After releasing one of the greatest rock debut albums of all time, cementing their place in rock history, Van Halen needed to keep the fire going. This release, their second, seems a little rushed and was merely a selection of their second-best set of songs from their cannon. Still, it was a success in its own right and made the group even more popular, particularly in the USA. Despite all that, it is still an awesome listen today. Let’s hear it, track by track.
We kick off with You’re No Good with its awesome liquid bass guitar intro by Michael Anthony, before kicking into a well-structured rock groove. Eddie’s playing is really key to the brilliance of this song, as well as David Lee Roth’s howling vocals. The whole thing, although being a cover, is fantastic. The guitar solo by Eddie is fantastic, and the matching vocals here with the guitar parts are very awesome. Great way to kickstart this album.
Next is the rock ballad Dance The Night Away which is pulsating with hard rock energy throughout, although it is a tale of romance and lust. An interesting combination of musical talent and playing. The guitar solo here is really quite magical with some awesome playing by Eddie Van Halen. Great stuff.
Somebody Get Me A Doctor is a tale of mayhem, let’s put it lightly. It’s LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem thirty years before by a great rock band. If you have ever been wasted out of your brains, this is the song for you. The volume swells by guitarist maestro Eddie are excellent, as is the rest of the song. Second best songs from the original bunch? They sound just as good here. Great effort by Van Halen. “Somebody give me a shock!” indeed.
Bottoms Up! is about heaving drinking and similar pursuits. It has catchy guitar playing, rolling drum beats, and lyricism that is very difficult to beat. No need to compare this sort of thing against later efforts as Van Hagar, this is in a league of its own. David Lee Roth in particular does well here. But then again, so does the rest of the band. Brilliant. The playing is spot on and, daresay it, intricate. Great song.
Next is Outta Love Again which kicks off with some science fiction keyboard noises, before going into a well thought out and masterful rock groove. California seemed like a great place to be in again with Van Halen. Singer David Lee Roth sounds like he wants to make love to any woman that moves on this recording, including your sister. Still, EVH’s playing is really amazing here, giving us all he has got. Another excellent effort. Timeless rock music.
Following is Light Up The Sky which is a little weaker as a piece in general. Still, it is a good hard rocking experience. It’s pretty safe to say that the early Van Halen albums inspired most of the hard rock and heavy metal of the 1980s. In other words, a band ahead of its time. Some great usage of guitar effects and playing is present here, another reason why Eddie Van Halen is so deeply respected by the rock world. The drum solo by brother Alex Van Halen is very good too.
Spanish Fly is an instrumental solo piece by EVH on Spanish classical guitar which is absolutely fantastic and brilliant and has been incorporated into his live solo piece over the years. His brilliant playing and use of tapping make this sound incredible. Good effort.
D.O.A. is the precursor to the later Van Halen album Fair Warning in musical terms and lyrically, too. It’s a dog eat dog world, and Van Halen acknowledges this in this song. It’s about surviving tough times in a lyrical sense. Still, it sounds extremely good and Eddie’s solo, once again, is worth hearing. A great song for those who like the darker side of life, interesting listening. It speeds up into a frenzy towards the end of the song.
The tapped intro to Women In Love… sounds beautiful, melodic, and magical. The rest of the song is not that impressive, but still, Eddie’s playing is top-notch, saving it from the abyss of bad recordings. It’s a good song but falls short of being a great song otherwise. The backing vocals here are really good though. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen does play fantastically here, even doing a slower number such as this one justice.
The last track is a lot more upbeat, Beautiful Girls. It is male sexual desire turned up to 10. This sort of music would be considered criminal today, at least in a lyrical sense. But hey, David Lee Roth does an excellent job here, as does the rest of the band. Top-notch, and paints the picture of life in California in 1979, sexism included. The Van Halen group were party hard people, and this song reflects that. A great way to end this album.
This is another great Van Halen album. It may not come across as mindblowing as the first, but it is just as listenable and consistent as that album. If you love rock music and the first Van Halen album, then do check this album out. A great effort by a great band.