Van Halen
Best of Volume I


3.5
great

Review

by Daniel Dias USER (73 Reviews)
December 19th, 2014 | 16 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not a perfect compilation album by any means, but it's probably enough to spark some interest among new listeners.

Released in a time when Van Hagar was completely falling apart, Best Of Vol. I signified a celebration of Van Halen's 22 years as a band. However, back in 1996 they had almost no reason to celebrate. Tensions between Eddie Van Halen and Sammy Hagar had increased hugely, and it became so bad Sammy stopped coming in for recording or writing sessions. As he drifted more and more from Van Halen's spectrum, Eddie decided to contact David Lee Roth, and discuss a possible reunion. Two new songs were composed (eventually finding a way onto Best Of Vol. I), but Dave and Eddie just couldn't get along anymore. As Van Halen faced a seemingly inevitable risk of breaking up, Best Of Vol. I was released to try to maintain fans interested and sort everything out.

For a compilation album, Best Of Vol. I is actually not a bad album, but being what it is, it's bound to be plagued by some mistakes. First of all, its two new songs (Can't Get This Stuff No More and Me Wise Magic) fail to make fans interested in a possible return of Dave to Van Halen. Me Wise Magic is just bad from start to finish, and Can't Get This Stuff No More shows some promise, but it fails to have an appealing hook and can't compare in terms of energy or fun to Van Halen's glory days. It was certainly nice, however, to add Humans Being to Vol. I's tracklist. Recorded for a soundtrack of Jan de Bont's 1996 movie "Twister", it contains a very positive vibe and evidences some inspiration from mostly Eddie and Sammy, beating out most stuff from Balance.

However, Best Of Vol. I is flawed in other ways. Its tracklist, for instance, is certainly a main problem. For one, having 17 songs (3 of which were previously unreleased), it's a bit short for a compilation album. Also, some song selections are doubtful. Why would you want to have When It's Love on a compilation album? If you want to have a song to represent OU812, you could have Finish What Ya Started or even Cabo Wabo. Besides, why don't you have Van Halen classics such as Mean Street or I'll Wait on it? Where's You Really Got Me? Why haven't you included any song from Diver Down, where's Little Guitars? What about Beautiful Girls, Spanish Fly, Everybody Wants Some!!? From a general picture, it's safe to say Best Of Vol. I's tracklist is a bit underwhelming.

But even despite all of its mistakes, Best Of Vol. I still manages to do what a compilation album is supposed to do. It can spark some interest in new listeners to become Van Halen fans. After all, it contains some of Van Halen's arguably biggest hit singles, and it somehow manages to evidence its natural party style, even if it's missing out on a whole bunch of Van Halen staples. An obligatory Eruption serves as a perfect starting point to get to know Ed's guitar genius. Plus, classics such as Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love, Dance The Night Away, Unchained, Jump and Panama display perfectly why Van Halen became massively famous, showing VH's party style and a great sense of humor, which seemed to be drifting away from Van Halen more and more by 1996.

Even if plagued by mistakes, Best Of Vol. I serves as a nice compilation album, in a way that it can generate interest in Van Halen among new listeners. For longtime fans, however, it's not very recommended. If you're a longtime fan, and you truly want a Van Halen best of album on your CD collection, get Best Of Both Worlds. It's longer, it has a slightly more satisfying tracklist and it should keep you entertained for a long time. As for Best Of Vol. I, despite its already mentioned flaws, it came in a crucial time for Van Halen, considering its internal situation. Sammy would eventually move out, and he'd be replaced by former Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone. Van Halen Mark III would only make one album, a much maligned Van Halen III.



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user ratings (104)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
danielcardoso
December 19th 2014


2643 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

My Van Halen discography reviews are counting down.
Your feedback is appreciated as always ;)

Titan
December 19th 2014


5882 Comments


Ahh Danny, you should've skipped this since your doing the whole discography. I read it because it is yours.

I'll give you a pos either way.

manosg
December 19th 2014


6732 Comments


A compilation? That's pretty tenacious man! Have a pos from me too.

Digging: Whitesnake - Slide It In

danielcardoso
December 19th 2014


2643 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ah thanks guys, it's certainly nice of you to check up on my reviews!
I just don't get why you're so amazed for me reviewing a compilation.

manosg
December 19th 2014


6732 Comments


Just a personal perspective haha. I would probably finish with the studio work and then go to their compilations.

Titan
December 19th 2014


5882 Comments


[2]

Titan
December 19th 2014


5882 Comments


Typically, the band doesn't have much say and/or control over a compilation that a record company distributes. In this case, the band probably did have some influence since there is some new music on it.

You provided good detail regarding the drama within the band around the time of this release.

danielcardoso
December 19th 2014


2643 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ah I see, but honestly I don't mind alternating between studio albums and compilations just out of wanting to review stuff in chronological order. And, once again, thanks for your positive feedback.

Titan
December 19th 2014


5882 Comments


Titan's top 5 VH in random order:

Dance The Night Away
Hear About It Later
Little Dreamer
Light Up The Sky
Everybody Wants Some!

danielcardoso
December 19th 2014


2643 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice picks Titan, huge props for Little Dreamer, a very underrated track. Love Ed's bluesy touch on his guitar and Dave's vocal delivery in that track. I'm afraid I don't hold Hear About It Later and Light Up The Sky in such high regard, even if I do consider 'em great tracks. Picking my 5 favorite VH songs is very hard, but if I had to select, it'd probably be...

Ice Cream Man
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
Dance The Night Away
Mean Street
Panama

Maybe.

Titan
December 19th 2014


5882 Comments


I had to think about including Panama and Mean Street as well - great songs!

Dance The Night Away is my favorite VH song

danielcardoso
December 19th 2014


2643 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, Mean Street is, as its title suggests, very agressive and it's got a badass sound. Eddie's guitar sound in that song is crazy. Dance The Night Away is up there for me as well, very catchy song. From listening to it so much, it had me humming its chorus for days!

Titan
December 19th 2014


5882 Comments


oooohhhhhhhh, baby baby

won't cha
turn your head my wayyyyy

danielcardoso
December 19th 2014


2643 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oooohhhhh, baby baby

c'mon, take a chance
you're old enough to daaaaaance

JohnnyOnTheSpot
December 21st 2014


1931 Comments


pos'd from me. I'd probably enjoy the review more if I was into Van Halen's bio, but w/e

Digging: Leonardo Rosado - Adrift

danielcardoso
December 21st 2014


2643 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Johnny, obviously it'd make more sense to you if you knew VH's background but thanks anyway ;)



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