I think it may be time for Van Halen to take a step back before they take a step forward. Van Halen’s recent trip to the recording studio seems like a rushed attempt to get something out before this latest tour. It is like Eddie scraped together every leftover riff he had and squeezed it into a disk. While the disk is not out yet the tracks making their way around the internet are disappointing to say the least.
At least one of the songs on the new disk is a leftover from the band’s 1976 demo. She’s The Woman sounds like a distant relative of Van Halen II’s Bottom’s Up. Don’t get me wrong Bottom’s Up is an awesome song, there actually isnt a bad song on Van Halen II. But there is a reason why She’s The Woman never made it onto Van Halen I or II. It is just not a very strong song. There is nothing to the lyrics and the music is as I said rehashed riffis.
The single from the album Tattoo is even more troubling. The song is wall-to-wall leftover Van Halen trappings. It opens with the same dive bombs and bass fills we have heard on a half dozen Van Halen intros. Cue the Oberheim OB-Xa synth from Jump and David Lee Roth rants via Hot For Teacher or Panama. Making this song even worse is Eddie Van Halen sleep walks through the guitar solo. A couple of dive bombs, run a few arpeggios and then finger tap for the fanboys. Adding insult to injury Eddie ends the song with the volume swells from Your No Good. It is like he raped Van Halen II to make this disk.
Eddie Van Halen is the greatest rock guitarist of his generation and for some reason he refuses to innovate anymore. Where is the guy that did the sick slide guitar work on Dirty Movies during the Fair Warning era. His counterpart in Chickfoot Joe Satriani experiments with everything from banjos to old 12 strings with rusty string to get new textures. That is the big reason why Chickenfoot sounds better than anything Eddie has done in years.
The video for the song is also a bit troubling. I dont know who is doing the band’s hair these days but that person needs to be fired. Alex has so much product in his hair he looks like he is in a wind tunnel. David Lee Roth looks like Donald Trump and Eddie is starting to look a bit like the Geico caveman.
So Van Halen it is time to go back to the drawing board and maybe take a cue from Chickenfoot.