Given the energy that peppers the band’s debut album, it almost feels wrong when you put this record on, and you’re faced with the laid-back cover of You’re No Good as the opening track. It’s so laid-back it almost sounds like you’ve put a 45RPM record on a lower speed. The band eventually gets going, and you realise that yes, this is indeed a Van Halen record.
Big single Dance The Night Away serves as proof that the band can write decent pop songs, and the running time on the album – a very brief 32 minutes – is a welcome hit-and-run in the days before Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth started taking themselves too seriously.
Guitar-wise, to match Eruption from the first album, Eddie gives us a similar showcase in the shape of Spanish Fly – a virtuoso harmonics and tapping performance, but on an acoustic guitar. The whole of the album seems to be a departure from the previous album, in fact. Whereas that album seemed to be very two-dimensional in its guitar tone (a lot of it sounds as though it was recorded without Eddie changing any settings), this sophomore effort finds Eddie starting to experiment with guitar sounds – especially clean tones, such as the introduction to Women In Love…, which sounds very anachronistic for a late ‘70s rock record, and much more in line with their mid-‘80s creative peak.
The back and yellow guitar that Eddie’s is shown playing on the back cover of the album, is now buried with Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell, who was shot and killed on stage in 2004.
Hit: Dance The Night Away
Hidden Gem: Spanish Fly