Sound — 8
After reuniting for a 2007 tour, most people never thought Van Halen would ever again bring back original lead singer David Lee Roth. Considering how contentious the relationship between Eddie Van Halen and DLR seemed to be, the mere notion of any reunion would've been laughed off. BUT, against all odds, VH announced a reunion with DLR last year, and also announced a new album. The album, which was first announced as being made up entirely of recorded demo songs from '78-'84, was revealed in January as being entitled "A Different Kind Of Truth". A new single, "Tattoo" was also released (my thoughts on that decision later). After 28 years, on Feb. 7th, the "true" Van Halen lineup (minus Michael Anthony) released their seventh album. Now, with that out of the way, lemme review this thing, why don't I? I alluded to it earlier, but I think the release of Tattoo as the first single was a terrible decision. In fact, I hate the song so much, I don't believe it should've even been included on "A Different Kind Of Truth". Something about it, be the mostly childish lyrics, or the keyboards (they are present trust me), or the weirdly paced chorus, but the song just rubs me the wrong way as a representation of the album. Also, it was a bad idea to make it the first song on the album. For me, it's a bad intro song and it nearly torpedoes any fair opinion of the album right away. To me, the best thing to do is to delete "Tattoo" from your mp3 player/skip over it entirely, thus making "She's The Woman" the first song on "A Different Kind Of Truth". "She's The Woman" doesn't completely save the album right away, but the swaggering number does start a crescendo effect throughout the rest of the album. "A Different Kind Of Truth" is truly one of those albums where the first single is the worst song on the album, but every other song is good/great. Songs like "Bullethead", "As Is", and "The Trouble With Never" show off the familiar Van Halen attitude, with a heavier touch. One thing that surprised me was the heaviness of some songs. I've never heard Van Halen like this before, and it's quite pleasing. EVH still plays guitar like a madman, and solos his way through the album. Alex still lays down a solid rhythm, and Eddie's boy Wolfie capably replaces Michael Anthony on bass. Basically, it's Van Halen's comeback. It's weird to say that when "Tattoo", "Outta Space", "She's The Woman", "Blood & Fire", "Bullethead", "Beats Workin'", "Big River", and "Honeybabysweetiedoll" are all songs based off old demos ("Stay Frosty", "China Town", "The Trouble With Never", "As Is", and "You & Your Blues" are brand new Van Halen songs.) For some reason, in Van Halen's case, revisiting your past is a good thing, as the predominance of revived demo songs seems to have inspired VH to record "A Different Kind Of Truth" in a stripped-down style.
Lyrics — 7
Let's face it, DLR isn't the young rock god he once was, and his voice has lost a step or two, but his voice still defines Van Halen. He does sing in lower registers quite a bit, and even goes to a baritone whisper a few times. For most fans, his performance would be satisfactory. Since his persona as a goofball during live performances is still alive, fans will most likely accept his current voice. As for the lyrics, there's still a lot of good time songs, some irony-filled lyrics, and overall just good fun. Other than "Tattoo", the lyrics on the other songs are alright.
Overall Impression — 8
At first, when I heard about VH recording this album with DLR, I was kinda disappointed that VH had chosen Dave over Sammy (I like Sammy Hagar more), but once I listened to the full album, I have to admit that I'm perfectly fine with Van Halen getting back together with DLR. My personal favorite song is "Stay Frosty", but most of the other songs are pretty good. I hate the inclusion of Tattoo as a song on "A Different Kind Of Truth", but other than that, I have no complaints.