1980, Music

Women and Children First (1980) by Van Halen

I listen to this record and I don’t remember it a few hours, maybe even minutes later. The first time I listened to I wasn’t even sure I listened to it a couple of hours later, I had to look at the track listing to confirm. What I’m saying is that this record doesn’t have catchy songs – you’ll note that none of Van Halen’s biggest hits are on this record. And a Van Halen record without songs is, well, even worse than a Van Halen record with songs.

As you can tell (or maybe know) I do not like Van Halen. I like Eddie Van Halen as a soloist – when I was younger I probably loved him as a soloist – but, otherwise, I do not like anything about the band. I find their songs dumb, both musically and lyrically. I find their sound both boring and also way too proto hair metal for my liking. I don’t find David Lee Roth charismatic. I don’t particularly notice the other two guys, usually.

All those problems are here on this record only the songs are less catchy than the first two records. Moreover, nearly everything on this record sounds to me like it could have been done better by another band.

Maybe the songs aren’t really that dull, maybe it’s just that this sounds like 1980 Van Halen. Eddie’s guitar has a touch of distortion on it but not enough for it to sound like actual heavy metal. And nothing else in the band’s sound approaches even contemporary metal. (I mean, listen to a NWOBHM band and tell me which is heavier. It’s not remotely close.)

And when Eddie and Roth try to take it back to the roots, they don’t sound convincing. Roth always sounds like he’s in some club on the striop doing an imitation of what he thinks a blues singer should sound like, only his imitation makes it sound like a performance that belongs in like a musical or a cabaret or something, rather than in a blues bar.

I do not like this band.


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