Different Truth, Same Van Halen

A Different Kind of Truth, Van Halens newest album

A Different Kind of Truth, Van Halen’s newest album

Pat Connell


Released in February, 2012, A Different Kind of Truth is the newest addition to Van Halen's collection of albums.


With David Lee Roth fronting the band, Van Halen has always been a good music group, producing some of the best songs or covering good songs to make them great. Of course, with Sammy Hagar, they made good—though arguably a bit worse—music throughout the ’80s and ’90s.Then former lead singer of Extreme, Gary Cherone, joined Van Halen in 1998, and it all took a turn for the inadequate with the release of Van Halen III— easily the worst of their entire catalog. It has been 14 years since then, and Van Halen is once again with Roth. On February 7, 2012,  A Different Kind of Truth was released internationally. The recordings, largely based on their unused demos from the ’70s, allow the above par album to bring a sense of nostalgia for the band that was great long ago.

The album’s only single and first track, “Tattoo”, came out on January 12. It is a good nod to their old music, but the vocals of the pre-chorus are lacking in party attitude that the song is about. “She’s the Woman” is the opposite of “Tattoo” because it does have the right feel, but isn’t as catchy. Arguably the best song on the album, “You and Your Blues” is very strong thanks in part to Eddie’s signature tone played with a great riff and a harmonious chorus from the band. “Chinatown” sounds as though it is more of a Guns N’ Roses song with its deep, heavy drums and bass ripping through at such a fast pace; however, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The only inkling one has that it is by Van Halen is Roth’s easily discernible voice as well as the double-tapped guitar intro that Eddie plays. “Blood and Fire” is one of the better tracks of the LP. It starts with a nice guitar lick, the drums start thumping, and Roth begins to sing about how far they’ve come and what they’ve left behind.What sounds very similar to “I’m the One” from their self-titled debut is “Bullethead”, except this has less of a vocal range than the former. Rounding out the first half is “As Is”, which is not only one of the heaviest songs on the record, but also one of the better ones. It starts with a count-in that sounds like the singer doesn’t have proper control of his jaw, and then Eddie shreds what sounds like one of the most complicated riffs, bringing a feeling of great excitement that sadly dissipates while transitioning to the next half of the record.

“Honeybabysweetiedoll”, a poorly cut track merely used for filler, starts off the second side. The album gets interesting again with “The Trouble with Never”, though the one trouble with this is that the singing is somewhat lackluster. “Outta Space” sounds quite the same as “Blood and Fire” in terms of tonality, but it is not done quite as well or strong. “Stay Frosty” is the other song up for grabs in terms of the best on A Different Kind of Truth. For the first half, it sounds like an acoustic blues song that the Rolling Stones would produce, but then comes in the distorted electric guitar that hits the ears nice and hard, as the band is known to do. “Big River” is not a cover of Johnny Cash’s hit, albeit the lyrics have comparable themes and guitar riffs of both songs seem to be related, and it is a decent song with an exceptional bridge. The final song entitled “Beats Workin'”  sounds as though it was written to be the album’s magnum opus. They play quite well throughout the song, and it is a nice way to finish off the record.

In total, it would be worth it to purchase this album, as it is not one of these comeback albums made just to amass more money, but it is well made and sounds as though care and thought was put into it. This is not their greatest record, but Van Halen is definitely putting their best foot forward on their journey back to the limelight.