Van Halen : Women and Children First
(Warner Bros. - 1980)
With all of the attention and praise going to the first two albums and to their poppiest album '1984', people seem to overlook or forget what a terrific album Van Halen's third slab of vinyl was. It certainly is the best of the six David Lee Roth era albums.
The emphasis had shifted away from the desire to transmit a sort of "good time feeling", resulting in less lightweight choruses and better, more consistent songs. As a result the album does sound a bit more downbeat, and a bit more mature certainly, but while that may have been a problem for pimpled boys and girls, it was a good thing for men with brains and a superior taste in music.
The three albums following this one, although overall still pretty decent ones, would all be a step down in terms of song writing quality. And yes, that includes '1984'. It would even take a new vocalist (Sammy Hagar) before they were finally able to release an album that was at the same height.
Van Halen's output was spotty, especially towards the end of their carreer. But at least they released two excellent albums ('5150' and 'Women and Children First') which is more than can be said of most bands.
Official website: http://www.van-halen.com
Fan website: http://www.vanhalen.com