By Meghan Poff
With 11 studio albums over the course of more than 30 years, Van Halen is back with their twelth and latest album A Different Kind of Truth. It is the band’s first album released in 14 years and the first since reuniting with lead singer David Lee Roth.
This was also the album debut of Wolfgang Van Halen on the bass with backup vocals. The 18-year-old son of guitarist Eddie Van Halen, Wolfgang, surprisingly held his own in the group of veteran rockers.
A Different Kind of Truth kicks off with their single “Tattoo,” which was a good choice on the part of Van Halen. Shooting up to the number one rock song in the U.S. the day after it was released to iTunes,”Tattoo” reminds me of the Van Halen of the ‘80s with its upbeat guitar and pounding drums.
Another song for lovers of the old Van Halen is “Chinatown,” which kicks off with an awesome guitar riff by Eddie Van Halen. As usual, the lyrics are not the best, there is a lot of “Oh yeah,” “Woah-oh,” and various other noises from David Lee Roth, but Van Halen has never been known for their profound songwriting.
Perhaps the only other redeeming songs on the album are “You and Your Blues” and “Blood and Fire.” You and Your Blues,” probably the only song with lyrics that have actual meaning, is about getting away from a woman that is bringing them down, but they sing about it in a surprisingly upbeat way.
At first “Blood and Fire” seemed to be a ballad, but then Eddie picks it up with the guitar and it turns out being a good song to listen to when you are feeling down.
Unfortunately that is the only thing one has to look forward to when listening to this album. After “Blood and Fire” is just song after song that starts off solid but then fades once the singing begins. In “Honeybabysweetiedoll,” David Lee Roth even appears to be rapping the lyrics after a cool techno-guitar beginning, completely ruining the song.
“Stay Frosty” sound all too familiar, almost exactly like the band’s earlier hit “Ice Cream Man.” Acoustic guitar, low, whispery singing, and Frosty and Ice Cream are pretty similar too. It’s not a bad song, it just sounds like a repeat.
And just as “Tattoo” was the perfect song to kick off the album, “Beats Workin“ definitely not the best way to end it. There was a recurring theme throughout the second half of the album. Strong beginnings, weak middles and endings, and similar sounding melodies. “Beats Workin” was no exception. Not a song to play on repeat.
Overall, A Different Kind of Truth was disappointing. After 12 albums, they should have run out of material and just stop and continue to play their classics when they go on tour. For all Van Halen fans, I would suggest you take a couple songs off iTunes, but otherwise pretend this album was never made.
For those who want to listen to some legitimate Van Halen featuring David Lee Roth, I suggest listening to the following albums:
Van Halen II