For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge review by Van Halen

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  • Released: Jun 17, 1991
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (17 votes)
Van Halen: For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge

Sound — 9
The "F.U.C.K." album is Van Halen's 3rd album with singer Sammy Hagar. Although the full name is "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge", this aren't the correct words that make the f--k acronym, Sammy was told by a friend that those words were the real definition of f--k, and that became the title of the new album. I am a huge Van Halen fan, both with Roth and Hagar, and even some Cherone, and this album is probably the best with Hagar. Unlike with "5150" and "OU812", the production on this one is magnificent, and both the drums and the guitar tone seem to finally be completely repaired, also the synths are over and give space for a heavy piano. Speaking of the guitar tone, Eddie used a different amp this time, instead of his usual Marshall. And it Shows. I still can't figure out how he got that single coil kind of sound from a humbucker in "Runaround". This album has quite a bit of experimentation on Eddie's part, first of all this was the first time he used a Wah pedal, and he used it in most of the solos on the album, also there is "Spanked", where he uses a double necked guitar, one neck in standard, and the other is a whole octave below standard which is something pretty original in my opinion. There's also an instrumental Eddie had been playing in his live solos since 1985 "316" dedicated to Wolfgang. I kind of feel it like a little lullaby to put a baby to sleep, but I don't know exactly what it objective is. The whole band is pretty tight. Alex made some nice breaks and arrangements and, as always he along with Mikey made some of the weirdest yet amazingly cool rhythms for Eddie to blow away the listener with his solos.

Lyrics — 8
I myself am not a lyricist, a singer or anything like that, but I can distiguish a good singer from a bad one. Sammy seems to have made a huge effort in this album, sometimes his vocal work gets a little extreme, a good example? Runaround, he gets pretty high in that song, and even though everything was ok in the tour for "F.U.C.K.", he couldnt get that high in the "Balance" tour and the band had to tune down. The lyrics are mostly your typical Hagar lyrics. Sex, Rock'n Roll, and some Motivacional lyrics ("Right Now"). One of the things I've found out by listening to Van Halen overall, is that: 1. The backing vocals from Eddie and specially Mikey are awesome for practicing your vocal skills 2. Both Hagar and Roth like to make phrases for the audience to repeat, examples in this album? "In 'N Out", "Right Now", "Top Of The World" and more. The only song I don't really understand is "Pleasure Dome"; musically this is one of Van Halen's more experimental stuff, but lyrically I don't understand sh-t.

Overall Impression — 9
This album was a huge step up in production after the two first albums with Hagar and apparently the new decade made the band take a different way from those albums too. It is a good combination of past Van Halen, with some new stuff Eddie and co. Came up with. And even though it had some comercial and mainstream objective, it also had a good amount of good non-commercial songs. Most impressive stuff in this album is "Right Now", "Judgement Day", "Runaround", "Man On A Mission" and "Poundcake". I would definitely buy this again if it got lost of something.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    actually the review that says it was the first album ed used a wah on was wrong he actually used a wah on cabo wabo