Category: Music Reviews

Review – “A Different Kind Of Truth” by Van Halen

Review – “A Different Kind Of Truth” by Van Halen

They’re back.  It took 27 years, 11 months, 29 days, 705 tour dates, two new lead singers, and one new bass player – but Van Halen have finally released the long awaited follow-up to their seminal album “1984” – “A Different Kind of Truth”.  I have to say, it was well worth the wait.

 

Van Halen fans have always seemed to fall in two camps – fans of Roth and fans of Hagar.  (Let’s face it – we can ALL agree that the Gary Cherone experiment was something that need not ever have happened.)  I’ve always found much to like in both Van Halen and Van Hagar. “Van Halen” is one of my favorite albums of all time – and all of the classic line-up albums have done nothing but get better with age.  What the band did in their early years laid the foundation for the guitar rock and heavy metal spectacle bands of the 80’s.  But, none of those bands did it better than Van Halen. 

 

On the flipside, Van Hagar was the soundtrack to my high school years.  “5150” is also one of my favorite albums of all time.  With each successive release though, (“OU812”, “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” and “Balance”), the band seemed to lose a little more juice and a little more of the cohesive vision of who they were.  Those albums just don’t hold up as well as “5150”.  That, more than anything, says to me that Van Halen has really always been Dave’s band. 

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American Idol: Season 11, Episode 3 – “I can’t wait to hear 40 people sing the same Adele song, for six f-ing hours!”

American Idol: Season 11, Episode 3 – “I can’t wait to hear 40 people sing the same Adele song, for six f-ing hours!”

The third audition episode for Season 11 of American Idol found the judges in San Diego.  The producers decided to go for huge production value and placed the entire production on the aircraft carrier USS Midway.  Cool right?  Well, it looked cool – they even played the prerequisite musical clips from “Top Gun”. (Who would have seen that coming?  Anyone?  Anyone? Buehler?)   There was just one teensy-weensy problem – the USS Midway is docked in an active harbor close to the airport.  Plane noise?  Check.  Boat noise?  Check?  Wind?  Check.  All in all it made for a different vibe and as a bonus, gave Steven a chance to wear a ridiculous pair of green aviator goggles.   But what about the Idol hopefuls, you ask.  How did the singers fare on the evening?  Have no fear – read on and get the entire scoop…

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American Idol: Season 11, Episode 2 – The Unfortunate Planking Incident

American Idol: Season 11, Episode 2 – The Unfortunate Planking Incident

The second night of our 2012 journey with Idol found us in the city of Pittsburgh.  That’s right, Pittsburgh.  We were welcomed to the “City of Champions” by a guy with a size 58 beer-belly wearing a size 28 shirt.  (And by the way, it looked like he was there to audition.  If he’s 28 or younger, I’m Captain Caveman.)  With the bar set that low, I had to wonder what sort of talent Pittsburgh would bring to the table.

 

First up was Heejun Han.  To say that he presented himself in an underwhelming manner would be an understatement.  As he talked to Ryan I wasn’t sure if he had been sniffing glue or was just roused from his midday nap to attend the auditions.  Dude was strange.  To top it off, his family told Ryan they had never heard him sing.  My thought was – “they’re probably the lucky ones.”  But then he walked in the audition room and started singing.  You would think by now I would know not to judge a book by its cover.  Turns out dude was strange – but dude could sing.  Three quick yeses and he was on his way.  (By the way – he also had one of the strangest, and yet coolest, “I’m going to Hollywood” moments ever…)

 

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American Idol: Season 11, Episode 1 – “The best note you hit was when you grabbed my @ss.”

American Idol: Season 11, Episode 1 – “The best note you hit was when you grabbed my @ss.”

It’s that time of year again – American Idol Season 11 is upon us.  Randy is back, Jennifer is back, Steven is back, Ryan is back, and I am back.  Well, I hope I’m back.  I’ll warn you all now, faithful readers – I’m traveling a LOT for work right now.  It’s going to be tough for me to keep up the commentary in real time (this recap of the premiere is almost a week late, for example.)  Nevertheless, I’ll endeavor to do my best to bring you the snarky and insightful commentary you’ve come to expect from me.  Just be patient – it may come a little slower than you would like.

 

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive in.  The Idol premier came to us from Savannah, GA this year.  (When asked about how this stop was treating him, Steven quipped – “Savannah’s treatin’ me great – but I didn’t know you knew her…”) The theme of the show was all about the young kids who grew up watching Idol and are now old enough to audition.  Thanks for making me feel old. 

 

David Leathers Jr. (or  “Mr. Steal-Your-Girl”) was up first.  My first thought was – this kid is seventeen?  He looked like he was twelve.  In the first of many flashbacks to their contestants’ earlier years, we found out that David was evidently in a competition a few years ago with Scotty McCreary.  Small world, or at least it looks that way when you have millions of audition stories to choose from.  Let me say this about “Mr. Steal-Your-Girl”, he may have a voice that sounds vaguely like a chipmunk, but the kid can sing.  I wonder if he’ll still be able to sing like that when he hits puberty?

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New Van Halen Video – Tattoo

New Van Halen Video – Tattoo

Here is the video for Van Halen’s new single – “Tattoo”.  I’ve listened to it quite a few times today and, I have to admit, I like it.  I didn’t love it at first, but it’s really grown on me.  Its definitely a Van Halen song.  Here’s the thing though – am I the only one who thinks David Lee Roth has become David Hyde Pierce?  Watch the video and see for yourself…