Friday, July 14, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Van Halen II, by Van Halen

In 1978 the world of rock n' roll and heavy metal were forever changed when out of nowhere a band from Pasadena burst onto the scene with some of the most otherworldly guitar work anyone had ever heard. This little band was Van Halen. With the release of their debut Van Halen, the band that was quickly taking the world by storm needed a solid sophomore release and fast. The result came the following year when they released yet another solid classic: Van Halen II.

Van Halen II is pretty much just a continuation of their previous album's pop rock meets crunchy riffs and lightspeed melodic guitar solos from Eddie Van Halen. However, that is exactly what makes the album work. At the time it was still fresh and what the fans were wanting more of. To this day it still holds up with singles like Beautiful Girls, Dance the Night Away, You're No Good, and the flamenco instrumental masterpiece Spanish Fly.

Beautiful Girls has to be one of my all time favorite Van Halen tunes of all time. It has everything a good Van Halen song needs: the cocky swagger of vocalist David Lee Roth, the sexy guitar work of Eddie, the sunshine backing vocal harmonies of Michael Anthony, and the in your face drum styling of Alex Van Halen. It's a steady rolling tune that makes you feel like you're strutting down a beach in Cali on a sunny day with not a care in the world while enjoying the sights of all the gorgeous women lounging around.

Spanish Fly is in my opinion one of Eddie's most underrated compositions. If you were to make the classic Eruption into an acoustic piece, but with a flamenco edge you'd have Spanish Fly. The way he makes two hand tapping work on an unplugged instrument is unreal. To me, this is more impressive than Eruption for that reason. There is so much intricate finger work at play here that you won't really catch it all unless you really sit down and listen closely a few times.

Van Halen II in my opinion definitely deserves to be put in the pantheon of classic Van Halen albums. It has awesome track after awesome track and holds up just as well as any of the early albums that put them in the spotlight. There is a lot to enjoy here, whether you are a casual fan or a guitar player looking to learn from one of the great masters of the six string. It will help you rock out and put a smile right back on your face for certain.

Van Halen II, by Van Halen receives 3.8 out of 5 stars.

Track Listing:

1. You're No Good
2. Dance the Night Away
3. Somebody Get Me a Doctor
4. Bottoms Up!
5. Outta Love Again
6. Light Up the Sky
7. Spanish Fly
8. D.O.A.
9. Women in Love
10. Beautiful Girls

Buy the album on Amazon:

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