Five Things That Could Go Wrong With Van Halen’s New Album
Reportedly, Van Halen's new album is recorded and soon to be unleashed onto the world. We're pretty excited about it, as you can tell by our story entitled Five Things That Could Go Right With Van Halen's New Album. However, it's been nearly 30 years since the band recorded a new studio album with lead singer David Lee Roth, and they've never made one without original bassist Michael Anthony. So, it's quite natural that fans might be nervous about how it's all going to work. Here are Five Things That Could Go Wrong With Van Halen's New Album:
Don't get us wrong -- David Lee Roth presided vocally over the best six albums Van Halen ever made, but you can't call what he does, as tasteful and exciting as it is, singing, exactly. Problem is, working with a strong voice like Sammy Hagar's seems to have spoiled Eddie Van Halen a bit; how else can you explain whatever Elvis-loungey-croon thing he's trying to get Roth to do on 1996's reunion track 'Me Wise Magic?' Hopefully "Diamond Dave" is allowed to play to his own strengths on the new Van Halen album.
Van Halen's self-titled debut album needed just under 36 minutes to change rock as we knew it. In fact, the six David Lee Roth-era albums clock in at an average time of under 34 minutes. By contrast, the "Van Hagar" records run about 50 minutes each, and 'Van Halen III,' with Gary Cherone, occupies nearly an hour. This longer approach may have worked with those two, more pure singers, but as the pair of five-minute-plus songs on 1996's 'Best of Volume 1' (yes, we're bringing those up again) proves, it doesn't suit Roth quite so well.
Of all the fears we have about the new Van Halen album, the prospect of Alex Van Halen breaking out his computerized drum pads, seen hear marring an otherwise organic, rocking live performance of the title track to 1986's '5150,' is admittedly the most far-fetched. In fact, we're pretty sure we saw him throw these things in the trash sometime in the early '90s.
It makes perfect sense that Eddie Van Halen would want his son Wolfgang, an amazingly talented musician, to play bass on the new Van Halen record. But two things concern us about the first-time absence of founding bassist Michael Anthony. First off, it was his solid, unflashy style that allowed Eddie to roam so freely on guitar, and second, his soaring back-up vocals covered up for Roth's shortcomings on many records, as well as for the lead singer/showman's lack of lyrical interest ("I forgot the f---ing words!") at many concerts.
It's not that Eddie's voice is all that bad -- in fact it's rather reminiscent of the half-spoken delivery of Pink Floyd's Roger Waters. But, my goodness was 'How Many Say I,' from Van Halen's last studio album, 'Van Halen III,' a deadly combination of apparent earnestness and a total lack of self-awareness. This is why you can't surround yourself with "Yes men," all you future rock stars!