Tag Archives: Compilation

The Best Of Both Worlds

After six years of no album releases by Van Halen, a rushed compilation was assembled with the intention of representing Sammy Hagar’s side of the Van Halen story more clearly.

The Best Of Both Worlds does accurately capture much of what made both eras of David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, particularly the latter, great. But it does it in a very schizophrenic way.

Instead of laying out the track list with one disc for either main lead singer, it puts the eras track by track. This does upset the flow of the album significantly, with there being no real progression. It just seems all over the place. The album does have great songs, but there is no structure to this compilation.

The marketing behind Van Halen around this time was very poor.

Picture courtesy http://www.reuters.com/article/us-vanhalen-idUSN0746408220070808

On a more interesting note, there were three new tracks with Sammy Hagar. The first, ‘It’s About Time’ was the best, but very ordinary regardless. The following track, ‘Up For Breakfast’ was humourous, yet a little weaker. And ‘Learning To See’ was horrible. Yet, despite the quality of these tracks musically, they finally show the full on roar of the Peavey Wolfgang, a truly underrated instrument and the great Peavey 5150 amps that Eddie used to create his sound.

So, a collector’s item? Only for those who had been hanging out to hear a bit more Van Halen. In short, rather unnecessary otherwise and a sign that Van Halen needed more time to get their act together before recording more new material. Still, worth buying if you really need all Van Halen in your collection.

At last, the Peavey Wolfgang was well represented on the three new songs with Sammy Hagar.

Picture courtesy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peavey_EVH_Wolfgang

Van Halen: Best Of Volume One

As previously discussed, the first Van Halen compilation came along with the rotation of singers. Yet, despite this, how does it sound?

It was a shame that for this particular compilation only one disc was released. Van Halen had more than enough material to fill up two discs of songs, but regrettably only chose one instead. There are many tracks that could have made it onto another disc which would have been amazing.

The two new songs with David Lee Roth were amazing.

Picture courtesy http://www.vhnd.com/2014/09/04/van-halens-original-lineup-presents-mtv-award/

Still, there is a fairly good selection here of music by Van Halen. It begins with ‘Eruption’, leading all the way to ‘Panama’ (or ‘Hot For Teacher’ if you had the Japanese copy of this album) for the first David Lee Roth era. Once that is over, very much the hit singles from the Sammy Hagar era are here. And yes, many fans were aware of these songs yet for a one disc compilation it strikingly sounds well chosen.

Then we have the new tracks. ‘Humans Being’ is very much of one the worst “Van Hagar” tracks you will hear. It is a dirge like song, only redeemed by the loud, prolonged scream at the end of the song. A poor effort indeed.

It is really hard to know what Van Halen and Eddie Van Halen himself were really thinking around this time.

Picture courtesy http://www.guitarplayer.com/news/1024/eddie-van-halen-performs-jimi-hendrixs-fire-and-little-wing–video/52965

Then we get two brand new David Lee Roth songs, ‘Can’t Get This Stuff No More’ is very cool indeed. “Got a date with a supermodel, I know I can make it…” begins Dave on the first new song. It sounds wonderful and fresh, something that Balance seems to lack. Not bad.

More catchy though is ‘Me Wise Magic’. A full on, rhythmic tune with style, it is an underrated gem out of the Van Halen cannon. Eddie Van Halen uses some cool licks on his new Peavey Wolfgang here, and it does justice indeed.

Eddie Van Halen really does show his Brown Sound progression on this particular album.

Picture courtesy http://atlasicons.photoshelter.com/gallery/EDDIE-VAN-HALEN-1996/G0000wb.BUOeMwgk/C0000YdNgrVtpTBs

The good thing about this compilation, regardless of it needing to be more inclusive, is that we can clearly hear for the first time Eddie Van Halen’s Brown Sound transition throughout the years. From the first Frankenstrat on ‘Eruption’ to his Peavey gear on ‘Me Wise Magic’, somehow upon listening one gets the feeling that this is exactly what Eddie desired to show listeners. He seemed very content with showing the difference in sound and tone over the years.

The bad thing about this compilation though is that it does fall short of a truly amazing listen by being too selective of some songs and also needs more of them. After the fade out of the last track, you may sit there and feel left out of what could have been much more.

There could have and should have been another disc of Van Halen material. Yet, despite this, this album is absolutely essential to understanding the Brown Sound progression over the years.

Picture courtesy http://www.covershut.com/cover-tags/Van-Halen-Best-Of-Volume-1-1996.html

It is the better of the two compilations though, and is a must for those who wish to understand the Brown Sound in a logical progression. A photo of Eddie’s Peavey Wolfgang is in the booklet. Unfortunately, nobody saw the future at the time, which is exactly what this compilation was for.