Van Halen
Diver Down


4.0
excellent

Review

by John Cruz USER (97 Reviews)
October 5th, 2015 | 17 replies


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Van Halen get their mojo back. Now if I only knew what mojo is wtf?

This album rocks my fun loving socks. After dragging us through the muck and mire of Fair Warning and giving us half an album of good and half an album of barley there on Women And Children First, Van Halen finally got back to what they did best. Being a loose, fun, cover song friendly rock n' roll band. What to do when you run out of ideas and run out of songs? Why just grab some good tunes from others and VH 'em up. And with Diver Down that's exactly what they did. Roy Orbison, Martha And The Vandellas, The Kinks? How you gonna miss with a trio like that!

Half the ten songs on this album are covers, and two instrumentals that are pretty damn good. But let's get to those covers. Roy Orbison's Oh Pretty Woman is reborn as a riff heavy, twangy wet dream. Dave doesn't sound like a guy after a woman out of his reach as Orbison did on the original recording, but rather like a man on the prowl and about to land the prize. This old, old oldie is completely reborn and given new life as a modern, sexy super ballad of sorts. And it was a super smash hit to boot. Martha And The Vandellas Dancing In The Street is a complete surprise coming from the speakers even today, and Van Halen make it their own, completely obscuring the original with a modern hard rock punch and danceable beat that is undeniable. Eddie is top notch on this tune from intro to end. And in a world way back when albums had "sides," this fun piece of sugar kicked off side two for fun, fun, fun. Something Van Halen forgot to have for at least an album and a half before Diver Down. And kicking off the album with a cover, something the band had done twice before, they chose a good one with the musical question "Where Have All The Good Times Gone?" Good one, guys! And good thing for listeners they answered the question right as the fun returned to this band for the next 11 tracks.

It is said all the covers were recorded for this album because Van Halen needed an album fast after releasing Pretty Woman just as a single to keep in the public eye. Just a little something for between albums. But the record company said "hey, looks like a smash! Maybe you can whip up an album to go with?" So the band looked back a little to some unreleased stuff from their "early" days, threw in a couple of new tunes, grabbed some more covers, and out came this gem of an album. 12 days in the studio, no time to think, no time to overthink, no time to write a batch of new tunes or figure how to follow up past successes or recent failures. Just get in there and kick ass and have fun. Diver Down is the very sound of a fun band having fun. What a fun album!

And the originals are just as well, here. The entire album is all killer, no....well, you know. Unlike the groups previous two albums which gave us some half baked tunes, questionable instrumentals, and what seemed like unfinished business when put next to the debut and second album, Diver Down is a complete, whole, and satisfying work. Originals like the explosive second track Hang 'em High with its insane, high energy guitar riff, and lovely mid tempo ballad Secrets are welcome returns to good rocking and good songwriting absent from the bands previous two efforts, and the well chosen cover tunes, all Van Halen'd out, blend in seamlessly.

And if you're still not convinced this album has the goods I dare you to listen to The Full Bug and deny it. It's not possible! Quite simply one of the best records Van Halen has ever recorded this song just blazes, all cylinders firing. It never lets up and does not let go. From its bluesy start to its riff roaring end, its like a ZZ Top song if ZZ Top had balls. Nothing special here, boys and girls. Just a rip roaring, R&B good time done Van Halen style. This song could be a cover of a jump and jive tune of years gone past. But it's not. It's modern, full bodied, and bold. And 100% fun.

Fun, something this album helped us remember Van Halen once was and would be again. Thankfully. Cover tunes, original tunes, old and new side by side and a unique hard rock band that made it not matter a bit. This is the sound of 100% Van Halen as they once were, and would be again. Something they forgot for a little while as they seemed a band in search of themselves. Diver Down is the sound of a band not thinking about it, and just getting on with it. And proving sometimes you can find just what you need when not looking too hard, and just letting it come to you.



Recent reviews by this author
The Replacements TimLone Justice Lone Justice
Paul Westerberg EventuallyLed Zeppelin In Through the Out Door
Big Country The SeerThe Replacements Pleased To Meet Me
user ratings (378)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Kevin (3)
Overall, this album is pretty average. It's full of good songs, but it also carries a lot of average...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Titan
October 5th 2015


17872 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is without question their worst album from the Lee Roth era. Fair Warning and Women And Children are incredible.



Not sure if you're trolling with this review but if you aren't, lol

JohnXDoesn't
October 5th 2015


1354 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so are you saying tora tora, one foot out the door, sunday afternoon in the park, hear about it later, dirty movies, loss of control, and everybody wants some are "incredible?" because i hear no incredible there :/



not to mention sinners swing, could this be magic, and the all out boring push comes to shove. really, those are all mediocre. not much mediocre on diver down imo. its consistently good, and fun =]





JohnXDoesn't
October 5th 2015


1354 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

take your whiskey home isn't so grand, either. those albums are like half good and half bleh, really. i think this is all good, or mostly at least. personally i find it all pretty good. i could do without some of the instrumental fluff but hey, it is van halen after all :P

JohnXDoesn't
October 5th 2015


1354 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

anyway thanks for commenting. i gotta go to sleep now so i can be up later. gonna put on fair warning to lull me into a drowsy stupor

Titan
October 5th 2015


17872 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

'tora tora, one foot out the door, sunday afternoon in the park'



they're barely even songs but with that, Diver Down is barely an album.....i guess you just don't get it which is cool too i guess



'hear about it later, dirty movies, and everybody wants some are "incredible?" because i hear no incredible there :/'



i rest my case you gotta be trolling haha



'i find it all pretty good. i could do without some of the instrumental fluff'



those are the best tracks on Diver! My goodness John.......



'i gotta go to sleep now so i can be up later. gonna put on fair warning to lull me into a drowsy stupor'



actually, it's time to wake up bud



'anyway thanks for commenting'



you're welcome, pos'd



Mutantsnowstorm
October 5th 2015


497 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album's pretty good, I have an old LP version of it and for some reason the track listing on the cover and the actual order the songs play in on the vinyl are different



Good review too by the way

sonictheplumber
October 5th 2015


8478 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this album sucks

sonictheplumber
October 5th 2015


8478 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

youre like 50 and "lol my favorite is in through the outdoor" stopped being quirky and interesting when reagan was in office



im negging this with all my heart

sonictheplumber
October 5th 2015


8478 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

first time i heard dancin in the street i thought i was listening to some late 80s david lee roth solo, like a b-side from skyscraper

sonictheplumber
October 5th 2015


8478 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

nah jxd youre alright but you need to review more def leppard and bon jovi those were funny but when i find out what you think of other things im like "dude what? KISS best album is asylum??"

beefshoes
October 5th 2015


6849 Comments


I haven't listened to this album since 2006 at least, but I still love the Pretty Woman cover and Little Guitars. I can barely remember the rest of the album though.

JohnXDoesn't
October 5th 2015


1354 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sonic! did i ever say KISS best album is asylum? how is diver down comparable to asylum if that is what you mean? kiss best album is dressed to kill btw

JohnXDoesn't
October 5th 2015


1354 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sonic what is wrong with in through the outdoor? do you hate keyboards? that is a good album. a good one! one of my zep favorites for good reason

wham49
October 5th 2015


3557 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

agree worst DLR Halen, bye the way Love Gun, also In through the Outdoor is a great album, take that over II

sonictheplumber
October 5th 2015


8478 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

im just givn you shit cheers

piroga84
October 6th 2015


354 Comments


JohnX, i didn't quite get it, is this album any fun? :-)

JohnXDoesn't
October 6th 2015


1354 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

why yes piroga84, i do believe it is. as fun as a pot 'o gold at the end of a rainbow, my friend =]



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy