Van Halen
5150


2.5
average

Review

by Daniel Dias USER (94 Reviews)
August 4th, 2014 | 14 replies


Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In Dave's absence, EVH Land turns out to be more average than one would assume.

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 peculiar album for Van Halen, given that it marks a considerable change in its 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 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, but even the ones who gave him a chance would have reasons to be disappointed here.

Marking a somewhat radical change from Van Halen's early days, 5150 is an average album on almost all fronts. Relying a lot more on Eddie's synths and keyboards than on his guitar wizardry, VH loses a part of what made them special in the first place. Why Can't This Be Love, Dreams or Love Walks In exemplify exactly what was going on in the Van Halen universe around the time. Glam metal cheese at best, they're power ballads that fail to capitalize on any sugary hook or singalong chorus. Relying strongly on Eddie's keyboards and his melodic and powerful guitar solos, it's surprising to see how restrained the rest of the group is here.

The new incarnation of Van Halen does try to echo the sound of their earlier albums from time to time on this album. Good Enough is an example of that, a track that wouldn't sound out on place in Fair Warning. Get Up is also more upbeat than the majority of the songs here, but wanders around and accomplishes little. It's probably the title track that stands out the most, and its viciously catchy chorus sees Hagar in one of his best deliveries here. However, 5150 lacks in more areas than not. Inside is just a poor choice for a closer overall, Summer Nights is a failed attempt to write a bombastic synth pop single, and Best Of Both Worlds is slightly reminiscent of Van Halen's earlier days, but a considerably weaker track in comparison.

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 still wondered if Sammy Hagar was a good choice. Truth is that 5150 really wasn't much to be excited about. Relying more on synths than on Eddie's guitar wizardry, it explored more pop tendencies than Van Halen was used to. It isn't much of a match against Van Halen's first 6 albums, but the 'new' Van Halen would produce slightly more interesting material in the future.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
danielcardoso
August 4th 2014


8310 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Not a fan of this.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
August 4th 2014


14645 Comments


nice

pos

danielcardoso
August 4th 2014


8310 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks man, appreciate it.

TheNotrap
August 4th 2014


8450 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


8310 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

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

TheNotrap
August 4th 2014


8450 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

You're welcome.

Sabrutin
August 4th 2014


3114 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

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


8310 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

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


4401 Comments


Great review as always, Dan.

danielcardoso
August 5th 2014


8310 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

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 ;)

gocsa666
June 2nd 2015


214 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Love that keyboard work on Why Can't This Be Love! Such a fun song.

DinosaurJones
September 10th 2015


3039 Comments


As a young'un, Dreams was my first real introduction to VH, since it was on the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Movie OST.
I still love that song, and I thank the Rangers for starting my love of Van Halen (both with Roth and Hagar)

danielcardoso
January 24th 2016


8310 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Stallone on the cover, this must rule.

miketunneyiscool123
March 19th 2016


4743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album is quite good, but I don't dig the ballads much. They're not awful, but they are skippable.



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