Review Summary: A "darker" and different Van Halen album but one of their greatest albums and a ridiculously underrated album Fair Warning- Van Halen
Van Halen was:
David Lee Roth- Vocals
Edward Van Halen- Guitar
Michael Anthony- Bass
Alex Van Halen- Drums
Fair Warning was Van Halen’s fourth studio album which was released 30 years ago in 1981. From the albums released by Van Halen, this is the second worst selling album as it has sold 2 million copies to date. Fair Warning caused a lot of inner problems in Van Halen. David Lee Roth and Edward Van Halen expected different things from Fair Warning. Roth wanted to make Fair Warning more mainstream while Eddie wanted to make it more focused on rock and hard rock elements. This and the added pressure from Warner Bros. music label to release a record every year and world while touring while recording an album caused Fair Warning to be a ‘dark’ album. Fair Warning is a short as it only has half an hour worth of content. Fair Warning contains 9 tracks with one of them being an instrumental. Here’s a track by track review:
1. Mean Street
From all the Roth era albums, this has to be the best opener from his 6 albums with Van Halen. Classic song and it starts off with a great tapping solo by Eddie. After the solo a nice riff is played as the drums and bass enter. Roth starts singing “At night I walk past this stinkin’ street, past the crazies on my block.’ Roth sings very well on this track, none of his screams and the harmonies from Michael and Eddie make the song even better. This song should be on every Van Halen best of collection…. Rating: 5/5
2. Dirty Movies
Great start to this song with a catchy drum beat from Alex Van Halen. The bass is audible in this song and you can hear the drums and bass in sync. Eddie’s performance on this song is average and the solo is not one of his greatest moments. Roth’s vocals are hilarious in this song as he does some funny yells on phrases like ‘ Lights camera ACTION, TAKE IT OFF and oh wow. Van Halen finds a way to make this song interesting. Some may call it filler but I say it’s an average track. Rating: 3.5/5
3. Sinner’s Swing!
Great rock n’ roll riff from Eddie on this track. Alex has some great sounding fills and rolls in this track that make the track even better. Roth’s singing is great in this song but I really like the harmonies in this song. The harmonies are memorable. Once again there is a great solo from Eddie midway through this song and it ranks up there from the solos on this album. All in all, a very underrated song. Rating: 4.5/5
4. Hear about it Later
My favorite from the album. The intro is so calming and beautiful. The rest of the band joins in after the solo and Roth starts to sing. I like how Roth sings in this track. The way he sings fits the mood of the song and the topic. Amazing guitar playing at the end of the verses and the solo is amazing as usual. There is one annoying thing about the solo though. Roth is playing a cowbell and it gets annoying sometimes. It’s just a minor annoyance though. Rating: 5/5
Arguably the most well known track from the Fair Warning album. I still hear this song being played at sports venues in 2011. Eddie starts the song with a heavy and recognizable riff. Once again there are great harmonies in this song. Eddie has a brief solo that then leads into Roth randomness. Roth starts having a conversation as the riff changes. “ Woo hoo take a look at this. Hey man that suit is you. You’ll get some leg tonight for sure. Tell us how you do. Afterwards the random guy responds and says “Come on Dave give me a brake.” Dave ends this random section by singing one break coming up!!!!. The song ends with the chorus being repeated several times. One negative about this song has to be the amount of times the chorus is repeated. Rating: 5/5
6. Push Comes to Shove
This song demonstrates how this Van Halen album is different from the others. Michael Anthony gets some spotlight as the song starts with this funky bass riff. This song reminds me of Little Dreamer from the first Van Halen album. Both songs are serious and there is no joking in these songs. Dave’s best vocal performance on this album is on this track. He sings with a lot of emotion and seriousness on this track. Eddie also has a solo midway through that fits the mood of this song well. This song is underrated and it’s one of the better songs from the album. Rating 5/5
7. So This Love?
This song starts like the previous song with Anthony having some spotlight in the intro. Dave has another good performance in this song and the harmonies are great. The greatest part of this song has to be Eddie’s solos. Two solos by Eddie in this song and they show his incredible abilities on guitar. This song is fun to listen to. Rating: 5/5
8. Sunday Afternoon in the Park
An instrumental and filler. A youtube comment sums up this song best: “..they shortened the name "Sunday Afternoon In The Park" from "Sunday Afternoon In The Park After A Week Long Acid Trip” Rating 1/5
9. One Foot out the Door
A short conclusion for the Fair Warning album. This isn’t the worst outro to a Van Halen album (cough cough* Happy Trails) but it seems like filler to me. The songs seems forced and there are annoying synths in the background. Eddie saves the day with his ridiculous solo to end the album and a good way to finish off this album. Rating: 3/5
This album is very underrated and I don’t understand why. Quite a few hidden gems in this album. This is one of Van Halen’s better albums. The last two tracks stop it from being a 5.0. It's still an excellent album though and if you don't have it then you should get it.
1. Hear about it later
2. Mean Street
3. Push Comes to Shove
4. So this is love?
6. Sinner’s swing
7. Dirty Movies
8. One Foot Out The Door
9. Sunday Afternoon In The Park