Van Halen
Van Halen II


4.0
excellent

Review

by PunkItUp USER (4 Reviews)
November 30th, 2008 | 19 replies | 10,842 views


Release Date: 1979 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Bottoms Up! Cuz this album will kick your butt!

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Van Halen came roaring out of Los Angeles / Pasadena in the late '70's with a big 'ol chip and their collective shoulders and a handful of hard rocking party songs in their bag.. Amidst bland, stale AOR crap like Boston and Peter Frampton, a dying Led Zeppelin, a dead Keith Moon, and an angry punk scene, they released their debut, which would simply become known as Van Halen I as the years passed. With a sexy howler out front named David Lee Roth, a fat bass player, and two crazy brothers on drums and electric geetar, the boys were revved up and ready to go from...the word go. After the debut sold millions of albums and the band had trashed hundreds of hotel rooms and even more underaged groupies, the only question that remained was what comes next?

Well Van Halen II, of course! And it picked up where the previous left off, if not exactly. After kicking things off with a serviceable but somewhat tight cover of a Linda Ronstadt tune, the guys kick into high gear with one of hard rocks all time great party tunes, Dance The Night Away. Its got chops, its got melody, its a good time waiting to happen. "Take a chance, you're old enough to DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY" Diamond Dave sings into the mic as Eddie Van Halen lays down tasty guitar licks behind him and the boys join in with some great vocal harmonies. Which has always been an underrated strength of this band. This is happy music...Van Halen are just in it for a good time. And they do a fine job of conveying it.

While "Dance The Night Away" was the most "pop" thing the band had ever done on record up to that point, at the time pop was not Van Halens calling card as it would become later. No, hot, sweaty, sexy hard rock was Van Halens ace in the hole. And not until the last song on the album would this breezy sort of tune like Dance The Night Away show its face again. Instead we get a lot of what we got on the first album. Most of the time its very good.

The uproarious Somebody Get me A Doctor finds Dave and the boys in heat for some lovin' as this track smolders with heavy riffs, bombastic drums, and thundering bass. "I'm overloaded I can hardly walk" Dave proclaims. So you know whatever he has he's got it bad as he wails like a choo choo train and the music drives him forward. Bottoms Up follows this smoldering number with hard rock boogie that would make ZZ Top blush and lyrics that leave no doubt about the intent of Dave's desire. No friends and neighbors Bottoms Up is NOT a drinking song, although in bars across the nation I'm sure it has been. But this is a song about bending it over and banging it home, and with lyrics like "pretty maids all in a row / go on set'em up" you just know some slamming of the non drinking kind is gonna get done!

On top of everything else good about this album it just flat out sounds good. Van Halen didn't just energize a stale hard rock scene at the time, it polished it up with loud clean guitar work that laid the foundation for future "shredders" all over the world, a rollicking and expressive rhythm section, layered harmony vocals, and a vocalist in David Lee Roth that sounded like a one man sexual steamroller. And producer Ted Templeman managed to make a three man musical ensemble sound like ten in the studio while keeping it lean and simple and uncluttered. This was no Def Leppard fluff or Journey like studio pap. No, this was lean, muscular, and intrepid. And Van Halen while not exactly original still managed to sound like no other band before them.

So with the table set from here on out its all gravy, baby. With the lone exception of the plodding and out of character Women In Love near albums close, the rest of the album goes down nice and easy. Light Up the Sky is great driving song if you're old enough to drive and has some great drum work from brother Alex Van Halen, while featuring some of those fantastic VH vocal harmonies. Outta Love Again sounds like a leftover from the debut album (not a bad thing) with its shuffling rhythm and Dave's wild wailing accompanying Eddie Van Halen's tasty guitar licks, and D.O.A. is one of the catchiest pieces of hard rock rebellion VH ever laid down, period. "We were broke and hungry on a summer day" Dave moans into the mic as the band pounds out a steady beat behind him. And when he growls "We were broke and down and dirty dressed in rags/ From the day my mama told me boy you pack your bags," you can almost see a million disaffected youth flipping off their parents in unison with great joy. And of course a Van Halen album wouldn't be a proper Van Halen album without a wank fest buy Eddie VH, who gives us an acoustic shredder number called Spanish Fly. Which is sort of like Eruption from the first album minus the electric guitar. Its serviceable enough so I'll forgive him this self indulgent muck.

Van Halen closes the album out with a hint of what is to come in their career with the sunny and swinging "bum is the sun" Beautiful Girls. This is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you talk to, as its pop sensibilities are certainly suiting to the band in some respects, but also brings out the worst in Dave, who turned into the worse sort of frontman ham in rock n roll history with Beach Boy covers and show tunes and Vegas style pomp in the years to come as he went solo. Yup, got so bad they had to boot him from the band in favor of the boring arse Sammy Hagar. Which is pretty damn bad when you consider that no talent hack.

The "original" Van Halen would make two more "early" albums after this...one a mess but with some good tunes and the other half good, and half bad. Literally. Then would come a couple of the best things they ever did as they fell squarely into the mainstream with the Diver Down and 1984 albums, with the former serving as a transition album of sorts after their original vision of rebellious fun had somewhat burned out. But for a few glorious years before, Van Halen owned the sleazy and sexy side of the Sunset Strip and fired the imaginations of sexed up horny teens everywhere who just wanted to Dance The Night Away and Light Up The Sky a little, while giving the world the middle finger all the while. And Van Halen II hits the mark right on the head if that's the sort of thing you like. And after all at some point in our lives, who doesn't?


user ratings (403)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Daniel Dias (4)
A true successor to Van Halen's classic debut. It may fall a little bit short to its predecessor, bu...

madanthony (5)
...

sunsinger (3.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
wakeupdead
November 30th 2008



2208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Decent review, but try and avoid doing things like this:

So you know w/e he has he's got it bad as he wails like a choo choo train
Use the whole word "Whatever" instead of the abbreviation. It's just pure lazyness, but other than that good job

PunkItUp
November 30th 2008



207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah i have to remember i'm not in the forums and stuff This Message Edited On 11.30.08

sba4life
November 30th 2008



363 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

pretty shitty review.

WarAllTheTime988
November 30th 2008



360 Comments


Great album! Dance The Night Away is so damn catchy!

bastard
November 30th 2008



3435 Comments


[quote=sba4life]pretty shitty review. [/quote]

oh how ironic.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
December 1st 2008



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's probably best to just write about the album you are reviewing & NOT go taking pot shots at other bands. There would be a few readers who simply wouldn't get past your first paragraph because of that. And your later mentioning of "Def Leppard fluff" is off the mark considering the year this album was released and what Def Leppard's first 2 albums around the time sounded like!

PunkItUp
December 1st 2008



207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

taking pot shots at other bands is half the fun of writing these things!

but i shall try to refrain

yeah def leppard has always sucked 'tho so i likes to squeeze them in when i can This Message Edited On 12.01.08

Underachiever
January 5th 2009



150 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Quite good, but easily overshadowed by the magnificence of their first studio album.

londoncalling457
June 21st 2010



2603 Comments


women in love is great

mark7477
September 25th 2010



392 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Another killer album by VH even though i dont like dance the night away what the hell is that lol.

BigHans
November 17th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Somebody Get me A Doctor is the best song on here.

BigHans
November 17th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Either that or Beautiful Girls

BigHans
November 17th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Never liked that song, its one of my least favorite of their singles.

BigHans
November 17th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Give me Halen 1 anyday.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2012



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just 14 months after their pioneering debut, hard-rockers Van Halen return with their excellent 2nd LP. Not messing a great deal with the quartet's successful formula, 'Van Halen II' may not reach the heights of its predecessor, but does deliver a consistent batch of 10 tracks. The rhythm section of Michael Anthony & Alex Van Halen once more propel the tunes forward, while Eddie's guitar-work is again phenomenal. Song-writing advances are taken, while front-man David Lee Roth shines on the almost poppy highlight 'Beautiful Girls'. Ultimately, this is a worthy follow-up. Recommended Tracks: Beautiful Girls, Somebody Get Me a Doctor, Dance the Night Away & D.O.A.

londoncalling457
July 13th 2012



2603 Comments


women in love is van halen's best song

KjSwantko
July 13th 2012



9261 Comments


Somebody Get Me A Doctor m/

FittyStim
August 13th 2012



6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I have to disagree with the ending statements about what happened to VH after Fair Warning.

After FW, Van Halen, IMO, died. They became the un-VH.

Diver Down is a scam. The band was at it's apex of drug and alcohol abuse and couldn't write a song if it fell on their heads from an apple tree.

1984 is not my favorite but does have some good songs and riffs. Not less than a few of those songs are re-tooled songs that they wrote (and performed) between 1974 and 1978.

Anyways - my introduction to Van Halen was this album (a demo LP given out for free back in 1980) and it holds a special place in my heart.

Snooze00
November 15th 2012



235 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Perfect follow up to debut, simply perfect for the genre



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