Review Summary: Overall, this album is pretty average. It's full of good songs, but it also carries a lot of average songs too.
By 1982, Van Halen had already cemented their status as one of the greatest rock bands in history. Their previous albums, Van Halen
, Van Halen II
, and Women and Children First
were great successes on the charts and had already earned them a huge fan base. Despite success, in 1981, during the recording of their fourth album, Fair Warning
, tensions began to rise. Eddie Van Halen's desire to experiment with more serious songs and complex structures was at odds with Roth's pop instincts and increasingly cartoonish, irony-laden persona. Then came this album, Diver Down
certainly is a more experimental album. Almost all gone are the hard rock songs like Ain't Talking Bout Love
. This album has a more calm feel to it. Although Eddie Van Halen still shows his excellent guitar skills. The album begins with the average Where Have All The Good Times Gone"
. It's a good song, but there's really nothing mind blowing about it. The album continues to be average with the next song Hang Em High
. Again, the song is good, but there's nothing special about it. David Lee Roth's voice can get a tad bit annoying after awhile, so it's a good thing there are a few short intrumentals on this album.
is a short song, but it's beautiful. It's a song to glorify Eddie Van Halen's guitar skills, but it's different than that of Eruption or Spanish Fly. Organs and guitar combined, it really does make you feel like you're in a cathedral. Along the same lines, but sounding completely different is Intruder
. It's full of pounding drums and weird guitar playing. Only clocking in at 1:39, it feels as though it should've been longer. However, it's still a nice song. Like I said earlier in the review this album is full of calm songs that aren't very characteristic for Van Halen. Secrets
, a single form the album, is full of calm guitar and Roth's voice fits well with the mood of the song.
The calmest song of all on Diver Down
is Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)
. It sounds like it could be right out of the 50's. It even has some clarinet playing and a clarinet solo courtesy of Jan Van Halen, Alex and Eddie's father. The best song on Diver Down
is probably (Oh)Pretty Woman
, another single. The song is catchy all the way through and has great playing by everyone in it. Even David Lee Roth's voice is good in this song. Throughout this album, Eddie Van Halen's skills are always shining through everyone else's in the band. He doesn't have to play with heavy distortion to be good. Alex Van Halen also does a nice job of keeping the beat the whole time. Michael Anthony's bass does an excellent job accompanying the drums too.
The only bad thing about the music aspect of it is David Lee Roth's voice. Like I said many times, he voice can get annoying and maybe even ruin a song all together. Roth's voice can suit a few songs though. Especially the last song on the album, Happy Trails
. Nothing but singing from what sounds like all 4 members. It's just a short song telling us goodbye, but it's a great funny song.
Overall, this album is pretty average. It's full of good songs, but it also carries a lot of average songs too.
(Oh) Pretty Woman
The Full Bug
Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)