It takes Van Halen 35 minutes to achieve what most bands can’t in a lifetime, and the proof is in their self-titled debut album from 1978. The original lineup of David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony, Alex and Eddie Van Halen are in their untapped hard-rock glory. The 11-track album is a flawless example of what a debut album should be.
The album kicks off with the now-classic “Runnin’ with the Devil,” which is one of the best songs they ever recorded. The guitar work of Eddie Van Halen with the master front-man work of Roth collide in an explosion of great music that is the anthem for all fans of hard rock.
Then the second track, “Eruption,” is just Van Halen experimenting with a guitar technique called finger tapping, and it is marvelous to hear how great his early guitar work is.
That is followed by a hard-rock cover of “You Really Got Me,” which is perfect for Roth’s voice, and you can hear in his voice that he loves every single minute of it. But Roth really lets his hair down with “Ice Cream Man,” which manages to be full of raw sexual power and surprisingly funny at the same time. The song focuses on the treats that he brings for the ladies, and you can only imagine where the song goes from there. Keep in mind this is Roth prior to becoming so egotistical, and proves what a genius he was when he first started.
But then again, when you are the front man for one of the best bands of all time, it may be easy to become a little egotistical.
The hits keeping on coming with “Jamie’s Cryin'” (Roth’s voice is the best it has ever been in this song), “Little Dreamer,” “Atomic Punk” and “Feel Your Love Tonight,” which have all become their own kinds of minor classics, and rightfully so. The band is truly focused on creating musical greatness for their fans, and that is what makes each song so great. Everything on this album is beautifully constructed to create an in-your-face and intelligent experience in the world of hard rock.
Turn your amplifier up to 11 to experience the great showmanship and guitar work that once was the original Van Halen lineup, and listen to the undiluted gods of rock. This is the album that started it all, for better or worse.
anthony nice review
as guitar player i will forget how humbled i was after hearing this album for the first time…there i was thinking i was pretty good and in “35 minutes” evh made me feel like i couldn’t play worth a lick…a new standard had been set and a new line in the sand was drawn