Van Halen - Van Halen II (1979) - Song by Song

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by GodShifter, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. YardByrd

    YardByrd Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    My only VH show was at the Centrum when it was brand new... native Wistah County here...
     
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  2. wavethatflag

    wavethatflag Your Ad Here

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I saw the 1984 tour there.
     
  3. YardByrd

    YardByrd Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Diver Down tour. 82... maybe first show I saw there... memory hazy...
     
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  4. wavethatflag

    wavethatflag Your Ad Here

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I also saw AC/DC, Flick of the Switch, and Sabbath with Ian Gillan there. I saw Quiet Riot at E.M. Loew's. I don't know if you remember that place.
     
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  5. ChrisScooter1

    ChrisScooter1 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Athens, GA
    This thread got away from me...more catch up...

    “Bottoms Up!”— a rather pedestrian boogie rocker that could almost be lined up next to a dozen other boogie rockers from the 70’s if not for Eddie’s remarkably sizzling solo that is a a rare overdub. The breakdown is fun and off the cuff, sounds like the backing track is a one take and then the solo was added afterwards. All in all a song that if it was on a Pat Travers, Foghat or Black Oak Arkansas album I wouldn’t mean much, but in the hand of VH, rises above the fray.

    “Outta Love Again” — not their best proto-metal tune, but still a nice showcase for each member’s talents. Alex comes off the best on this track with his Ginger Baker inspired fills. One of the many little subtle treats with the early VH lps’s is the sound of Alex’s vintage sounding kits in a modern hard rock context. The drums don’t sound overly EQ’d and Alex is still using felt beaters. Similar to Ed’s use of dynamics and the volume control on his guitar, Alex is remarkably light handed at times, bringing a subtlety to his flourishes. It’s not a constant barrage of “attack! Attack! Attack!” Outta Love is a decent way to wrap up a slightly spotty side one. This is also a prime example of an album that doesn’t transition well in the CD download age. The gap between this song and the opening of side two is too abrupt. The time gap that happens naturally with the flipping of the LP (or in my case as a kid, the cassette tape) from side one to side two creates quite a bit of drama.

    “Light Up the Sky” — I could go on and on about this song...probably my single favorite Van Halen song, ever. Much like what they would do for Fair Warning, more serious, more orchestrated, more attention to arranging, dynamics and drama...and Dave actually tries not to sound like a Neanderthal. It’s a bit shocking to have this song on this album, when so many other tracks are so stuck in party mode. This song sounds like they took the most time on it and it sticks out for that reason, in a good way. It’s like the time you and your friends startup talking and can’t stop laughing, the rest of the album leading up to this is like that...and then someone finally says, “hold up...”and then drops a profound thought that just blows everyone away. That’s what this song is like.

    “Spanish Fly”— meh....I know it’s all super brilliant and it’s Eruption on a nylon string. Yippee! It’s not for me. I kinda dug it as a kid, but now it’s just filler to my ears. I much prefer Ed’s guitar solo spots on Diver Down..this album needs a segue from LUTS to the next track, but something moodier would have been much cooler in my book. And to call it Spanish Fly, is just offensive. Ed is great, but he’s out of his league here. The spitty attack from his picking that works so well on his frankenstrat into a Marshall, does not translate well to the classical guitar. And to give this track as an ode to the urban myth that is a “sex drug,” bad pun, if you can even call it that.

    “D.O.A.” — along with classic AC/DC, this song and those opening power chord riffs, is the quintessential humbucker/Cranked Marshall song. When anyone asks me questions about guitars and amps and “...what was the huge deal with those walls of amps back in the day? “I play them this song and say THAT was the deal. It doesn’t get any better than this song when it comes to quasi punk rock, stick your finger up to the man, I’m gonna play hooky and screw you Mr. boss man/policeman...this album could have been resequenced with this ENDING side two and those ending A chord, wacka, wacka, blasts with Dave’s yelps would have been just as perfect as Beautiful Girls.

    “Women in Love”— just a gorgeous opening guitar sequence. Eddie swaps his Marshall brown sound for a most scrumptious clean, chorus, Echoplex Strat quack sound...and those tapped harmonic arpeggios just glisten with melody and style. It sets up an equally gorgeous song with beautiful inversions NOW with his Marshall brown sound. Rarely have VH played with so much subtlety, dynamics and emotion. It could’ve been nice to have used this song for something a little more lofty than just chicks, but this is VH, after all. Dave almost makes it poetic and the music kinda makes you feel for the guy.

    One more song to go...;-)
     
  6. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident

    Location:
    America
    D.O.A. is awesome. Love the riff and this is just one of those songs you just crank up and enjoy the ride.

    I like Women in Love a lot, but not quite as much as I used to. The chorus kind of disguises how bland the verses are, but the harmonies in the chorus are good enough to elevate the song. The opening sequence is really cool, but that seems like one of those classic EVH "Hey, I have this cool guitar part and have no idea what to do with it, so let's just tag it on at the beginning of a song" moments.
     
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  7. RelayerNJ

    RelayerNJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    Whippany, NJ
    Hard Core!! Wow!!
     
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  8. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Forum Resident

    Location:
    Captiva Island, FL
    WOMEN IN LOVE

    Scream, go on and scream that your love is all you're knowin'.
    But, honey, if you're needing a woman just as bad as me, you ought to be goin'.

    I love a good melodic rocker as much as the next person and Van Halen delivers the goods on this tune

    Top 25 halen tune for me and Diamond Dave brings a soulful misery to this one in lamenting over love lost....to another woman no less, which is f**king awesome imo!
     
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  9. Rosskolnikov

    Rosskolnikov Designated Cloud Yeller

    The intro to Women In Love is as fine a composition as EVH has ever done. The rest of the track is a bit more "normal," but Dave really makes it go with a bluesy vocal. One of Dave's best, I think. There's strong vocal hooks both in the verses and in the chorus.
     
  10. GodShifter

    GodShifter Discharge - Drunk With Power® Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA


    BEAUTIFUL GIRLS 1979 (E. Van Halen, A. Van Halen, Anthony, Roth) (3:56)

    “Beautiful Girls” the last song on Van Halen II perhaps incapsulates the band’s good time nature and attitude better than almost any other song in their catalog. Written as an ode to strippers, the song was originally known on the Warner Bros. demo as “Bring On the Girls”. The lyrics were changed due to label pressure as the higher ups felt the words to the song were too risqué and a new title was given to the song.

    According to Alex Van Halen, one of the reasons the band was formed in the first place was to play wet t-shirt contests and other gigs that involved women doing, let’s say, suggestive things. The song was written as inspiration to that and “Beautiful Girls” is still a song you’ll hear in a strip club to this day (well, I'm assuming so as I haven't been in one in a LONG time).

    The song itself doesn’t feature much of a solo, but is known more for the clever word play by David Lee Roth which is accompanied by Edward Van Halen’s raunchy riffing. Michael Anthony adds some nice melodic bass chording in the song as well. For some reason, with Roth’s delivery on this one I can almost hear him channeling Frank Sinatra a bit. Of course, the arrangement would have to be different, but I could hear Old Blue Eyes do this one, but maybe that’s just me.

    Of course with Diamond Dave, you get the requisite yelps and ad libs and dialogue which further the song’s good time nature. I love the “hey! hey! where ya going? hey! hey! ohhhh!!! part at the end and with any Van Halen tune the background vocals are also important element to the song as they reinforce the chorus and add a lot. The chorus is extended towards the end with Edward throwing in some great licks and finishes with a huge kiss sound provided by Roth (I’m assuming).

    There’s no doubt that “Beautiful Girls” helped sell the “beach album” and good time nature that this album projects to many fans. It’s a fun, rollicking tune with a theme that just about any guy can relate to. It ends the album in fine fashion as it does this thread. It was released as a single with “D.O.A.” as its b-side.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018 at 4:14 PM
  11. GodShifter

    GodShifter Discharge - Drunk With Power® Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA


    Here's Eddie's isolated guitar from "Beautiful Girls". Check out all the little licks he throws in. It really shows what a talented rhythm player he is and what a great sense of the beat he has. Listen to the great stuff he throws in during the extended chorus at the end. Brilliant.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018 at 4:15 PM
  12. GodShifter

    GodShifter Discharge - Drunk With Power® Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA
    That's it for Van Halen II folks. I hope you enjoyed the thread and looking at this great album in closer detail like I did. Take care.
     
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  13. Musicman1998

    Musicman1998 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Georgia
    Women In Love...:
    And, oh man, are we really nearing the end?
    We start with Eddie's neat little lick, and he does such a magnificent job setting this song up, and then at :36, Al comes in and kicks off the song, he and Mike do south a great job laying down this understated groove, while Eddie plays a great rhythm part that is so Eddie, and then Dave comes in at :56 and is just...perfect. There's Heart, there's Soul in his vocals and he captures the anguish so perfectly in his performance, and Mike is so amazing on his harmony vocals, while I may not think the world of Mike as a lead singer, goddamn if he wasn't an amazing harmony singer, and it served the band so well, and boy was it a loss not having that voice there. And this song of course had great pocket playing from Al, and a sweet little solo at 2:27, wait, I thought Eddie Van Halen didn't play with taste?
    This song is masterful, just masterful
     
  14. wavethatflag

    wavethatflag Your Ad Here

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    I agree 100%.
     
  15. vamborules

    vamborules Forum Resident

    Location:
    CT
    I love these isolated tracks because they show what a musical player he is. Never just riffing or doing licks. He's always playing a song.
     
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  16. Rosskolnikov

    Rosskolnikov Designated Cloud Yeller

    Beautiful Girls is one of their best "hit" type of songs. Super bouncy, excellent rhythm guitar work, great vocals in the verses and catchy harmonies in the chorus. Wonderful solo. Goes well with "Little Guitars" and "Top Jimmy" to my ears.
     
  17. GodShifter

    GodShifter Discharge - Drunk With Power® Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA
    That’s why I consider him more of a music composer than just a guitar player. As you say, he’s always playing a song as opposed to just playing chords or whatever. He plays with a distinct intent on every song. He’s commented on this before.

    I think he’s a genius.
     
  18. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Forum Resident

    Location:
    Captiva Island, FL
    BEAUTIFUL GIRLS

    Come this way baby......Sit down right here whooo la la...think I got it now

    One of my top 10 Mighty Van Halen Tunes of all-time

    Nice background harmonizing and ...what's your name honey, where ya goin...wait, wait....

    Diamond Dave being Diamond Dave...

    My favorite tune on Van Halen II
     
  19. ChrisScooter1

    ChrisScooter1 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Athens, GA
    "Beautiful Girls" -- What a way to end a darn near perfect Side Two. It is a masterful, feel good, perfectly arranged, wonderfully played hard rock boogie. This song is about as catchy a hard rock song as you will ever find. It's almost a perfect 3:30 minute radio ditty as well, but that extra :30 of Dave banter makes for a wonderful album cut "single."

    Everything I like about Dave era Van Halen is on full display, here. Eddie's rhythm and lead playing are spot on, Alex plays just what's right for the song, adds his own swagger to the mix and drives the band with a masterful groove, Mikey has some of his best background vocals, the melody is strong and Dave's jive just rolls along. Nothing particularly "earth-shatteringly" trailblazing here, but no one does California style boogie better than these guys, especially on this tune. It epitomizes the feel of late 70's California in my mind. I can just see the backyard kegger when this song starts up, but of course way better than my high school keggers, 'cause I bet there's a pool and the girls are much hotter. ;-)

    Just when I think Dave's ego and Casanova-like personna convinced me he could get any girl he wanted, this song has a nice self effacing ending....the girl of Dave's dreams is rejecting his advances. She must have been some lady...;-)

    The kiss at the end is just the cherry on top to close the rollicking good fun of side Two. I do however posit an alternate sequence that I think would have been just as good as this sequence--

    Light Up The Sky
    Women in Love
    Spanish Fly
    Beautiful Girls
    DOA
     
  20. BluesOvertookMe

    BluesOvertookMe Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seabrook, TX, USA
    Sounds like you and I need to have a drink at Baby Dolls for ahem, research.
     
  21. GodShifter

    GodShifter Discharge - Drunk With Power® Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA
    You have a Baby Dolls down in the Houston area? That is the last club I went to; probably close to 15 years ago. I hated it, but I’m always open to giving things a second chance :D
     
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  22. GodShifter

    GodShifter Discharge - Drunk With Power® Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA
    Dude, your write up was awesome. You and @vamborules have a better handle on VH than I do. Nice job to the both of you. Thanks to your contributions; both of you. Every one, really.
     
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  23. BluesOvertookMe

    BluesOvertookMe Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seabrook, TX, USA
    No, I was suggesting a Dallas club. If you’re coming here, the answer is St. James.

    Or so i may have read.:D
     
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  24. GodShifter

    GodShifter Discharge - Drunk With Power® Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA
    You come to Dallas often, brah?
     
  25. BluesOvertookMe

    BluesOvertookMe Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seabrook, TX, USA
    Not too often, but I can find a reason. :cool:
     
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