‘A Different Kind of Truth’ Makes Me Sad


Van Halen just released ‘A Different Kind of Truth’, their 12th studio album, and their first album of new material since 1998. It turns it turns out some of the songs are based on demos and unrecorded lyrics from the 1970’s. And it sounds like it. The album is making me feel old and…Sad. Really really sad.

Back in the day, I was a huge Van Halen fan. I had all their albums, and I listened to them constantly; the band even played a central role in my fraternity life. I belonged to a deep southern fraternity and many of my brothers from the South listened to “beach music”. Those of us in the “northern minority” countered their musical choice with selections that often included Van Halen. They played their music, and we played ‘Hot for Teacher’ … over and over and over, early in the morning and as as loud as possible.

All of this is why I was excited to see Van Halen’s new release.

“Was”, past tense.

Past tense because the album proves that some things are better left as memories. The songs all sound the same. The guitar riffs aren’t anything new, And after just a few minutes I could’t take it anymore.

I turned it off.

Yes, the album is immediately identified as Van Halen… but that’s not meant as a compliment.

Seems you just can’t go back again. And THAT’S the truth.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.

7 Comments on "‘A Different Kind of Truth’ Makes Me Sad"

  1. That’s interesting; I just listened to a few songs and kept thinking, “Huh; these sound a lot like out-takes from VH I and VH II.”

  2. Apparently we are a bunch of like minded folks, as I was also listening and was not surprised to find it derivative and lacking and terribly mediocre … It made Pete Townshend sliding across the Super Bowl stage a few years ago with his gut hanging out look good …

    Leaving Michael Anthony out was a mistake … His role might have seemed limited but he added quite a bit of depth behind Eddie. Speaking of Eddie, he just isn’t that great … He is an amazing technician but has the harmonic depth of a tea spoon and was spent before he laid tracks for Michael Jackson. Roth was fun, and had a nice theatrical career as a singer in the late 80s, but also done.

    Chicken foot is a better version of Van Halen in the current era. Not a fan of Hagar, but Satriani is better thannVan Halen, and the rest of the group clicks much better as well.

  3. Couldn’t agree more. This new album showcases a band desperately trying to recreate something long gone. DLR’s voice is crap. Let’s get that out of the way here. Listen to I’m the One, then listen to any of the new/old songs on ADKOT. It’s a joke. His voice is GONE. EVH sounds the same. What a shock. There are no genuine, great hooks or choruses in these songs. They are much lesser versions of Atomic Punk, I’m the One, Ice Cream Man, etc. I’m not drinking the kool aid that so many VH fanatics are right now. These fanboys love it, just because “it rocks man”. How about writing good songs? They actually think this is the second coming or something. Ha! And I heard EVH played the bass parts on this album. Not Wolfgang. And you can tell, as the bass mirrors alot of the guitar riffs, as opposed to holding it down like Michael Anthony would have done. Chickenfoot at least is fresh, NEW, and FUN. Van Halen are trying too hard on this record and not living in the NOW. The fun is lost in the process. Satriani is the greatest guitar player out there. He is a BEAST. EVH is a legend, but has never progressed as a guitarist since 1984. There is no power in his playing, just the same old two-handed tapping that he popularized (no, he did not invent btw) back in the late 70’s-80’s. 

  4. I’m listening to the album now.  So far, I think I like it well enough.  It’s true that there doesn’t appear to be any big hits on it, but most of the tracks seem solid and I’m actually happy that they’ve returned to something close to their earlier sound.  The early stuff was better than Van Hagar, and FAR better than anything after that.  Would you really want another album with that dude from Extreme??

  5. I am from the original Van Halen era and I have never been much of a fan, but I have watched/followed a lot of these groups that hang on or reappear and it never seems to work.  There are always glimmers of the earlier brilliance, but it never quite works and you are almost always left with kind of a sense of loss, emptiness, and holllowness.  It is never quite as satisfying as the original.  Kind of like sugar-free desserts!  It’s ok, when it’s all you have, but its never quite what you were hoping for in the first place!

  6. Wow, I so wanted to like this album. I still remember jamming to eruption through my first huge car system when I was 16! I was always a fan, but this one disappointed me. DLR has seemed uncomfortable since his original departure from Van Halen and that feeling did not disappear with his return. I miss Michael Anthony. The music is not terrible, just sounds like a rehashing of what was already done. 

  7. Rodney St. John | April 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm |

    Well I’ve been listening to A Different Kind of Truth for a few weeks to let it settle in with me. And I agree with some of Dan’s and the other commenters thoughts.  It is distinctly Van Halen.  And I think it sounds like it could have come right out of the 80’s.  It is no where near as good to me as VH 1, 2, or 1984.  But then again, my tastes have changed as I’ve aged.  I think it is good.  Is it in my top 50 playlist…nope.  But I’m glad to here DLR back with Van Halen.  Van Hagar was ok,….I really liked 5150, but everything after that went down hill.  

    It is funny to see reviews about old bands with new albums like this.  People bash ’em if they don’t sound like their original sound and people bash ’em if they sound too much like their original sound without changing and evolving.  

    I still love AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Metallica (before Black Album), etc. ….it seems it is almost impossible to recapture the spirit, the power, and enthusiasm, all of these bands and many others had when they were just starting out.  It is hard for me to think of any bands that actually steadily improved with age.  They all seem to plateau at some point and then go down hill.  

    So, recap.  I like the album.  I’m glad I purchased it.  Favorite Van Halen, no.  But decent Van Halen.  Thats just my 3.5 cents of ideas.  

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