Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I obsess. I admit it. This week, I’m obsessing over the new Van Halen album, A Different Kind of Truth, which I’ll tell you right now is damn good, amazingly awesomely good, and I know what I’m saying because I downloaded it yesterday and have been playing it essentially nonstop ever since. I am completely blowing the roof off my life with this album. This probably won’t last, but for the moment, wow.

Or whatever.

Just to keep this as objective as possible, allow me to state for the record that I am an expert on blowing the roof off my life with music. [Dog’s note: without music, too.] On purpose, with all my conscious energy, I try to live my life as a serial music-obsessive who gets hold of new music and listens to it nonstop till something else pops up, music new to me or familiar music I suddenly hear with a new mindset, then I start listening nonstop to that, for days and days, till the next thing pops up, and on and on. I never feel bored living this way. That’s why I live this way.

So yeah. I’ve had lots of Van Halen periods over the years and am especially fond of Fair Warning and Van Halen I and Van Halen II and 1984 and the other albums with David Lee Roth because I guess that’s how I roll. I dig the sound. It’s just so, so totally happy. Not one time, ever, have I heard a Van Halen tune recorded with that lineup and not felt happy to the point where I knew the world was truly a good place and that countless wonderful things would forever be possible in it. This happiness happens in me, I believe, because, much in the manner that happy cheese comes from happy cows in California, Van Halen is music created in the spirit of happiness. Listen to Eddie play. Maybe his life away from the guitar isn’t perfect – whose is? – but when he plays guitar, he is most definitely and undeniably a happy camper. You can’t help hearing him and breaking into a smile. So when I hear Eddie ripping it up and playing with such pure joy on A Different Kind of Truth, fuck yeah, I’m happy.

Turns out maybe I shouldn’t be.

Check out this ungenerous observation made by Shawn Hammond in Premier Guitar:

“Other legendary players (Jeff Beck, Brian Setzer, and Sonny Landreth come to mind) continually evolve and blow minds with their willingness to explore new sonic territory without regard for commercial success, but Van Halen seems either too unambitious, too beholden to fans’ nostalgia, or too coldly calculating to put out something other that tunes they know die-hard fans have been listening to on bootlegs such as those from their 1976 gigs at the Goldenwest Ballroom and their pre-deal demos with Gene Simmons.”

Here is Shawn Hammond’s review of Schlitz (currently on come-back tour in Wisconsin).*

There are plenty of reasons not to like this beer. For one thing, it’s Schlitz. For another thing, they’re making Schlitz with the original formula and selling it packaged to look the same way it always has. In other words, it’s the same old Schlitz. Damn. Why couldn’t Schlitz have gone the way of Lowenbrau and evolved into Delirium Tremens Belgian Strong Pale Ale?

*Possibly not authored by Shawn Hammond. J

No comments:

Post a Comment

Mag reserves the right to delete your comment. In other words, if you want to start up shit with Mag, send him an email.