First things first - this record deserves to be listened to with big speakers, loud - not through your laptop!
Tattoo - I love it, but it`s the weakest song on the record. Reworks an old demo, "Down in Flames", very modern sounding, great solo, and strong performance lyrically and vocally from Dave.
She's The Woman - Another new "old" song. Transports you straight back to the late 70s, wah-wah intro, badass bass line, great groove, classic Dave, and classic Van Halen.
You and Your Blues - superb intro, Dave really sounding great, singalong bridge and chorus.
China Town - What the what? Van Maiden intro :) Proper ballstothewall Van Halen! Think Romeo Delight, Sinners Swing or DOA. Wow. Eddie is 57 remember. not 17.
Blood and Fire - I love this song so much. It could fit somewhere on side two of 1984. Eddie gives one of those solos that makes you freeze what you`re doing.
Bullethead - quick, punchy hard-rockin` CVH.
As Is - Now, this is how to start a song! A bit of magic from Alex, Eddie grooving like it`s 1984, Dave at a hundred mph - "everybody, let`s stay focussed" - it`s pure Van Halen boogie. Eddie`s solo sounds like Eruption...speeded up.
Honeybabysweetiedoll - Sounds like an obscure DLR song called Flex. Really powerful bass, sounds like nothing they`ve done before, almost like industrial metal.
The Trouble With Never - very DLR, funny lyrics - "When you turn on your stereo, does it return the favour?". Lots of wah-wah, think it got stuck in the "on" position :)
Outta Space - Brilliant fun, it`s an old Eddie riff, powerful from everyone. Great words.
Stay Frosty - Remember Ice Cream Man? Gut feeling is that "Stay Frosty" is the greatest thing I`ve ever heard, it`s got that groove, tempo, solo, lyrics and beat that no other band gives me. The song I`m walking around singing.
Big River - An old demo called "Big Trouble" reappears. Which is fantastic news, because fans have wanted that for about 35 years.
Beats Workin` - Really strong finale. Probably the most dramatic intro to a Van Halen song since...Mean Street? You can easily imagine the 3 Van Halen`s in Eddie`s studio messing about when they came up with this. Sounds like no other band on earth. Things change for mid-song minute, and it gets totally spine chilling. Closes like all records should, with a huge wall of feedback. Like Van Halen closing everything down. Why couldn`t this record carry on for an hour more?
This record warrants (deserves) a lot of listens to catch everything that`s going on. I think they`ve reinvented Rock again. A lot of the songs remind me of the classic records from 1978-84, but firstly they have aged brilliantly so that`s no bad thing, but they have the 21st century stamped all over them. I can`t believe it`s true, but it was worth the wait. They`re back baby.