On February 7, “A Different Kind Of Truth” hit the streets making fans pretty happy. It’s Van Halen’s first outing with original singer David Lee Roth in nearly 30 years and the first since leaving Warner Bros. for Interscope. The 13-track album rocks hard, bringing along traces of nostalgia for the fans who had listen the band in their time of glory, as Lee Roth imposed his signature vocals and kitschy style to the band, proving that he’s really back.
Although the opening track of the album, “Tattoo,” has received mixed reviews, the album as a whole received only praise. With Roth in front, Eddie Van Halen on guitar, Alex Van Halen on drums and Wolfgang Van Halen on bass, “A Different Kind Of Truth” couldn’t be any different than this. Besides, the producer is not a newbie, but the Grammy award-winner John Shanks. As for the tracks, there are some pros and cons.
The first single is not as good as other songs such as “She’s The Woman” and “Big River” which were re-worked from early demos of the band. “Tattoo” has the weakest lyrics and sound, “You and Your Blues” can be disappointing to some of their fans as Roth seems to just randomly say the names of other songs by other artists, or partially quote lyrics from other songs. The best lyrics seem to have been collected in one particular song, “The Trouble With Never”, where Roth sings “I know you never thought about it bu/ ask yourself later/ when you turn on your stereo/ does it return the favor”. “China Town,” also known as “the song where Eddie Van Halen’s guitar sounds like an Atari 2600,” “Big River”, “Blood and Fire” and “Beats Workin” are said to be the highlights.
Furthermore, don’t expect 100% newness form this album because you won’t get it. Some songs date back to the golden years of their musical career. For instance, “She’s The Woman” appeared on a 1976 VAN HALEN demo produced by KISS bassist Gene Simmons, while “Tattoo” is said to be the copy of “Down In Flames” which the band used to play in its late ’70s club days without including it on any of their records.
Filled with melodic pop underpinnings fused with Roth’s lower, flexible voice, the album is worth paying for. It has decent songs – “Bullethead,” “As Is,” and “Outta Space” that warrant your time and money and invite you to further reflection. The Chicago Tribune wrote that Roth tried to “reinvent himself” in this album and that he actually did it, while The Washington Post wrote that “Different Truth is keyed more towards the frenetic, adrenal whoop of the first two Van Halen albums than to the synthy Top 40 buzz of later hits such as ‘Jump’”.
In conclusion, Van Halen are no longer in their glory days of party metal kings, but they’re in their rediscovering days. They try to rediscover and reinvent what once made them so adored worldwide and just have fun. “A Different Kind Of Truth” rocks from every point of view and let’s hope it’s not their last.
The first single from the album, “Tattoo“, was released on January 10, 2012. One day after its release to iTunes, it was the #1 selling rock song in the US, Canada, Finland and the Netherlands, while charting in Sweden, Belgium, Germany and the UK. It also received over two million YouTube hits in its first week of release.
By January 23, 2012, “Tattoo” was ranked #1 on Billboard’s Hard Rock Singles chart, the #1 most played song at classic rock radio in its first week and #1 most added song at mainstream and active rock radio