Suggested Retail Price: $15.88 (deluxe edition), $12.33 (standard edition)
Label: Interscope Records

You won’t be partying like it’s 1984 when you start listening to the new Van Halen album A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH – the first featuring David Lee Roth on vocals in 28 years.

In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to party like it’s 1975, 1976 or 1977 – the years in which the scraps and seeds of many of the songs included here were originally conceived by guitarist Eddie Van Halen and Roth.

Instead, A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH is a messy, frustrating and ultimately soulless album. It’s a cash cow to the nth degree, amplified by the fact that Halen and Roth had to dig into the past to find new music instead of moving forward with newer, fresher and perhaps more challenging material.

While the Roth-led Van Halen certainly had its highs – and its share of great songs that have stood the test of time, I would argue that when Sammy Hagar took over, the group really graduated into more complex and daring material. It was a different texture, style and definitely a more polished sheen that was brought into the mix, but most importantly, Hagar was a musician/singer, Roth just sings.

And as Roth coasts through the 13 tracks here, it’s a total grab bag. Some times he’s screeching like his old self, other times he’s reciting deep vocaled poetry that completely gets in the way of the music and other times he sounds like your drunk grandpa trying to get his spandex on and, well, sadly, it just doesn’t fit.

While I hated “Tattoo” when it was released as the first single, surprisingly, it’s one of the better songs on the set (and grows on you with repeated listens). I still can’t stand Roth’s deep-throated vocals sprinkled throughout (it’s too damn creepy), but at least it sounds somewhat modern.

The best song is actually “Big River” which sounds like classic Van Halen (and well it is, since it’s one of those 1970s leftovers remade for 2012). It’s simple, sweet and has a great propulsive beat. I also liked the strange, bluesy “Stay Frosty” which is guaranteed to become a staple of their live shows.

Everything else on the album sort of stumbles or falls apart (there are five originals that were recently written, with only “Stay Frosty” really standing out among the pack).

The other big question is how Eddie’s son Wolfgang Van Halen does on bass. While many would prefer to have Michael Anthony back in the mix, Wolfgang fits in with the group just fine.

After the debacle of the Gary Cherone-led Halen for one uninspired album (though the first single off that disc “Without You” is better than anything on this release), there was only one place for the band to go and that was reunite with Hagar or reunite with Roth.

Purists will prefer Roth and they got it, but I just wish there was more here. I was looking forward to hearing what Van Halen had in store after more than 14 years in between albums. Sadly, not much.

That said, A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH will still be a huge hit. Bringing Roth back was a coup and there is some logic in mining the past in hopes of recapturing it. Is it shameless? Yes, but it sure beats the alternative – having a fourth singer come into the mix and I don’t think Van Halen could support the weight of Van Halen – the Adam Lambert years.

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Article: CD Review – Van Halen – A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH

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Comments:

  1. I’m guessing you are either sammy hagar or someone who also hates things like pizza, beer, football and getting laid……….This album completely effin rocks

    Kevin
    • totally agree…Van Halen’s best record in many many years…Eddie has written all the Sammy era ballady stuff so I don’t see the need for him to stay in that vein…some stuff with Sam was quite good…..but if you are as I am a true VAN HALEN fan…this is the record we’ve been waiting for…I just can’t say enough about it…

      Patrick
    • Amen, Brotha, Amen. This review is a mess. The album is relentlessly awesome.

      Justin
    • LOL! Perfect response. I can’t figure out if the point of this review was just to get as many responses as possible or if the reviewer is either A: A DLR hater or B: Clueless about rock music and Van Halen in particular.

      I am a VH fan who has been on Sammy’s side of the great war and loved the Van Hagar years, but this album is about as perfect a reunion album with DLR as any Van Halen fan could ask for. Half of the album is great reworked songs in classic VH style. The other half is new stuff…and guess what? It is similar to how they have done almost all their albums. Even stuff on the Hagar albums came from the old days. Sure this one has more of it, but these are all songs that undoubtedly would have been on VH albums with Roth had he stayed in the band as each album with him featured stuff from their original demo (right up to 1984, House of Pain and the end of Hot For Teacher).

      Anyway, the point isn’t to break new ground take over pop music radio. This is an album for Van Halen fans and it hits in a HUGE way.

      Jason
      • I agree with the review 100% and either you people have problems with your hearing or you’ve never heard Van Halen’s music before. It’s cool that they brought back Roth for long time fans like myself who know fully well that Roth is the voice of Van Halen. That said, however, “A Different Kind Of Truth” was a major disappointment in my opinion. It sounds like a two part album of sorts. On the one side, you have the Van Halen’s (Eddie, Alex & Wolfgang) doing what VH does on the instrumental side and on the other you have David Lee Roth doing what sounds like what he did in his solo career, vocal-wise. The album sounds like 2 entities, in that it isn’t messed together (Van Halen or Roth) and thus it is missing the fire that it should have as a result. Thank God, I only listened to it online and wasn’t dumb enough to waste my money on it.

        Steve
      • I agree with the review 100% and either you people have problems with your hearing or you’ve never heard Van Halen’s music before. It’s cool that they brought back Roth for long time fans like myself who know fully well that Roth is the voice of Van Halen. That said, however, “A Different Kind Of Truth” was a major disappointment in my opinion. It sounds like a two part album of sorts. On the one side, you have the Van Halen’s (Eddie, Alex & Wolfgang) doing what VH does on the instrumental side and on the other you have David Lee Roth doing what sounds like what he did in his solo career, vocal-wise. The album sounds like 2 entities, in that it isn’t meshed together properly(Van Halen side or Roth side) and thus it is missing the fire that it should have as a result. Thank God, I only listened to it online and wasn’t dumb enough to waste my money on it.

        Steve
  2. You sir are an idiot!
    This album Rocks!!

    Don Benjamin
  3. Pingback: CD Review: Van Halen – A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH | Buy CDs Cheap

  4. This is the weakest review I have read so far. Saying a Gary Cherone song is better than anything on this album just shows that you are not even qualified to review this album. Eddie and the band are on fire and if you can’t hear that you are just plain retarded… And it’s spelled”bass’ not “base” moron.

    [Editor Note: Bass is fixed. We’ve told Carl he’s a moron. He says he takes that as a compliment and notes he hated the Cherone album, except for that one track]

    Jeff
  5. You’re an idiot what a horrible revue!

    Brent
  6. Pingback: CD Review: Van Halen – A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH « Music Conduit

  7. What a clueless review! I seriously have to wonder if this is supposed to be an early April Fool’s joke, since almost every one of the opinions in here is completely laughable.

    Steve
  8. YOU SIR ARE THE BIGGEST LAME **s REVIEWER IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. HAGAR IS BRILLIANT AND ROTH HAD HIS MOMENTS? ALBUMS A MESS? YOUR TASTE IS DOG ***T, LIKE YOUR SUITS NO DOUBT. GO REVIEW CHEF BOY ARE DEE MENUS YOU CIRCUS CLOWN!

    [Editor’s Note: Carl says that he’s working on the Chef Boy Are Dee Menu review right now. He also added that yes, Hagar was better than Roth, though he loves the 1984 album]

    1984REDUX
  9. YOUR A @#!T!

    1984REDUX
  10. What a dumb a** review, All I can say is you suck!!!

    ejk
  11. This guy obviously a big Sammy lover… This is the best ablbum they have done in 20 years!! Eddie at some of his best and Roth sounds fantastic.. You have no clue what great music is.. Stay at home and jerk off to love walks in.

    Mitch
  12. I’m not very good at predicting the future, but I think we may have read someone’s last review before being sent back to the mail room. …you sir, are absolutely clueless. I had to doublecheck to make sure we were talking about the same record. This is one fantastic record, please don’t lose any articles of mail after you sort them.

    Jaime Hellcat-Texas
  13. No soul? Id be curious to see what modern music lives on your hard drives.
    [Editor’s Note: Carl says he has Def Leppard, The Darkness, Foxy Shazam, The Head and the Heart, Bon Iver, Cracker and yes, several songs from the new Van Halen currently in rotation on his iTunes.]

    Greg
  14. Well, you’re credibility is immediately shot by stating that Without You is better than anything on this album. That’s not really even debatable, and furthermore, Without You isn’t even the best song on the VH3 atrocity- that (dubious) distinction would go to Fire In The Hole.

    Based on your review, the “more” you wanted from this album was basically another VH album with Sammy as the front man. Well, good luck with that one.

    Ray Dio
  15. This guy has a dead ear and no writing ability whatsoever.

    Spinblastr
  16. You have zero taste in hard-rocking music. What a dope. Spend the hundred bucks Spammy sent you on something good, idiot.

    Joe
  17. My god what a pi$$ poor review. This album is fantastic, and tunes like Honeybabysweetiedoll are enough to melt the face off of the worst cynic.

    It is clear that the reviewer loves the Sammy Horrible years, and that alone should disqualify him from reviewing this album. Hagar was a soulless hack who, along with Eddie and Alex after the departure of Dave, helped to make VH the musical equivalent of a TV dinner: a god awful flavorless mess.

    Thank the gods above that Dave is back, and thank god for this album.

    Elvis7
  18. Not only is this a great album, it could be a monumental album, one that is a landscape-changer! Remember when the Clash released “London Calling”, punk rock came to prominence or when Nirvana released “nevermind” that killed all the big-hair rock bands, ADKOT could be that kind of album, kill music like Katy Perry or Gaga, et al, and bring Rock back again into the mainstream. Fashion, music, etc. just recyles itself, it doesn’t need to invent a new one…motorcycle jackets were in style back in the 80’s..guess what…it’s back in style again! tight fitting Spandex?…look around you, it’s what hot young women wear today!

    Ram
  19. I’d be really interested in reading some of this guy’s other reviews, because this is terrible. Honestly, I’m not going to say that this is the best album ever, but it is damn good. It captures a 30 year old sound without sounding like it’s 30 years ago. If you don’t like this album, then you probably don’t like the classic VH sound. As for the specifics of the review, by saying Big River is the best song on the record makes you wonder if Cortez actually has any ability to actually assess music. If you’re only going to listen to a few songs, try Blood and Fire, As Is, Stay Frosty, and Outta Space (a rework from the 1976 Gene Simmons Demo). Short Answer, A Different Kind of Truth rocks!

    Carl
  20. Are you kidding me with this review? I’m not sure how you came to these conclusions. This album rocks, plain and simple. Something here for everyone. Personally LOVING Stay Frosty, China Town, You and Your Blues, Blood and Fire, and, well really all of the songs. Quite frankly, you seem like a bit of a douchebag, Carl.

    [Editor’s Note: Actually, we call Carl a douchebag a lot around the office. He really is. So you’re preaching to the choir!]

    CuppaJoe
  21. Well, this was not even close to a music review in my estimation, it was merely the dumping ground for the reviewers personally biased opinions and characterizations. Seems some people can’t appreciate D.L Roth’s unbridled full self expression and his seemingly limitless esteem for himself 😉 regardless of others opinion of him. Personally, i think they are likely jealous, envious and or threatened as if it were “Too much expression of 1 personality”. I’m mean, come on..Dave’s the one who has put himself out there and people can take it or leave it.
    Myself? I wish i had that kind of courage and that level of strength and energy to give to be expressing my own unique self.
    I saw them in Grand Rapids and i forewarned my son, Dave is a full out showman, and people are pretty much hot or cold about him, they love him or get pissed at him. It was an amazing show.(Wished he would have had the long hair like the old days, a great prop wig would have been fun & awesome) If i had a wish for Dave it would be that he was expressing values were more aligned with Alex’s…but then, i would not be satisfied till they were all using their great rock talents to glorify God. I mean, this is a great planet, but were only here so long, and think we should all feel some responsibility for being cause in the matter of our contributions to humanity. Captivating with purpose yet transcending mere entertainment and popularity. So that’s my two cents.

    Craig Stur
  22. You sir, are a c***. Probably Sammy Hagar’s c*** at that.

    Rob
  23. After nearly thirty years I finally can listen to my favorite band again. No more sappy hagar bull***t.

    Jeff
  24. Love the comments, hate the review. ADKOT is the best g**damn reunion/comeback album ever. Period.

    Justin
  25. “While the Roth-led Van Halen certainly had its highs – and its share of great songs that have stood the test of time, I would argue that when Sammy Hagar took over, the group really graduated into more complex and daring material. It was a different texture, style and definitely a more polished sheen that was brought into the mix, but most importantly, Hagar was a musician/singer, Roth just sings.”

    LO-F’in-L. You don’t get Rock and Roll and you don’t get Van Halen in the least. You sir are unqualified to write about either. Polished Sheen? F that, dude. F that. No real Van Halen fan is looking for polished sheen. LMFAO. Polished Sheen.

    Justin
  26. People who prefer that Van Halen sound like Billy Joel (Hagar era) should really just go away already. They were never Van Halen fans. And, people who are tone deaf should not review music. Your time would have been better spent searching for your balls.

    AZ
  27. This may be the dopiest review ever. This album, without question, rocks.

    Kurt
  28. Another bit of hilarity, and I quote:

    “They don’t party like it’s 1984 anymore, but Roth lovers may be drawn into a familiar mix of thrashing guitar licks and uninspired lyrics”

    Roth lovers. Awesome. So if John Lennon had left the Beatles and been replaced by Sammy Hagar – you would call people who wished for Lennon to be in the band “Lennon lovers” You are and IDIOT. I’m not a Roth lover. I’m a VAN HALEN lover – which BTW has nothing whatsoever to do with Sammy Hagar. Secondly, the “uninspired lyrics” comment may be my absolute favorite. Listen, just because you don’t understand the lyrics, doesn’t mean you should bash them. Sammy’s lyrics were defintely more inspired though – let’s see – what did he sing about again…Oh yes, he sang about tail, chicks, babes, sex, more tail, and oh yes, getting laid. Deep deep stuff. Your next review should be about splitting the atom, or building the space shuttle, or the existence of dark matter perhaps. You know, other topics you have no business writing about. Moron.

    [Editor’s Note: Carl says he is currently working on an article on how to build a better space shuttle and also a story on how to fix the world debt crisis. He still does not like the new Van Halen though.]

    AZ
  29. Let me get this straight: Someone paid this guy for his “review?” Where can I apply for a job like that? It’s been a while since I’ve seen someone write something so off-base. In fact, the truth is, the “reviewer” wrote this nonsense simply to be “contrary.” He got what he wanted. The guy that wrote this review is the sort of dude, I imagine, that got his a** kicked a lot in school – by Van Halen, er “Roth” fans. No, but, for real. This review was ridiculous.

    [Editor’s Note: Carl responds: :”I know everyone is irritated by this review. I didn’t write it to be contrary with legions of Van Halen fans who apparently love the album. I rushed out to buy the disc the moment it came out. I was excited, but, unfortunately I was disappointed. I listened to it many times, hoping it would grow on me. It didn’t. It’s an opinion, just like everyone else is entitled to love the new album. My favorite songs from the band span equally with both Roth and Hagar eras. I would even argue they were two different types of bands using the same name. And as for getting my a** kicked in high school, it was sadly by the Goth kids who liked Depeche Mode since there were only a couple of us VH fans at the school and we tended to not beat each other up.”]

    Dude Rockstar
  30. This is a hack review. I take it the “more complex and daring material” from Hagar like Big Fat Money, Sucker in a 3 piece, or Poundcake would elevate this album to an A+. Roth’s subject matter, lyrics, melody, and vocals are in top form here.

    Vince
  31. WOW. Just WOW. I have never read a review of ANY release as bad as this one. As was said a few times in other comments, this guy is either fishing for controversy, or simply doesn’t get Van Halen AT ALL. Hilarious!

    PVH
  32. Gotta disagree with you here. I’m actually pleasantly surprised by how good this album is.

    The fact that Roth sounds like a dirty old man instead of a horny teen is exactly what makes this work. That glib, off the cuff attitude had to mature with the man lest he become a mere cartoon of a shadow of an enigma of a … well, you see where I’m going.

    Of course, they dusted off some old war horses here; not only have they not worked together on new stuff since ’85, it’s what the fans want and expect.

    And I can’t even begin to comment on the Sammy Hagar Idolatry. Get some cochlear implants, perhaps?

    RoyBatty
  33. i can see why you don’t like this album, as compared to first 6 albums, this album is weak. I blame the production more than anything else. this being said, I think this album grows on you in a weird way. Hooneybabysweetdoll, bullethead,you and your blues, and stay frosty are good songs, ‘as is’ has it’s great moments.

    Bob
  34. You sir, are the reason that Van Halen never liked critics. You are clueless when it comes to understanding good rock music. This is exactly what Rock needed – something that is fun, fast, and kicks a**!! Way better than anything produced by today’s angry kids who play the same 3 or 4 chords over and over, and over…

    JM
  35. When did Sammy and Mike start writing reviews? This album exudes the kind of awesomeness that filled the first three VH albums.

    AWR
  36. Incredible album. Clueless reviewer.

    Dicky
  37. ive bought cds from other rockers of the past like the newer stuff i mean s*** from other rockers of van halen era,like boston,journey,foriener and they dont even sound like the use to the new van halen cd rocks from start to finish.the sound i was hoping for.i was not dissapointed at all. rocks from start to finish,one guitar and drum assault. great.

    Danny

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