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  1. #1
    Unchained
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    Here's my opinion of the evolution of Van Halen's sound. Let me know what you think.

    We start with the "Van Halen" album. Absolute classic. Great riffs, raw guitar soung, energetic vocals etc. I have never heard anyone say that this album is overrated. It's place in musical history is pretty much set in stone in my mind. It started the "80's" style of guitar playing.

    Next we have "Van Halen II" and "Women and Children First". These continued the style and sound of the first. While these don't stand up quite as well as the first album each has it's share of classic songs and moments.

    With "Fair Warning" the band startedc to take a more serious turn. The music was a little darker and even Roth, while still possessing that certain "wink and a nod" vocal style, took a hand in the new direction. This album is as good as the first "Van Halen" album in my opinion. Unfortunetly at the time this album didn't do as well as the others and it left Van Halen and their management scrambling to correct the "problem".

    This brings us to "Diver Down". Some force in Van Halen (no finger pointing) caused the band to attempt a more commercial sound with tackling half an album's worth of covers. Maybe Eddie didn't have the songs ready. Who knows. But for all it's trappings "Diver Down" also had songs and moments that shine through.

    "1984". Eddie is frustrated with the direction of the last album and bored with guitar rock so he looks to synths for a new road for the band to travel. Roth and maybe some others in the camp are unhappy with this and try to pull the sound back to the more familar area of the first few albums. "1984" is the result of the struggle and is easily as good as anything else the band put out.

    After "1984" Roth leaves/is fired and the band works on new material in the absence of a singer. While many people look to Sammy Hagar and say that he was the cause of Van Halen lightening it's sound I think that the blame/credit for this lies with Eddie. I truely believe that Eddie wanted the band to be more "pop" and more centered around melody. That being said "5150" is a great debut for what some people like to call Van Hagar.

    I'm not sure what happend with "OU812". I rarely listen to it quite simply because I don't think it stands up to "Van Halen", "Fair Warning", "1984" and "5150". If this is your favorite Van Halen release then I apologize but this is probably my least favorite of the bunch.

    "F.U.C.K." attempts to bring the guitar back to the center of the Van Halen sound. I think it does a fairly descent job of this but ultimatly some of the material on the album seems "light" to me. There are quite a few classics though. "Poundcake", "Right Now" etc. I like this one but it's not in my top five.

    After "F.U.C.K." Eddie looks around the musical landscape as sees a more serious and less fun loving atmosphere that had been around in the 80's. RATT and Poison had been replaced by Pearl Jam and Nirvana a more introspective bunch with less show, less instrumental talent and a lot more to say than "Girls, Girls, Girls". 'Balance" wants to be a serious album. "Seventh Seal" is one of my favorite Van Halen songs. But then there's another side to the album. Some other hand on the wheel turns this one in a "pop" direction. "Big Fat Money", "Can't Stop Lovin You" and "Amsterdam" tries to harken back to the bands party days and the album suffers from the confusion.

    "Human's Being". The song that ended the "Van Hagar" era. I like this one as well but it's not perfect. The melody on the verses is not that good but other than that is a great song. Nice build, nice solo, nice chorus.

    The reunion songs on the "Best Of" sound to assembled to me meaning that Eddie goes into the studio and layes down some tracks and Roth adds vocals later. It's not the best of the "Van Roth" stuff but it's not the worst. I like the production and the direstion that Eddie's guitar playing is going.

    After the failed reunion Eddie finds himself solely in the driver's seat. What does he do? Make sure he stays that way for the next album. He hired a producer who won't be hard on him and hires a singer who will do what he's told. "Van Halen III" is more of an Eddie solo album then anything else the band has released. That being said "Without You" and "A Year To The Day" rank among some of my favorites. "Once" is also good but sounds to much like Peter Gabriel to really be a classic in my mind.

    Anyway, that's my view of the Van Halen legacy. Tear it apart if you will.
    "Right Now.....Mike is thinking about a solo project."<br /><br />"Victory has a thousand fathers. Defeat is an orphan."

  2. #2
    Hot For Teacher
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    i agree with pretty much everything in general- except your opinion of "once" - i think that is an indescribably bad song- terrible structure, chords, words, melody, rythem... pretty much just all bad... and it never belonged on a cd with VH's name on it... now that i think of it- the name is appropriate because that is how many times i listened to it...

    that and about 3 or 4 other songs on that cd... josephina comes to mind... how many say i... really didn't like "without you" much either... otherwise- no tearing apart of your dissertation coming from me...

    [ September 16, 2002, 12:47 PM: Message edited by: 55starfire ]
    zach sanders<br /><br />"My boy, we are pilgrims in an unholy land"

  3. #3
    Top Of The World
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    Originally posted by ross:
    RATT and Poison had been replaced by Pearl Jam and Nirvana a more introspective bunch with less show, less instrumental talent and a lot more to say than "Girls, Girls, Girls".
    You had me until this sentence. You really think that hair bands like RATT and Poison had more instrumental talent than grunge bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana? You've got to be kidding me.

    Dumbfounded,
    DtK<br /><br /><i>"<b>Do</b> something."</i>

  4. #4
    Sinner's Swing! Zahzoo's Avatar
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    09.03.16 @ 05:50 AM
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    Nice post... although I think you'd covered more of VH's vibe than sound...

    In a condenced version on the sound:

    VH I & II pretty much dominated by Ed's Frankies and the Marshall tone. Templeton threw mostly the guitar into the front end of the mix and Mike and Al were buried behind it.

    WACF & Diver Down Ed started shifting to better guitars and amps still somewhat raw but not as bleeding edge as 1 & 2. The recording processes also became much more layered. At that point Ed started "getting" how to overdub well plus started adding more layers of keyboards. Al's drum work started creeping closer to the front of the mix... especially his snare. Dave's vocals start getting doubled and much more processed sounding. Mike was most pushed to the back of the mix except for backing vocals.

    1984 still had a lot of simular sound as WACF & DD but the keyboards slid into the front seat. Ed's guitar got a touch cleaner and Al's drum mix had improved signifcantly. Vocals were on par but I felt they had slipped a bit in the quality of the recordings.

    5150 things shifted to Ed's home studio which is where the biggest change in tone occurs. Much darker, thicker guitar sound. I'd say even more "browner" than previous. Vocally the whole vibe shifted cause Sammy's pipes love em or hate em were miles stronger than Dave's. Melodies emerged that had probably been pent up for some time with Dave's vocal style.

    Fron there on out I'd say the VH sound statyed pretty much in a groove but refined a bit as Ed went from the musicman axes to the Wolfies. The 5150 amps also brought some sweeter harmonics into Ed's playing than before... but that's a matter of tonal taste... to each his own.

    One item of note though was on Me Wise Magic... Ed's guitar work actually sounded much more like his older tone more raw and unprocessed. I've wondered if that was by design for Dave's vibe or not...

    VH III... I think one reason a lot of people didn't like it is cause it's one of the cleanest guitar wise outta any VH album as a whole. Several musical styles emerged that VH had hinted at but not explored much... Once has a really nice latin element to it with a nylon classical guitar sound... works well for Latin Jazz ear but not for my Rock your ass off ear...

    Oh well enough of my opinion. BTW I didn't consult the VH history book so my apologies if I got aome of the time lines off a bit...
    Woke up this mornin, got Blue Moon in your eyes...
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  5. #5
    On Fire
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    Originally posted by ross:

    Next we have "Van Halen II" and "Women and Children First". These continued the style and sound of the first. While these don't stand up quite as well as the first album each has it's share of classic songs and moments.
    Personally, I can't name any bad song that VH did with Dave. And that's not blind ass kissing, it's the truth. (Although, I must admit I still haven't gotten into Can't Get This Stuff yet...but I will...just takes time.)

    I think Eddie is an absorber.

    His playing reflects his immediate influences. His playing for the Dave albums sounds like Dave. His playing on the Hagar albums sounds like Hagar (a solid, but not divine talent), and his playing on III sounds like Cherone.

    Make sense?

    No?

    Oh well.
    ...what do you do when the bureaucracy that's supposed to help you...WANTS YOU DEAD? <a href="http://www.callumhouston.com" target="_blank">www.callumhouston.com</a>

  6. #6
    Hang 'Em High MAX's Avatar
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    06.03.10 @ 10:18 AM
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    Donor

    Originally posted by theodore templeman:

    Personally, I can't name any bad song that VH did with Dave.

    That's because of your stellar production Ted. But, I have to say that "Dancing In The Streets" was your only mistake with Dave.

    And that's not blind ass kissing, it's the truth. (Although, I must admit I still haven't gotten into Can't Get This Stuff yet...but I will...just takes time.)

    Glenn Ballard had some big shoes to fill but he did a pretty damned good job. [img]graemlins/devil.gif[/img]
    EAT US AND SMILE!!!!

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  7. #7
    5150
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    02.01.07 @ 04:44 PM
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    Originally posted by DannyTheKid:
    </font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by ross:
    RATT and Poison had been replaced by Pearl Jam and Nirvana a more introspective bunch with less show, less instrumental talent and a lot more to say than "Girls, Girls, Girls".
    You had me until this sentence. You really think that hair bands like RATT and Poison had more instrumental talent than grunge bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana? You've got to be kidding me.

    Dumbfounded,
    </font>[/QUOTE]So you think that Kurt Cobain is a better guitarist than Warren DiMartini? I would have to disagree. Ratt and Poison may not have been as serious minded or as socially or politically motivated, and they may not be as good at writing lyrics, AND they may not be as creative at song writing, but they're way better at playing their instruments-hands down.

  8. #8
    Top Of The World Halenizer's Avatar
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    07.08.15 @ 11:21 AM
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    Originally posted by DannyTheKid:
    </font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by ross:
    RATT and Poison had been replaced by Pearl Jam and Nirvana a more introspective bunch with less show, less instrumental talent and a lot more to say than "Girls, Girls, Girls".
    You had me until this sentence. You really think that hair bands like RATT and Poison had more instrumental talent than grunge bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana? You've got to be kidding me.

    Dumbfounded,
    </font>[/QUOTE]I dont think he was saying they were better....he was just pointing out the times were changing and Eddie was trying to flow more with what was going on. Fucking MTV decided music needed a change during that time and ditched hair metal for crap like pearl jam and nirvana.
    "Who would ever believe a little dutch boy could create such a ruccous"

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  9. #9
    Hot For Teacher
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    i have to agree with theodore... i love all the old vh songs- every one is a gem in its own way... even the most popularly hated ones like big bad bill and dancin in the streets... i love how they put their touch on a lot of different styles, even dance music... i also think the live versions of dancin' in the streets (diver down tour) are killer! i don't like boundaries- and i don't think the original vh was afraid to experiment... it was something that made them great back then... i would even go as far to say that it was a lot of dave's influence on the band...

    [ September 17, 2002, 10:41 AM: Message edited by: 55starfire ]
    zach sanders<br /><br />"My boy, we are pilgrims in an unholy land"

  10. #10
    Hot For Teacher
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    "F.U.C.K." attempts to bring the guitar back to the center of the Van Halen sound. I think it does a fairly descent job of this but ultimatly some of the material on the album seems "light" to me. There are quite a few classics though. "Poundcake", "Right Now" etc. I like this one but it's not in my top five.
    I have to disagree with you on this one. To me, they made a conscious attempt to bring the bass and drums to the forefront on this album. The vocals and guitar seem subdued.

  11. #11
    On Fire
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    [/QUOTE]So you think that Kurt Cobain is a better guitarist than Warren DiMartini? I would have to disagree. Ratt and Poison may not have been as serious minded or as socially or politically motivated, and they may not be as good at writing lyrics, AND they may not be as creative at song writing, but they're way better at playing their instruments-hands down.[/QUOTE]

    I would hazard a guess that DiMartini would have given his left nut to come up with music that reached a generation the way Cobain's did. DiMartini has more technical chops, but what Kurt came up with on the instrument far exceeded the impact of Ratt's generic rock. That speaks to Kurt's abilities, not only as a songwriter, but as a player as well.

    And I would definitely take Mike McCready and Stone Gossard over C.C. Deville any day. C.C. had a vibrato that sounded like a mosquito buzzing in your ear.

    This brings up the question of what makes someone better on their instrument. Is it predominantly the ability to execute difficult licks or the ability to evoke an emotion in the listener? I would choose the latter, because if that's not the case, that Yngwie Malmsteen is a better guitarist than Jimmy Page.
    "Some men are born to greatness, some women have greatness thrust up in them."<br /> <br />Diamond Dave

  12. #12
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    10.01.16 @ 02:03 AM
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    Originally posted by Crazy from the Hemp:
    This brings up the question of what makes someone better on their instrument. Is it predominantly the ability to execute difficult licks or the ability to evoke an emotion in the listener? I would choose the latter, because if that's not the case, that Yngwie Malmsteen is a better guitarist than Jimmy Page.
    Um Yngwie is a far better technical player than Page. So is Ed, so is Clapton, so are a whole lot of guitar players. Page's playing was a slopfest, but the man had emotion and could write some incredible riffs. A great player. It all depends what you like.

    But Kurt Cobain is a shit guitar player, who MAYBE wrote some interesting music at times. But he sucked as a player. I wouldn't give a thing to be Cobain, or write music like him. Now of course I believe he is the single most-overrated rock musician ever up there with Hendrix, so I'm sure I'll be chastised for that. Yes I think Hendrix is way overrated too, and yes I LIKE Hendrix, but he is overrated nonetheless.
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  13. #13
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    Originally posted by Brett:
    </font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Crazy from the Hemp:
    This brings up the question of what makes someone better on their instrument. Is it predominantly the ability to execute difficult licks or the ability to evoke an emotion in the listener? I would choose the latter, because if that's not the case, that Yngwie Malmsteen is a better guitarist than Jimmy Page.
    Um Yngwie is a far better technical player than Page. So is Ed, so is Clapton, so are a whole lot of guitar players. Page's playing was a slopfest, but the man had emotion and could write some incredible riffs. A great player. It all depends what you like.

    But Kurt Cobain is a shit guitar player, who MAYBE wrote some interesting music at times. But he sucked as a player. I wouldn't give a thing to be Cobain, or write music like him. Now of course I believe he is the single most-overrated rock musician ever up there with Hendrix, so I'm sure I'll be chastised for that. Yes I think Hendrix is way overrated too, and yes I LIKE Hendrix, but he is overrated nonetheless.
    </font>[/QUOTE]It's funny cos when I was younger I fell into the school of thought that was quite impressed by technically superior players. Now I see 'shredding' for what it is, the musical equivalent of wanking off. Would EVH still have been popular in the 90's if he'd been releasing chops oriented music, or did he severely luck out by moving towards a more song oriented approach before grunge hit?

    As for Yngwie. Sure he can cleanly pick an arpeggio better than Jimmy Page could ever hope to, but Page has been so influential with things like alternate tunings, effects, approaches to production, and amalgamating numerous influences into his playing...surely his contribution as a guitarist will far outlast Yngwie's ability to rip off Paganini caprices? This makes him a better player IMO even if he lacks the technique of Yngwie.

    I'm guess what I'm trying to say is that Page, Clapton and even Cobain could say more with one note than Yngwie can with 64.

    I will agree that KC is highly overated, but to the 20-30 year old set, Nirvana are gods. I'm sure no-one would trade places with him personally (especially since he's a corpse), but for someone like DiMartini who makes a living selling his tunes, I'd guarantee he'd take the influence and mega sales of Nevermind over a fairly mediocre hair-metal career.

    Great site, by the way.
    "Some men are born to greatness, some women have greatness thrust up in them."<br /> <br />Diamond Dave

  14. #14
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    10.01.16 @ 02:03 AM
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    Yngwie impressed me to when I was 16, and I saw him a few years ago and was still, "Woah that fucker is fast, but his feel is still for shit and his songs are still stuck in the 80's." So Yngwie is fun to watch, but no way is he as influential as Jimmy Page, nor should he be.

    I think Ed's playing transcended whatever music trend was going on at the time. Yeah VH's music became more song-oriented instead of riff-oriented in the 90's, but Ed still laid out the shredding solos, still did all of his signature licks, and VH still sold millions of records. I think that's the greatest testament to VH, they succeeded no matter what was going on with the rest of rock music. Always did their own thing.
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  15. #15
    Romeo Delight
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    First, VH's sound through the years:

    I don't believe Ed's music has changed much through the years. I can find many similarities between the riffs/sounds/tones used in the three VH eras. Over the years Ed has served up pieces of music that are quite consistant in nature, and left it to the singer du jour to craft a song with those pieces. Each singer's input made the difference in sound. (How different are the riffs for "Unchained," "Good Enough," "Don't Tell Me," and "Ballot or the Bullet," with regard to style?

    While VH with Hagar has been branded as sounding "poppy," they were not averse to writing/playing "poppy" songs with Roth. (Dance the Night Away, Dancin' in the Streets, Jump, I'll Wait....)
    While Ed's riffs have been consistant, his solo technique slipped a little over the years. The first four releases contain his best guitar solos. From 1984 on, they are interchangable, with a few exceptions.

    Next, the ability of various guitar players:

    The moral of the story is that the best guitar player isn't always the best songwriter or paired up with talented songwriters. While Warren DiMartini is a great guitar player (he wrote some great riffs, IMO...), Jimmy Page and Kurt Cobain and Eric Clapton and Eddie Van Halen and Ritchie Blackmore and Jimi Hendrix and Tony Iommi and Angus Young either wrote or helped write songs that were very popular, combined with a very unique/ground breaking/influential style. You may not like Kurt Cobain, but when Nirvana came on the radio, you knew who it was. It is easy to compile a list of great guitar players that won't be remembered like the guitar players already mentioned:

    George Lynch
    Jake E. Lee
    Vivian Campbell
    Craig Goldy
    Tony MacAlpine
    Vinnie Moore
    Gary Moore
    Jason Becker
    Paul Gilbert
    Zakk Wylde
    Joe Satriani
    Mattias Jabs
    Michael Schenker
    Reb Beach
    Neil Schon
    Chris Impelliteri
    Mick Mars
    Bruce Kulick
    Vinnie Vincent
    Adrian Vandenberg
    John Sykes
    Warren DiMartini
    C.C. DeVille
    Richie Kotzen
    Blues Saraceno
    Marc Ferrari
    Chris Holmes
    Brad Gillis
    Jeff Watson
    Yngwie Malmsteen (though he will be remember for taking what Ritchie Blackmore did to the next level...)

    ...and so on......



    [ September 17, 2002, 05:34 PM: Message edited by: TyndellE ]

 

 

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