Van Halen
5150


3.5
great

Review

by Daniel Dias USER (78 Reviews)
August 4th, 2014 | 10 replies


Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While it's not as great as any of Van Halen's first 6 albums, 5150 is still a very good album that marked a change in Van Halen's style. 5150 is probably Van Halen's most accomplished album featuring Sammy Hagar as vocalist.

It was sad for a lot of hard rock fans to know that, somewhere around 1984, David Lee Roth, an always charismatic frontman, decided to part ways with Van Halen. One of hard rock's biggest names at that time had just split up. A turmoil of tensions and bad blood between Eddie and Dave led to a somewhat inevitable, yet sad split. After losing a very stubborn, yet also very talented vocalist and frontman, Warner Bros. Records tried to convince Eddie and Alex to disband, since Van Halen was seriously having trouble finding a replacement for David Lee. Eventually, Eddie ran into former Montrose vocalist Sammy Hagar, who accepted to fill in for Dave, forming what became known among fans as Van Hagar. Hagar joined and quickly started working on new material, making his debut as Van Halen's frontman on Van Halen's 7th album called 5150.

5150, an album that received that name after Eddie's home studio, and is also a California police code for "mentally disturbed person", is a very special and peculiar album for Van Halen, given that it marks a considerable change in Van Halen's sound. While the band's albums starring David Lee were known for its straightforward rock approach, featuring mainly Dave's stylistic wails and Eddie's crazy guitar playing, Hagar's era is marked by more of a pop rock sound, featuring a heavy use of keyboards and synths, and a wide presence of love songs and ballads, which was basically unknown ground for Van Halen up to that point. It's also VH's first album that wasn't produced by Ted Templeman, who left to produce Dave's first solo venture Eat 'Em And Smile, which was also released in 1986. Many fans refused to accept Hagar as a new vocalist and Dave's replacement, and it's true that 5150 falls short to Dave's albums with the band, but it's a great album in its own right.

Despite marking a somewhat radical change from Van Halen's earlier albums, 5150 is indeed a great album. However, people who think that Van Halen means Eddie's guitar will probably be greatly disappointed at 5150. It's an album that relies a lot more on Eddie's synths and keyboards than on his guitar wizardry. Regardless, after causing an initial shock, a little surprise, 5150 develops into quite a nice album. Highlights go to Why Can't This Be Love, Dreams and Love Walks In. They're 1980's glam metal cheese at its best. Power ballads that sound cheesy as ever, but still you can't help yourself but to enjoy 'em. Relying strongly on Eddie's keyboards and his melodic and powerful guitar solos, they present extremely catchy choruses that stick in your head for a while, and a great performance by Hagar. Dreams' chorus and Love Walks In's solo stand out. It's no wonder they became such big hits.

5150 is an album where the hit singles actually are the album's best songs. However, there are also some interesting moments to watch out for in other tracks here. Good Enough is an example of that. It's a track that sounds similar to Van Halen's style in its albums with Dave, featuring some sublime guitar work throughout and a nice hook. Get Up presents an awesome pounding beat by Alex, it's also a rocker presenting a fast tempo, that could be even better if its chorus wasn't so repetitive. 5150's guitar intro is very sweet, perfectly showcasing Eddie's skills, and it has a viciously catchy chorus. However, great things can't be said about every track. Inside is clearly a weak moment, and just a poor choice for a closer overall, Summer Nights is an attempt to write yet another pop rock sounding hit single, but failed to do so, and Best Of Both Worlds is slightly reminiscent of Van Halen's earlier days, but a considerably weaker track in comparison.

From an overall point of view, 5150 was both a special and an accomplished album for Van Halen. Finding someone who could replace David Lee Roth as Van Halen's new frontman was a tough job, and many fans of Van Halen's earlier albums with Dave, who are more straightforward rock 'n' roll, still wonder if Sammy Hagar was a good choice. Truth is that he was able to do a surprisingly good job and 5150 turned out to be a quite a pleasant surprise. Relying more on synths than on Eddie's guitar wizardry, it explored more pop tendences than Van Halen was used to. Still, it proved to be a great commercial success, spawning 3 hit singles across the world. 5150 isn't much of a match against Van Halen's first 6 albums, but it's a great album on its own.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
danielcardoso
August 4th 2014


3177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Follow-up to my Van Halen series, glad to be back. After 5150, my review for David Lee Roth's solo album Eat 'Em And Smile will be coming up. Hope you enjoy reading, feel free to point out any grammar errors, and give me your feedback, it's much appreciated. Stay tuned ;)

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
August 4th 2014


14367 Comments


nice

pos

danielcardoso
August 4th 2014


3177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks man, appreciate it.

TheNotrap
August 4th 2014


8253 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Why Can't This Be Love is such a great jam.



Nice work mr. Daniel.



danielcardoso
August 4th 2014


3177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thank you very much, man. It's nice to see you keeping up with my discography reviews.

TheNotrap
August 4th 2014


8253 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

You're welcome.

Sabrutin
August 4th 2014


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very enjoyable review, it has a nice flow!



Just a little thing I spotted in the last paragraph: "5150 turned out to be a quite a pleasant

surprise". Are you sure you wanted to write "a quite a pleasant surprise"?



Pos'd anyway.

danielcardoso
August 4th 2014


3177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thank you man, your positive feedback is much appreciated. I'll fix that mistake up, thanks for pointing that out.

ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
August 4th 2014


4249 Comments


Great review as always, Dan.

Digging: Kamelot - Haven

danielcardoso
August 5th 2014


3177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thank you very much, man. I really appreciate you keeping up with my reviews. Soon, I'll submit my review for Dave's solo album Eat 'Em And Smile. Don't forget to check it out ;)



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