Sound — 7
If you know anything about Van Halen, you know that David Lee Roth left the band after 1984, and that they replaced him with Sammy Hagar. This is the first CD with Sammy Hagar. I will not turn this into a Sammy vs. Dave contest. I personally like Sammy's singing. It adds a different feeling to the music, and he can do some stuff that Van Halen couldn't do before. Eddie's guitar is still amazing, and he still has those amazing guitar solos in here. There is also a lot more synth is this album. I think this album is the one with the most synth. The bass is pretty much as expected, and the drums are okay. A lot of the songs on this album seem to be love songs or are a lot mellower and less graphic than anything with David Lee Roth. Songs like Dreams, Why Can't This Be Love, and Love Walks In all fit into this category. It's not as varied with the sounds as an album like Van Halen I.
Lyrics — 8
With this album, some of the songs you just love or absolutely hate. There were a few I just hated. Those songs are Good Enough, Get Up, and Inside. I don't like the guitar, and the singing just annoys me. Those songs are just boring, in my opinion. There are also some songs that I absolutely loved. 5150 is an awesome song, but I don't quite understand the name. 5150 is the studio at Eddie Van Halen's house, but it's also police code for a crazy person who is a threat to themselves and others. Maybe it's coincidence. But the song doesn't seem to be about crazy people, so maybe I'm missing something there, or the fact that Eddie named his studio 5150 has nothing to do with police codes. There is a lot of love in the lyrics. The titles aren't as provocative as some DLR stuff, like Hot for Teacher. Van Halen really backed away from its edgier lyrics when it picked Sammy Hagar as frontman. At least, in this album. Sammy Hagar is a great singer in his own respect. I don't like comparing him to David Lee Roth much, because they are different singers with different styles. Sammy Hagar is much better at singing smoother songs. He does that very well in this album, while still adding a little bit of edginess to the sound.
Overall Impression — 8
Compared to other Van Halen albums, it depends on who's the singer. I wouldn't exactly put it on the same level as something like Van Halen I or 1984. But in my opinion, this is the best album Van Halen has done with Sammy Hagar, besides the Right Here, Right Now live set. That doesn't count because it has some DLR songs, and it's live. My favorites of this album are 5150, Love Walks In, and Dreams. This album isn't as hard-rock as other Van Halen albums before it, but it's still the best work with Sammy Hagar. This is an album that you either love or hate. That's because there's not a lot of variety here. If you like love songs and that sort of stuff, go ahead. This is Van Halen's soft side, while still maintaining some of that Van Halen feel to it. I keep digital copies of all CDs that I buy, so I'd be fine if somebody stole it or I lost it. I don't regret buying this album at all.