Musically, the band are as strong as ever. The album contains 13 tracks of unashamed, unabashed, joyous Rock n Roll music. The years haven’t diminished the phenomenal guitar skills of Eddie that helped make the band so successful from the start. The solos are still lightning fast, with riffs that, if anything, prove that the band is as heavy as ever. There are few real problems with the music on the album, the biggest criticisms I have are: that occasionally the vocals seem to get a bit messy and become rather unclear. David Lee Roth, the enigmatic front man, although still a great singer, has, over the years, aged and is no longer what he once was. The drums pound away and keep a huge sounding beat going throughout the album
Some of the lyrical material is not exactly genius, with some songs sounding remarkably similar to earlier tracks (Stay Frosty bares a remarkable resemblance to Ice Cream Man) One of the tracks on the album, You and Your Blues seems to do nothing more than quote the titles of old Blues and rock numbers. The first single from the album, Tattoo although catchy, lacks some of the spark and energy of their earlier songs. With a fairly cheesy refrain which, nonetheless is rather catchy. As a song, it’s not exactly highbrow or musically complicated, but it includes a typical Eddie guitar solo, proving that despite the years he’s still got his famous blazing chops.
In the end, Van Halen haven’t exactly stretched themselves or done anything different with this album. However, as such a well established band, that will either be a positive or a negative depending on your point of view. Nostalgia is probably the best way to listen to this album. Put aside any desires for a new sound, just think yourself into the minds of a 1980s Rock kid, and blast it out loud and proud. For me, it’s what this band’s meant to be: unashamed, unabashed, pure good time Rock & Roll!