Van Halen
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I'm rediscovering this excellent hard rock band. Ok, I'll cut to the chase. What are your fav CDs? I got a couple of favorites, Van Halen and 1984.

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kelly

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I would rank them:

1. Fair Warning (1981)
This is Van Halen at their hard rock finest. this is when they weren't just a radio band. None the less, the fan favorite "Unchained" and my favorite VH song "Dirty Movies" are both on this one as well as the excellent instrumental "Sunday Afternoon In the Park."

2. Diver Down (1982)
The spotlight is on Eddie in this album for my favorite solo of his "Cathedral", which always gets wrapped into his live guitar solo and for intros like "Little Guitars." This album is largely cover tunes and is reminiscent of the first album. This is probably a good one to get for people who like the first album.

3. Women And Children First (1980)
Much like Fair Warning, this is another real hard rock album with songs like "Take Your Whiskey Home" on it. I really wish Van Halen was still like this. This was their prime to me.

4. Van Halen (1978)
Their first, and classic album. Not much has to be said here, right?

5. Van Halen II (1979)
This album is really underrated. It never got the radio attention of the first album but I really dig some of the tracks. "Beautiful Girls" and "Bottoms Up" are classics to me even if most people never heard them. The cover on this one, "Dance The Night Away" did get a little airplay.

6. 1984 (1983)
The other album everyone already knows about and seems to love. I have mixed feelings about this album as I feel like this was their pop transition album. I also kind of feel that, despite his classical training, there's something wrong about taking someone often called "the world's greatest guitarist" and having him play really simple keyboard melodies. But hey, these were the 80s. The age of "Axel Foley" was upon us. Still, "Panama" is one of my favorite Van Halen songs and I'm lucky my Panama-influenced lead foot hasn't landed me in prison yet. I bet that song has helped raise a lot of city tax money.

7. OU812 (1988)
After 1984 and 5150, this album was a real welcome -- Van Halen was doing some hard rock again with songs like "Sucker In a Three Piece." And hey, the classic Cabo Wabo mentions Dallas by name. You have to applaud that. The most interesting thing on this album is Eddie playing around with a slide guitar on "Finish What You Started." It's nice to see that kind of diversity in what is essentially pop rock.

8. 5150 (1986)
I admit it, I'd have loved this album if anyone else had made it. Van Halen doing this kind of pop just really wounded me as a fan. In fact, it was worse than that. You see, I loved Sammy Hagar's solo stuff even more than Van Halen's albums. So jam them together and you get... keyboard pop? What the hell! I felt a little betrayed. I guess most people didn't since this album went straight to the #1 slot. "Summer Nights" is a cool song and yeah, when I get past my prejudice, the keyboard songs are good too.

9. For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991)
This album has terrible recording/mixing qualities. I'm not a big enough fan to remember off hand who produced this album but this was a real screw up. The vocals are repressed and the music is somewhat noisy. Its odd to have this kind of complaint so late in a successful band's career. I liked "Poundcake" anyway and "The Dream Is Over" is a radio hit, at least down here in Texas. "Right Now" was a bit overrated and a lot overplayed. Still, it inspired my favorite Beavis and Butthead. They're watching videos and Butthead says, "Heh... Right Now... David Lee Roth is trying to convicnce some chick he used to be the singer of Van Halen."

10. Balance (1995)
Not much going for this album in my opinion. I only listened to it a couple of times, honestly.

11. Van Halen Live: Right Here, Right Now (1993)
This isn't really a very good live album. If you want a commercial Sammy Hagar era live performance, check out instead the video Live Without a Net that was recorded on the 5150 tour. Much better performance and recording. This double album set was just cashing in on the popularity of their MTV video hit.

12. Van Halen 3 (1998)
I'm sure Extreme fans love this album. I'm not an Extreme fan and I actually think Eddie and Alex are real dickheads for the way they talked about Sammy in public. I know I should be talking about the album quality here but my opinion was pretty tainted and biased and I can't really hear past that Gary Sherome karaoke vocals.

And that's all I have to say about that.
 
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