OU812 (1988)

1. Mine All Mine
2. When It's Love
3. A.F.U. (Naturall Wired)
4. Cabo Wabo
5. Source of Infection
6. Feels So Good
7. Finish What Ya Started
8. Black and Blue
9. Sucker in a 3 Piece
10.A Apolitical Blues


Nobody was really sure what was going to happen to Van Halen with Sammy Hagar fronting the band. After the success of 5150, it was very clear that this incarnation had what it took to be successful. Whereas 5150 had the band gradually changing its sound from the heavily laden party atmosphere of days gone by into a more structured, melodic outfit, this record finds that evolution complete with no signs of the hedonistic cult band of days of yore.

That's not to say this was necessarily a serious band. No, Van Halen would always have a hearty, party atmosphere about them. It's just that with Sammy at the lead, the music took precedence over the partying. None of the radio staples here sound like old Van Halen, yet they all resonated just as well with the majority of the band's followers. Songs such as Finish What You Started, When It's Love and Feels So Good were all powerful enough to stand on their own without (too many) allusions to sex, partying and teen-age lust. As a matter of fact, the only thing on this record that sounds somewhat reminiscent of days gone by is the carefree Source of Infection.

Most of the record flows very well together. Oddly, the title cut Mine All Mine is almost a bit of a 'serious' song - at least where the lyrics are concerned. It almost sounds as though the band are searching for religion, or at least for the various world religions to have some sort of harmony amongst themselves. Most of the album, though, is very light - as a Van Halen record should be. The only dog on the album is the cover of A Apolitical Blues,that closes out the record. The song does what it's supposed to do, but it proves that Van Halen simply should never try to play the blues. It kind of brings the whole record down a notch.

Yes, there would always be those that swore that this incarnation (affectionately known by many as 'Van Hagar') would never be as good as the band when it was fronted by David Lee Roth, but it was what it was, and the band deserves masses of credit for making this incarnation work as well as it did.

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