Ah, nuthin’ like summer! Even better is windows down, drivin’ around play’n some Van Halen. And new VH to boot! Sadly it’s more of a fantasy then it is a reality. The rocking brothers from Holland have been missing from for the better part of a decade. Oh yea, you could claim they appeared on that thing called VH3. But did anybody buy it? Did anybody play it? Was anything on it memorable? I think fans from around the world let out a collective “huh?” all at the same time then cue’d 1984 or 5150 one more time. Nobody will ever debate Sammy or whatshisname. It just won’t happen.
The new album called Best of Both Worlds (here now known as BOB) reflects just that. Had Gary been a success in VHmark3 the album would have been called Best of Three Worlds or VH-XXX or DSGbtS VH (which is Dave, Sammy, Gary, back to Sammy). Fortunately the power of the internet brings us a listen BEFORE forking over.
BOB takes what we know of VH puts it in a blender and spits out something resembling a bad smoothy. It all seems like a good idea until you taste it. So why does it taste like something we’ve had before? Point your way back machine to 1996 were we find Best of Volume 1 (BOVONE). Compare the track list of BOB with BOV. Whoa. Like is it deja vu or what? While it was pretty incredible in it’s day, how many albums can VH make that start with this 30+ year old Eruption riff? Three and counting so far. But what makes this disturbing is not the track itself but the next three “new songs” squashed in between “Ain’t Talkin ’bout Love”. Moving “Ain’t” away from ‘Eruption” is like, well, making me eat cookies 10 minutes before I can have milk. Giving me a full beer then talking it away after I drink some foam. Or even worse making me drink bad tequila shooters until I leave to barf, then on returning someone says, “oh, dude, here’s the salt!” What’s the point? It’s too late.
Just like BOV as far as I’m concerned BOB only has three songs on it. “It’s about Time” rolls first. And I have to say it’s about damn time. The last time we heard a Sammy song was “Humans Being” written for the movie Twister. Funny how that song feels a lot like this song. It should I guess. It’s Sammy with Michael back vocals and a growly Eddie riff. It’s so similar to me that it could have been a recycled old song from the past. [homer]Mmmmmmm, early 90’s leftovers.[/homer]
Next up is “Up for Breakfast”…. Uh, huh, huh, huh, you said Breakfast…. which sounds just like “Why Can’t This Be Love” mashed up with some left over guitar and drum demo. It’s so cool when Sammy sings “she put the cream in my coffee first thing early in the morning squished some honey on my biscuit.” Uh, is he talking about getting some or is he just talking about getting something to eat in the early AM. I’m I s’posed to rock to this or am I s’posed be inspired to make a run to Denny’s? I’m confused. There should be [SARCASM] tags there but maybe I’m not being sarcastic at all and it’s just [SAD] instead.
Finally, “Learning to See” cues. Whattyaknow, a slow song. Lighter up, click, click, flame on, swing hands back and forth. Then you realize it’s a dirge trying to rock. It’s ponderously slow. Then it gets loud. It’s as if they opened Guitar Magazines Recipes for Rockers and Ballads turned to page sixty nine and read the sound guy notes which state: when it starts to suck, turn it up. Eddie solos like he always does with WAAAA, WHOOOOO, WHAAAAAA, WEEEEEEE, chunk, chunk, chunk, high notes, tap, tap, WAAAAAA, WEEEEE, back to Sammy. WAAAAAAAAAA, seriously click here so you’ll laugh through the pain of this, chunk, chunk, chunk, Sammy wails I wanna be free, I wanna be me, I WANNA BE FREE. Me too. I want to be free of this. Please. Please? Please! Finally. It ends.
And BOB continues with the same stuff we already have.
What’s totally sad about this whole experience is that BOB only helps to confirm my feelings about admitting that I “was” a VH fan. And now I don’t want to be one anymore. I don’t want to give the Van Halen’s any more money. Not for a three track two CD album. Not for a sing-along-air-guitar concert. Not for the T-shirt or the commemorative cow bell logo’d with the hammer dude and the rat. Because I already have all those songs on vinyl and CD I don’t need two more discs with the same stuff I’ve already paid for more than once. It’s a good thing that iPods and iTunes got invented because I can mix my own BOB. Using iTunes I can “save” 20 bucks plus free shipping that I’d pay for a CD instead just buy that one track that I like. Oh wait, I didn’t like any of those new tracks and I have all the old tracks. Ha. Cool. Now I don’t have to listen to “I’ll Wait”, “Not Enough”, and “Feels so Good” because I waited, it wasn’t enough and it didn’t feel good at all.