HOW VAN HALEN’S ‘SO THIS IS LOVE?’ STANDS APART ON ‘FAIR WARNING’
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    Default HOW VAN HALEN’S ‘SO THIS IS LOVE?’ STANDS APART ON ‘FAIR WARNING’

    Ultimate Classic Rock

    HOW VAN HALEN’S ‘SO THIS IS LOVE?’ STANDS APART ON ‘FAIR WARNING’
    Jed Gottlieb
    June 30, 2021


    Van Halen hunted out dark, seething and downright weird tones for their fourth album.

    Opener “Mean Streets” had Eddie Van Halen tapping with an unchained fury and David Lee Roth sneering, “At night I walk this stinkin' street past the crazies on my block.”

    The following track, “Dirty Movies,” mixed sleaze, smut and a grinding guitar. Most of the rest sat uncomfortably among aggression (“Sinner’s Swing!”), fever dreams (“Push Comes to Shove”) and angular, ugly prog (“Saturday Afternoon in the Park”).

    Then there’s “So This Is Love?”

    Released in June 1981 as Fair Warning's first single, the song shows off Roth's love of cheeky pop, Eddie Van Halen’s talent for pop hooks and the band’s ability to simultaneously swing and stomp.

    “So This Is Love?” sounds unlike anything else on the LP. It’s closer to the shake, shimmy and wink of “Beautiful Girls” and the pop thrills of “Why Can’t This Be Love” than the oddities found on Fair Warning.

    Fair Warning, which was released a couple months earlier in April, remains the band’s darkest record as well as the worst-selling LP by the original lineup.

    Still, it sold well enough to eventually earn double-platinum status. But you can hear that the band isn't quite on here as they approach a breaking point.

    Eddie Van Halen pushed them to embrace prog and progressive jazz, while Roth held steady with the group’s reputation as the ultimate party band.

    Granted, some of the album's best moments stem from these conflicts, compromises and dramatic artistic poles.

    The guitarist reportedly rerecorded parts of songs in secret, noting years later that "the fucked-up thing was, no one even noticed. … That's how uninvolved they were on a musical level.”

    He generally seems to win the tug-of-war with Roth. But not on “So This Is Love?," which flies in the face of his experiments: There's no prog and no jazz, and everyone appears to lock comfortably into their traditional roles.

    According to lyrics Roth later provided to Van Halen News Desk, the song was initially titled “Flesh and Blood (Banana Oil).”

    The words “flesh and blood” were to appear where he now cries “So this is love.” Whatever the lyrics (and these lines are Roth at his simplest and laziest), the music cooks.

    The track opens with some funky bass by Anthony, big band-style drums by Alex Van Halen and Roth peeling off a classic “Oh, yeah!” before declaring to everyone to check him out “on the good side here.”

    The song is never rushed. The rhythm section keeps up a bumping groove with occasional spikes of volume, as Roth splits his time between laid-back purrs and lascivious growls.

    Eddie Van Halen echoes him by dropping in nuanced vamps and loud, roaring chords.

    Rumor has it the guitarist and producer Ted Templeman cobbled together four short solos to build a longer one. Listen closely and that makes sense. It feels like different bursts of madness smashed together for an epic result.

    The song reached No. 110 on the Billboard singles and No. 15 the Mainstream Rock Tracks charts. But the band gave it plenty of love onstage at the time.

    You can feel that love ooze across the stage at a legendary performance at the Oakland Coliseum Stadium from June 12, 1981, where Eddie Van Halen added a ton of extra fuel to the hot outro solo.

    But the band retired the cut after the 1983 US Festival and didn’t return it to set lists until the 2007 reunion tour with Roth.

    Watch Van Halen Perform 'So This Is Love?' in 1981



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    Completely disagree with the statement that there is "no jazz" to be found in So This Is Love.

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    Most of the articles from UCR and Blabbermouth on VH I disagree with.
    If I don't respond to you it means I have you on ignore, which means you are a douchenozzle.

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    “So This Is Love?” sounds unlike anything else on the LP. It’s closer to the shake, shimmy and wink of “Beautiful Girls” and the pop thrills of “Why Can’t This Be Love” than the oddities found on Fair Warning.

    OMG! SMH!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    Most of the articles from UCR and Blabbermouth on VH I disagree with.
    Yep. STIL is a swinging shuffle, and listen to Ed's solo and how he structures and phrases it and then imagine he is playing a sax instead of a guitar.

    Lol, the article even contradicts itself by saying the track opens with funky bass and big band style drums.

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    Saying there is no jazz in So This is Love is like saying there's no tapping in Eruption.
    I miss Eddie Van Halen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Number 47 View Post
    “So This Is Love?” sounds unlike anything else on the LP. It’s closer to the shake, shimmy and wink of “Beautiful Girls” and the pop thrills of “Why Can’t This Be Love” than the oddities found on Fair Warning.

    OMG! SMH!

    LMAO, yeah that made me want to when I read that comparison. Never ever ever ever will I understand the love WCTBL gets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Number 47 View Post
    “So This Is Love?” sounds unlike anything else on the LP. It’s closer to the shake, shimmy and wink of “Beautiful Girls” and the pop thrills of “Why Can’t This Be Love” than the oddities found on Fair Warning.

    OMG! SMH!

    Why Can't This Be Love gettin' some much deserved love. I guess time has told.
    I miss Eddie Van Halen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JUNGLE DRUMMER View Post
    LMAO, yeah that made me want to when I read that comparison. Never ever ever ever will I understand the love WCTBL gets.
    In this instance... maybe because Sam scats... and that's jazz, daddy-o! Lol!

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    Default HOW VAN HALEN’S ‘SO THIS IS LOVE?’ STANDS APART ON ‘FAIR WARNING’

    Quote Originally Posted by JUNGLE DRUMMER View Post
    listen to Ed's solo and how he structures and phrases it and then imagine he is playing a sax instead of a guitar.
    Your point about sax is an excellent one and a stellar tip to guitar players who want to improve their lead playing

    Robben Ford was asked what guitarists he listens to for inspiration and how people could improve their lead playing.

    He said he listens to sax players and how they phrase. Because they are using their breath and lungs, the way they play and phrase is more vocal. By necessity, it allows for spaces and for a lead track to breathe more.

    It’s a masterful tip for guitar players looking to expand their lead-playing vocabulary.


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    That's an under rated tip.

    Musicians tend to forget that space bars are part of music too.
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    Default HOW VAN HALEN’S ‘SO THIS IS LOVE?’ STANDS APART ON ‘FAIR WARNING’

    Spaces scare musicians - Al Di Meola


    Another great technique for guitar players who find themselves playing more than they feel they should, lead-wise, is to breathe in...play a phrase....breathe out...play nothing. Breathe in....play a phrase....breathe out...play nothing.

    I’m almost certain Clapton has utilized this technique as if you ever watch him play live, it looks as though he’s breathing in when he plays a lead and then pauses when he breathes out. It’s subtle, and it could be all in my head but I’m pretty sure he does this.


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    Last edited by MF5150; 07.01.21 at 08:02 AM.
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    Beauty is life when life unveils
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    But you are life and you
    are the veil.

    Beauty is eternity gazing at itself
    in a mirror.

    But you are eternity
    and you are the mirror.

    -Kahil Gibran

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    Quote Originally Posted by MF5150 View Post
    Spaces scare musicians - Al Di Meola


    Another great technique for guitar players who find themselves playing more than they feel they should, lead-wise, is to breathe in...play a phrase....breathe out...play nothing. Breathe in....play a phrase....breathe out...play nothing.

    I’m almost certain Clapton has utilized this technique as if you ever watch him play live, it looks as though he’s breathing in when he plays a lead and then pauses when he breathes out. It’s subtle, and it could be all in my head but I’m pretty sure he does this.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I’ll add Derek Turcks as an example of a great musician and guitarist who “breathes” when soloing....If you watch footage of him playing he totally paces himself and allows immense spacing between his sometimes slow and sometimes blazing fast runs whether playing slide or playing straight.
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    I think Eddie's swing was more jazz based, not his note choice.


    Anyway, here's Jazz blues. Skip to about the 18 minute mark and start watching to cut to the chase.


 

 

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