Entertainment Quantified

Jun 1, 2004 - Music

Van Halen's New Song "It's About Time"

Eddie Van Halen is arguably one of the greatest guitarists to ever pick up an ax. At a very young age he and his brother Alex would play together inspired by their father who was a classically trained musician. Eventually Alex and Eddie met up with a bassist named Michael Anthony and an ego named David Lee Roth. Together they changed guitar rock forever. You can hear their influence in just about all Rock and Roll today. In about 1985 David went his own way and Eddie came across Sammy Hagar though a mutual mechanic and the “Van Hagar” era of Van Halen started. Many people felt that the only true Van Halen had David Lee Roth at the helm. Others, myself included, preferred the depth that Sammy brought to the band. Until the late 90’s Sammy would belt out some of the best songs that could be heard as the front man of Van Halen. Then dark times arose. Eddie and Sammy parted ways and Van Halen released a “Best of” album and got a new front man, former lead singer of Extreme Gary Cherone. They released Van Halen III and they may as well called it “Van Halen the Extreme Experience.” The album sounded like Extreme replace Nuno Bettencourt with Eddie Van Halen but kept singing the same songs. Needless to say there was one thing all Van Halen fans agreed upon, Gary Cherone was the worst thing that could happen to Van Halen. Warner Bros. told the brothers Van Halen that if they wanted to tour or release any more albums they’d either have to make up with David Lee Roth, or Sammy Hagar. They did not ever want a repeat of Gary Cherone. They tried a tour with David Lee Roth, but all the old ego problems crept up. Then tragedy struck when Eddie had to have hip replacement surgery. Is this the end of Van Halen? Sammy however went off and continued his solo career releasing three albums which included the great and instant party classic “Mas Tequila.” The San Francisco native had great parties and even introduced his own brand of tequila called Cabo Wabo. Finally in early 2004 it was announced that Van Halen would go on tour once again, and with Sammy taking the helm once again. The sun came out. The birds were rejoicing. Microsoft and Sun settled their differences, and Palestinians and Israelis danced together in the streets. Well, the last thing didn’t happen, but if Eddie and Sammy can reunite and Microsoft and Sun can settle their differences anything can happen. Today on a radio station called 107.7 The Bone, Lamont and Tonelli had the World Premier of Van Halen’s new song, “It’s About Time.” It sure has been a long time, and for the first time in years a new Van Halen song was on the radio. It starts off with a heavy guitar riff reminiscent of early Metallica. Then all of a sudden we are in the bridge to the chorus. What just happened? You opened with the hook. That’s not normal. Maybe it’s cool though, I’ll just wait for the first verse to know for sure. Chorus goes something like “It’s about time, it’s about time, it’s been a really, really long time….,” but not in that “It’s been a long time since I’ve rock and rolled” way. It’s different, heavier. It is as if they were trying to get the point out that it’s been a long time since Van Halen has rocked, but you are going to have to wait longer. Then they go into a bridge for another chorus. It’s at this point that the truth is obvious to anyone: This song, as impossible as can be, actually sucks. The guitar is amazing. Eddie still has it. The singing is great. Sammy still has it. However, the lyrics sound like this song was one that was cut from Van Halen III because it sucked just that bad. There wasn’t any cohesion between Sammy and Eddie. It was almost as if they were competing. Like Eddie was trying to show that his guitar was the front person of the band and Sammy’s voice was just a background instrument like Michael Anthony’s bass. The song ends just as powerful as it begins. No song can survive on hook alone. Lamont and Tonelli took a few phone calls afterwards to find out what people think. The first person loved it. Still in shock probably that Van Halen has a new song out. The second, third, and fourth callers all said that it was not worth waiting for, but stipulated that if Sammy’s voice is singing it, they will buy it. All in all, this song needs to go back in the oven. Eddie, Sammy, Alex, and Michael you need to go back to 5150 studios and rehash the song. It has great potential, but you should probably listen to your old studio tapes from when you were recording “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” and get back into that mode. People that will pay $100 for concert tickets and $20 for a CD deserve better. For now the fans will have to hope that you released the worst song first, and there are more new songs waiting that rock the way Poundcake did.