Van Halen
Fair Warning


2.0
poor

Review

by John Cruz USER (88 Reviews)
December 2nd, 2012 | 25 replies | 1,691 views


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist


1 of 2 thought this review was well written

Sides. That's when this record was made. Albums were thought of as works with two or four sides, seldom more, and on rare occasion three. Just had to deal with a lot of slick vinyl on the unused side. Or maybe you got a bonus cut or four to make up side four. But it was always made clear: that was not part of the "album" of songs. It was a separate side.

As albums with two sides go Fair Warning is an unbalanced slab of vinyl at best and absolutely disposable at it's lowest. This adds up to general mediocrity, and what seems a band stuck in second gear after downshifting to third for the previous Women And Children First. Van Halen avoided the sophomore slump with Van Halen II on account of good material that didn't make the debut album, and a few or more great new tunes. VH I and II were blistering, fun, and roucous listening experiences. But not so much WACF and Fair Warning.

Let's look at Side 1 of Fair Warning. Things get off to a promising start with Mean Street. It's got Eddie doing guitar tricks on the intro, but it settles into a too long 5:00 minute tune about gritty streets and boredom. Not real comvincing from the emerging "Diamond" Dave, and the mid tempo pace of the song eventually drags it down with the silly lyrics. A promising start? Well, yes. Why not give the benefit of the doubt. But you usually go forward at starting lines. And from this point on the album takes a few steps back.

Next we get the horrible Dirty Movies complete with a one minute time wasting intro. What is that? It's called filler, and not the sweet kind. However this you will be grateful for after Dave opens his mouth for the first time on this song. Lost innocence, the big screen, porn, strip clubs. This song is indeed about Dirty Movies, and is another mid tempo snooze fest which never rocks and never rolls. It just goes thud. It's as if Ted Templeman began a metronome in studio and the band decided to doodle over it as Roth spouts the most absurd lyrics imaginable. And that promising start just a song before goes straight to hell with the somewhat rockin' but not rolling Sinners Swing. Roth continues to hate women and the group sounds like a trying too hard VH cover band on this tune, and it could use some of what it's title suggest. A bit of real swing. But it's not to be.

Three songs into side one. and three to go. So some hope, right? Wrong. This is a four song side of mediocre songs with stupid lyrics. And's it's a long, long way from fun, sexy, helping you get laid, or making the girls excited. Maybe this is what Van Halen were going for? Can't imagine, or they simply missed the target. Badly.

Let's skip the fourth song of "side one" and go straight to Side Two. Just trust me, it got worse. I should note these aren't "epic" sides of albums, either. These are just simple hard rock tunes. It would help if they were anything more then completely disposable. As in completely unlistenable. Music needs to be heard. But I hear this album and wish I were deaf for its duration.

Side two. Wow, it starts strong as sides of music should. Unchained is everything nothing came before is. Fun, spirited, great guitar riff, and a band that sounds like it cares. Dave even comes through with decent lyrics of the "I am FREE" sort, and this is a song for just about anyone. So if side two can come through....hell some albums have just one GREAT side and all is well! So now it's time to rock 'n roll. But ha! Faked out again. After a fast start things bog down with the cool but thin sounding Push Comes To Shove that finds Dave once again questioning women in his life, and the band sounding boerd. The record wraps up with one of the best songs on the album where VH finally find thier pop music heart and wear it on their collective sleeve. But it's way too little far too late as the upbeat, sunny pop Of So This Is Love makes us long for the VH of I, II, and even WACF. However with only two more "songs" left on the album and each being two minutes of unlistenable filler you could poop out on your worst night with a guitar....well, this album is just all over. We listen to the four combined minutes of Sunday Afternoon In The Park and One Foot Out The Door and realize this is all the band had, it's all they brought and could muster. Seven so called songs, four of which are awful and the other three marginal at best. Nope, they couldn't even finish tight. Remember Ice Cream Man? Beautiful Girls? How about In A Simple Rhyme? But no Davescile here. No hot girls and bums in the sun or bells ringing or an angel sigh. It's just crud and bad melodies and spiteful lyrics and filler. Boo.

Well music fans, good thing this album is over 30 years old. Because it can take time to recover from a disaster. And recover VH did when on the next album they seemed to have gotten the memo. What memo? Well, the memo which read VH is a fun band, a party band, a band girls like because the band likes them, and they only want to have a good time and help heal a young lady's heartbreak. Yes Jamie is Cryin' and in the future may have a gun, but having her in the backseat is great, too. This is what VH was about, and it's what they found once again in the cover laden follow up to Fair Warning, Diver Down. That album sold twice as much as FW and all the singles were covers. Cover songs from a big rock star band like VH? You bet. But VH cover songs. Where they have no choice but to follow in the spirit of the original and play like wild all over it. Toss in some good original tunes that are fun, sexy, lady friendly, and rockin....and you get Van Halen at their best. If the band had told fans they were following up this *** album with an album of half covers, half originals, and it would set the stage for their biggest selling album of the Roth years, you'd have thought 'em crazy. But WACF and FW all but abandoned prominent cover songs and the band needed to find itself once again. And what better way then with the spirit of Marvin Gaye, Roy Orbison, and Ray Davies showing you what you left behind? No better way, I say. And so VH decided to Dance The Night Away once more.

But for one brief moment Van Halen was a freakin' mess without direction, a band on the brink of burnout. This is that moment. Two sides of absolute meh. Compare that to the two sides of 1984 and you will get the picture. It's like night and day. Don't like the pop inspired stuff? Don't matter as long as the girls dance, and the guys get a little lovin'. And that's a lesson VH forgot for a couple albums. Good thing for fans they remembered, or this slop may have been their last.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnXDoesn't
December 2nd 2012



1267 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

grammar, typos i know. either way this album blows

JohnXDoesn't
December 2nd 2012



1267 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i once gave this a 3? must have been drinking, or it was Christmas

taylormemer
December 2nd 2012



4916 Comments


Cruz News or it's nothing.

Fieryfenderz
December 2nd 2012



1434 Comments


No






breakingthefragile
December 2nd 2012



2954 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

First review in 3 yeard, damn. Surprised you didn't wait till Christmas.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
December 2nd 2012



15889 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hmm, their 2nd best behind the debut imo, it's trashy and lazy and careless but thats what VH were all about

Digging: Nemrud - Journey of the Shaman

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
December 2nd 2012



20272 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album. Don't agree with this review at all. This is far superior to Diver Down imo.

JohnXDoesn't
December 2nd 2012



1267 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

my previous opinion of this album taken from a review comment

"This is a fairly decent track by track. Some closing thoughts would of been nice, but maybe next time. You grammer is solid and your spelling is good. And you should know you can edit the typo's and anything else you want from your Profile.

I like this album. Everything with Dave I like. Women and Children First being my least favorite. This is a solid album, and I too wish they would of finished stronger then the final two tracks. And you are correct, Dirty Movies is fairly silly. So This Is Love is great. Almost a pop song to my ears. In that Van Halen sort of way. And although I don't dislike Sinners Swing or Hear About It Later, I don't like them quite as much as you, so my rating for this album will be lower. But still, this is a good, solid rock record."


just hasn't worn well on me. heard it today and a few times prior and it just isn't there. the songs are weak, no doubt

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
December 2nd 2012



15889 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is far superior to Diver Down imo.


Yea diver down was much worse and 1984 was weak, not gonna even bother thinking about the Hagar stuff haha.

JohnXDoesn't
December 2nd 2012



1267 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i like VH, btw. pretty sure that is obvious from the review. i even liked that Cherone dude :0

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
December 2nd 2012



15889 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well their debut is one of the best debuts ever no doubt about that much

JohnXDoesn't
December 2nd 2012



1267 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Diver Down and 1984 are more accessible, it does not make them weak. this album on the other hand is bland from start to finish

Diver Down is flat out fun, and you can dance to it. nice

JohnXDoesn't
December 2nd 2012



1267 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

debut is sweet, yeah. but Fair Warning has none of it. imo

JohnXDoesn't
December 2nd 2012



1267 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

bumped my rating up to a low 2.5. don't know if it will be reflected. its not a big deal, i am just a bit obsessive and fair is fair. its not a terrible recording. but to say its very average at best would be generous imo. and because it does have its moments i feel generous

ok thats it from me

Ire
December 2nd 2012



41753 Comments


84 rules fuck you

but yeah sweet band this n vh 2 are cool

bloc
December 2nd 2012



34735 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Probably my second favourite album from the band

Digging: Messiah - Choir of Horrors

KILL
December 2nd 2012



71167 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

2>

Digging: David Axelrod - Song of Innocence

KILL
December 2nd 2012



71167 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5



KILL
December 2nd 2012



71167 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

gong>

KILL
December 2nd 2012



71167 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

faust>



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