Van Halen-Van Halen III
This is my first review. I spent about 2 weeks on it. Hope you like it...
Eddie Van Halen-Guitar, Keyboards, and Vocals
Gary Cherone-Lead Vocals
Alex Van Halen-Drums, Vocals
Michael Anthony-Bass Guitar, Vocals
Why do fans get so upset when bands that they love try something new? Bands must progress or they end up stagnating. But when a band takes that chance--the chance to stretch and grow--, many fans don't handle it too well (to put it mildly). Why? Do they want their favorite bands to stay the same and never grow? That seems to be what they want. And that is the message Van Halen fans sent to Van Halen after III was released. "We want a band that never changes!" they said in unison, "We want a band that will take a safe road and no, they must not progress--they must stagnate!" These so-called Van Halen fans claimed that Van Halen III was a poor album, that the production was weak and that Gary Cherone tried to sound too much like Sammy Hagar (if Cherone was trying to sound like Hagar, he did a piss poor job of it and, apparently, had been trying to sound like Hagar when he recorded Extreme's last album--the vocals are nearly identical ). All of these excuses are nonsense, of course. And it is a smoke screen that many Van Halen fans cowered behind. They claim it is about the music. and that III was just a bad album musically. That is nonsense and a whole load of crap. They didn't care about the music. They were so worked up over who the lead singer was--or wasn't, in this case--that they forgot about fairness and never gave Van Halen III a shot: They had already made up their minds before the album was even released.
The reality is that Van Halen III is, quite simply, a masterpiece. Eddie Van Halen outdid himself on this one as III features the best guitar work of his entire career. The whole band pushed the envelope on III and they came up with some truly unique and unusual songs. Progress is the theme of this album.. Vocalist Gary Cherone, formerly of Extreme, was fabulous. His vocal melodies were quirky, fascinating and clever. And some of the songs on III were downright progressive...
- This is a short instrumental with Eddie on acoustic guitar and producer Mike Post on piano. It is a beautiful piece--innocent and touching. To show you how much many Van Halen "fans" are blinded by prejudice, they hate even this! How can you hate a pretty little tune like this?
2. "Without You"
- A cool drum intro and some unusual guitar work and then bang! We are into a funky, fun song! The verse is a bit disarming at first. But then the chorus kicks in and it is classic Van Halen all the way! The song flows nicely and the bridge is filled with some really neat and interesting guitar playing. Gary Cherone's vocals are good and he shows us here that he is the perfect singer for Van Halen. This is one of Van Halen's best tunes--ever!
3. "One I Want"
- Nice guitar intro! Very energetic! This is a fun, fairly fast-paced song filled with Cherone's playful lyrics. Again, Eddie is really stretching himself on the guitar. He's doing some truly unique and interesting stuff. The bridge is awesome--again! Great song!
4. "From Afar"
- The opening fades in, tricking us with quiet guitar work. And then Eddie bombards the listener with an awesome heavy, doomy, monster riff! This is quite a creepy tune. The lyrics hint of obsessive love or lust--almost as if Cherone is playing the part of a stalker! And the guitar--****, it is awesome as it stops and starts with power and thickness! Whoa! Oddly enough this tune sounds like something Genesis/Phil Collins might've come up with back in the 80s. If you haven't figured it out by now, this is an awesome song.
5. "Dirty Water Dog"
- This song starts with a tribal beat courtesy of Alex Van Halen on drums coupled with a sampling of a scrub broom being shuffled along on cement! And then the guitar kicks in with weird distortion and playful picking. Again, Cherone seems to be having a lot of fun singing some quirky lyrics. And Cherone's Queen influences show on this tune as he sounds more than a little bit like Freddie Mercury --the entire song has a Queen vibe going for it. Another excellent tune!
- Another Genesis/Phil Collins type song, this is a very beautiful and sad tune. The lyrics seem to hint at true love lost. Interesting rhythms are present throughout and, I'm not sure, but this may be due to a drum machine. Whatever the case, this is an incredibly beautiful song. Unbelievably moving!
7. "Fire in the Hole"
- The intro is Eddie on guitar mimicking a helicopter! And he does it quite effectively! And then we get an awesomely huge guitar riff! This song is basically a rock anthem. And a good one! The ending has a kind of interesting tribute to Pink Floyd's album the Wall. You'll have to hear it to know exactly what I mean. It's pretty funny, really.
- This may be the most progressive song on III This is a ballad, but it ain't no run-of-the-mill hair band ballad from the 80s. It is very unusual and fascinating to listen to--I wish I could describe it better. Cherone sounds great, as always. And Eddie is, again, a magician on guitar. Another fine song!
9. "Year to the Day"
- This is a quiet song as it begins. It is about lost love--maybe even the death of a lover--and is very sad and quite depressing. It is also very moving. Quiet verses, yes, but the chorus is heavy and emotionally draining. And the bridge is long as Eddie plays some really cool stuff. ****, good song.
- This is an interesting and "twangy" intro to the next track, "Ballot or the Bullet"...
11. "Ballot or the Bullet"
- This is a harsh, gritty tune best described as "twang metal". No, it ain't country. It's just that the guitar has a very twangy sound for the entire song. Cherone is aggressive and raspy on vocals and this adds to the song's grittiness. Good song
12. "How Many Say I"
- This is a weird song. Unusual with its strange, disjointed piano intro, it turns intio a beautifully soft ballad with Eddie Van Halen on lead vocals! I have to admit, it took me awhile to fully appreciate this song. But now, I love it. Cherone harmonizes with Eddie throughout much of the tune. Some Van Halen fans really went after Eddie for his vocals here, but, ****, he is not bad at all! Where do you think those trademark vocal harmonies come from, Van Halen fans? Eddie has been singing for years as Van Halen's background and harmony vocalist (along with bassist Michael Anthony), so this isn't a totally shocking development!
: "From Afar", "Without You", "Once".
: Van Halen fans and their reaction toward this album.
: Hey, the whole album is wonderfully weird!
: Eddie Van Halen plays bass on several tracks--I wish I knew which ones.
Am I upset over this album's treatment by Van Halen fans? Yep. Those close- minded cowards who never gave the album a chance are really missing out. This is truly a great album! One of my all-time favorites! I haven't been happy with everything Van Halen has put out over the years, but Van Halen III really touched me. And made me want to take up an instrument (I play guitar, in case you are wondering). This is Van Halen at their best. Unfortunately, Gary Cherone left the band in November of 1999 after only three years and one album. I believe he left, in part, because of fan reaction to the album. I just cannot understand it. This is one of Van Halen's best album. My anger aside, if you want to hear some innovative and fascinating music, give this album a shot. Hey, you may honestly dislike it. But, then again, you may love it! Hey Van Halen fans! It ain't about who or who isn't in the band, it's about the music! Judge it on that if you dare!