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Balance

Van Halen

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iTunes Review

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.

Customer Reviews

Van Hagar at their very best!

This album has some very strong songs--one of my faves is Don't tell me--the guitar is awesome! If you liked Van Halen during the Hagar years this is a must have as the entire album is good and at least five songs are exceptional; The Seventh Seal, Can't Stop Lovin' You, Don't Tell Me, Amsterdam, and the requisite ballad---Not Enough.---Aftershock is pretty good too. Balance is a great "balance" of the Van Halen Sound with the Sammy Hagar energy and intensity.

Love Amsterdam!

Amsterdam is BEAST!

Exceptionally Underrated!

Van Halen's "Balance" is perhaps the epitome of an overlooked rock album. This is Van Halen, and Van Hagar, at it's absolute best. The album veers from the esoteric ("Seventh Seal" and "Don't Tell Me") to the forthright campy ("BIg Fat Money" and "Amsterdam"). Throughout the album, Eddie and company create some of the most cerebral, atmospheric music of their careers. On Balance, Ed's guitar tone is noticeable less-processed than on the preceding album, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. The arrangements are just as succinct, and the choruses are outstanding! The verses in "Don't Tell Me" are well worth the price of admission.

A particular highpoint is the PERFECT exercise in pop masterfulness: "Can't Stop Lovin' You." The song is complete, cathartic perfection. If you can't listen to this song without a tear in your eye, you may not be human. The musicianship is unparalleled, if not flashy, and the songwriting is incredibly strong; this may be the best album that Van Halen has ever created.

Biography

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...
Full Bio

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