines. You begin to wonder about other people. After all, this is fun, but what do other people have to offer. The break up is ugly, scars are deep and animosity remains for a long time.

Enter your first wife, or Van Halens case - Sammy Hagar. She's safe, easy, there are no dangerous highs, but there are no dangerous lows either. She's exactly what you need to get your life back on track. It's easy to fall into a routine with her. But deep down part of you still years for the highs and lows, for the volatility. The first wife isn't the person to give that to you, so you begin to drift apart. You say some things that you probably don't mean, but the break up is unavoidable.

You drift around a bit, not sure what direction you want to take your life at this point. Feeling old you decide to look up that first girlfriend. You get together you have drinks, but the old wounds fester quickly and you realize she is not what you need in your life right now. Enter Gary Cherone. He is the rebound girl. The girl that promises to be everything all your other loves were and more. But you've lost your way. You don't even know who you are any more. You have no identity. Ultimately the relationship is a disappointment. You drift apart, there is little anger, but you both realize it's not meant to be.

You call the ex-wife and decide to try to patch things up for the kids (or the money). Things start out well enough, but she's far too invested in her own life at this point to give the relationship the time it deserves and despite your best intentions, you decide its too much trouble to pursue the relationship further. On the way out she also takes a lot of your friends with her.

Again rudderless, you run into the first girlfriend through happenstance. Both of you are deeply scarred. You begin to see a little more of each other, agreeing to take things slow this time. You choose to deal with the issues you've buried in the past rather than let them lie festering. Things start to work out and you are genuinely happy. You begin telling your friends and family. They are guarded in and unsure. And it's with that sense of guarded optimism we turn our attention to Van Halens new album. The first with legendary front man David Lee Roth since Reagans first term in office.

A Different Kind Of Truth:

13 tracks in length:

1. Tattoo - The First Single *** 1/2 stars out of 5
2. Shes The Woman - Uptempo Track *** stars
3. You and Your Blues - Very Catchy **** stars
4. Chinatown - This track Rips - *** 1/2 stars
5. Blood And Fire - Almost a Swing Vibe - ***
6. Bullethead - Another Blistering Track - ***
7. As Is - Should Have Been the First Single - **** 1/2 stars
8. Honeybabysweetiedoll - Eh, weakest track so far ** 1/2 stars
9. The Trouble With Never - Another Very Catchy Song ***1/2 stars
10. Outta Space - Not big on The Chorus *** Stars
11. Stay Frosty - New Ice Cream Man/ Weak Until it Kicks in ** 1/2 stars
12. Big River - Awesome Song/Very Punchy ****
13. Beats Workin' - Worst Track on the Disc/ Total Schlock ** Stars

Van Halen made a rock album in 2012. It's heavy, full of energy and classic Roth cheese. Eddie sounds amazing and even though there is no "Eruption" on here its a 180 degree shift from Van Halen III. Pure rock bad assdom here.
Some have said the album sounds like a Roth solo disc and I understand that. The band misses Micheal Anthony. His back round vocals gave the music an extra texture, a lushness that's missing here.
Overall though, the album is a triumph. It's a lot better than it has any right to be. So sit back have a couple beers or Mountain Dews, whatever suits your fancy, and just rock out like its 1982 again.

**** stars out of ***** - Definite pick up

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