I must admit upfront, I was never a huge original Van Halen fan. I appreciated the guitar wizardry as a technical achievement, but DLR is a limited singer at best and the nudge nudge wink grew a little old with me. Yes, absolutely an Adonis and archetypal front man in Dave, but for all it was lauded, quite rightly taken in context, there is only so far you can go down that road. 1984, was probably the high water mark even if trouble hadn't been brewing between the band.
For proof of that theory, DLR lasted about two albums of, let's face it Van Halen, sans the Van Halen brothers, before the public got bored with the joke and his career died.
So enter Sammy Hagar, and of him I was and am a fan. Great singer and a charismatic front man... less showbiz, more content on all fronts. So, 5150 mirrors that change. The best album by VH, with or without Sammy. Great songs and musicianship allowed to run free with a bona fide singer and musician. Eddie and co never sounded more musical and free.
Sure not the jokey VH that so many love, but we have those albums, so no reason to hate this one on principle.
Try it, absorb it for what it is, an evolved band with a different sound -much like Rush every 4 or 5 albums... Trust me, freed from prejudice, you won't find a better album from any of these guys...