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Van Halen in 2018...
Hmm. In reviewing the tracks, I'm wondering if I'm elevating the album because of basically three tracks:

And the Cradle Will Rock
Everybody Wants Some!
In a Simple Rhyme

I vastly disagree with Klosterman about Cradle; it's easily a top ten VH song, if not top 5.

"Everybody" is just classic party VH. Maybe not a great song by itself but so representational of the band's joie de vivre.

"Rhyme" is a personal favorite so my biases are coloring that. Regardless, I hold it up as a great song and a great VH song: it's catchy AF, musically pleasing, and pop without being insulting and rock without being alienating.

Rest of the album is sort of a wash for me, though I also like "Take Your Whiskey Home."
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WACF is all about 'Romeo Delight' for me. That's one of VH's best songs.
(09-10-2018, 09:43 AM)martianman Wrote: I honestly love those Hagar-era albums, and "Balance" is better than you remember it being. They just started getting really pop-music with the songs, which is what I think is part of what led them to getting rid of Sammy. I completely forgot about that last album with DLR--I guess I'll be getting on Spotify today and will listen to that.

EDIT: And yeah, this is my thoughts on Sammy Hagar--"a rock star who doesn’t act like a rock star, a self-aware interview subject, a laid-back workaholic and the pop metal version of Jimmy Buffett." I never lost my mind the way other people did when he took over. I actually worked at a record store when that was happening, and it made me laugh at the people that just burned inside because of how popular the 5150 album got, and they were die-hard DLR lovers.

Balance has the riffage of Seventh Seal, Don't Tell Me (What Love Can Do), Baluchetherium, Aftershock and Feelin', as well as a proper sing along with Amsterdam. I'm also rather partial to Not Enough as a ballad. Never mind that weird thing where Eddie scrapes a knife along the strings, though. The well of solo guitar instrumental ideas had clearly run dry!

There is a lot of deep rumble and heaviness in that album - it's overall slower and has a darker production than other albums, but I really like it. Some of the soloing is amazing, too - all lyrical and sinewy, with a more elegant use of speed than your average shredder.
From a production standpoint, Balance is the best they've ever sounded. It's an album I stopped listening to for a long time but within the last few years, it's grown on me.

Eddie's right, the lyrics to Amsterdam are really stupid but it's still catchy as hell.
I can understand Eddie's frustration. No-one in their right mind would go to the Bulldog to score some Panama Red. It's an over-priced tourist trap!

There is an epic feel to the sound of Eddie's guitar on that album that still strikes me to this day.

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