Fair Warning review by Van Halen

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  • Released: Apr 29, 1981
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 6.7 Neat
  • Users' score: 9.1 (18 votes)
Van Halen: Fair Warning

Sound — 7
Van Halen (in the david lee roth era) were an amazing band with a fantastic sound, but I have to say that for me Fair Warning, their 4th album, just didn't live up to previous ones. The sound is darker and more aggressive which in theory would have been fine, but it just doesn't seem to come off. Eddie's guitar sound is similar to the other albums yet the solos aren't as good in my view, and the songs seem as if they were put together quickly and without too much thought, as if the band were just on autopilot at this stage.

Lyrics — 7
Van Halen lyrics have never been particularly deep or thoughtful because that wasn't the point, but at this point roth was just getting a bit ridiculous, one of the reasons he fell out with eddie. His vocal style suits the music and the appeal of his lyrics was that they were catchy and fun, and I suppose that on this album they weren't too different.

Overall Impression — 6
To be honest I'm surprised so many Van Halen fans favour this album as for me it still sounds patchy and unconvincing, even after many listens. The songs just don't seem to have the same exciting punch that Van Halen I and II had. 'Unchained' is the obvious single of the album but it sounds too repetetive and drawn out, and the synth piece 'Sunday Afternoon In The Park' is pretty pointless, though I guess it might have been good at the time. The only highlights come with the funky sound of 'Push Comes To Shove' as well as 'Hear About It Later', which is a good development of the van halen sound. If I somehow lost this album I guess I wouldn't worry too much, as long as I still had their earlier work and 1984. Bear in mind that my ratings are based on their other albums which is why I'm being quite critical of a great band.

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