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Editors’ Notes

Balance is known as the final studio album with singer Sammy Hagar, and it showcases a group that knows what it's good at. The lunacy of the band's youth has been replaced with a sense of refinement and of sharpening its trademarks. Eddie Van Halen still sneaks in his unusual approach to melody in the solo spaces, and a track like "Don't Tell Me (What Love Can Do)" is the stronger for it. "Can't Stop Lovin' You" could use even more of the group's wild abandon, despite a chorus no one's likely to forget. "Amsterdam" is Hagar's party-first vibe at full force. "Big Fat Money" indulges the band's boogie side at top speed. "Not Enough" starts at the piano for a power ballad that's far more orthodox than the group's typical output. "Aftershock" adds wonderful guitar color from Eddie that recalls the band's earliest days, while Alex Van Halen tries out a tighter, less swinging style on the drums. "Doin' Time" and "Strung Out" are bizarre interludes. "Take Me Back (Deja Vu)" is the band's approximation of Southern rock.

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Formed: 1974 in Pasadena, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With their 1978 eponymous debut, Van Halen simultaneously rewrote the rules of rock guitar and hard rock in general. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen redefined what the electric guitar could do, developing a blindingly fast technique with a variety of self-taught two-handed tapping, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and effects that mimicked the sounds of machines and animals. It was wildly inventive and over the top, equaled only by vocalist David Lee Roth, who brought the role of a metal singer to near-performance...
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