Women and Children First (1980)

1. And the Cradle Will Rock...
2. Everybody Wants Some!!
3. Fools
4. Romeo Delight
5. Tora! Tora!
6. Loss of Control
7. Take Your Whiskey Home
8.Could This Be Magic?
9. In a Simply Rhyme


The third Van Halen release was a perfect experiment of the type of record these guys needed to release. After their first two records that were flat out simple, yet powerful, the guys probably realized that they would need to modify things slightly in order for the fickle public to maintain any interest. The guys manage to make their sound a bit more constructed, the arrangements a bit more careful, and the overall production goes up a tad in terms of craftsmanship. Fortunately, the guys maintain their heady party atmosphere throughout, and you never once forget that you're listening to Van Halen.

The opening song is a prime sampler for such changes - the first single And The Cradle Will Rock.. begins with an avalanche guitar riff that upon first listen, you may not quite realize it's Eddie Van Halen, simply because it's so different from his signature riffs that graced the band's first two records. The same can be said for the overall feel of the song in terms of its structure, yet as the song goes on, we definitely can begin to tell it's the same guys we love - including David Lee Roth with his tongue in cheek ode to juvenile delinquency. This is the best thing on the album, but the whole package is nearly flawless. Everybody Wants Some!! is a terrific sing along anthem for the plastered pantheon of fans, that seemed to all of the sudden begin to multiply ten fold.

Romeo Delight, Fools and the combat seasoned Loss of Control (that sounds like it was recorded in an airplane radio tower) all favor the band's strengths, and show off the band's showmanship, which was just start to become noticed as the guys started a spectacle tour which would rewrite the rules of what a 'rock and roll' show was supposed to be. Seeing these guys in concert was an amazing experience - even if it did bear more towards theater as opposed to music in some cases. What's probably the most pleasing aspect of the album is when they show off a little bluesy, acoustic music near the end of the record with Take Your Whisky Home and the rollicking Could This Be Magic. Again, they were maturing - if you could possibly use that word when talking about Van Halen. The only serious misstep is the closer, In a Simply Rhyme which makes you wonder if the guys were trying for a power ballad or something. What seems to be hilarious is that you can almost hear them give up halfway through the song and try to mould it into something else. Well, you live and you learn. They were slowly becoming a household name.

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