Van Halen The Best Of Both Worlds Warner Music
Produced By: Van Halen

Running Time:

Release Date: Out Now

Released: WORLD

Musical Style: Hard Rock

Links: Warner Music
Songs: 90%
Sound: 90%
This is how not to make a good compilation. Almost every rule in the book has been ignored which despite intentions, makes this look like a rushed cash-in, rather than a tribute to the greatest hard rock band ever.
Let's get something straight first and foremost. I am a huge Van Halen fan. They are my favourite band and this is not a critique of the majority of music featured within this package. There is no question that the music has stood the test of time and remains some of the best classic party rock (the Dave years) and some of the best more seriously themed rock and ballads (the Sammy Years).
This is a critique of the package itself, the way it has been assembled, the price tag attached and the very reason for its release.
As I stated, I am a huge fan. And I purchased this CD with my hard earned money. And I don't feel satisfied, despite getting an album of 36 "classic tracks".
Some of this review has to do with personal preferences, so I expect reader reviews to vary considerably.
Here goes. I don't think a double disc was necessary. I would have much preferred a companion release to Best Of Volume 1. What's the point of releasing Volume 1, where Volume 2 will never follow? Many tracks have been duplicated here and the price of a 2CD set for something most of us already own elsewhere is a little rich.
I also don't like the track running order. I would have preferred a Dave disc and a Sammy disc - which is what the label originally had intended. The listener can then pick the disc for the mood. And like him or loathe him, Gary Cherone did record an album as singer for Van Halen and it should be represented here even if it was for just one track. That of course would kill the Best Of Both Worlds theme, but for a 2CD package to be complete, it should be complete!
I also think the liner notes are a kiss-ass waste of space. They are minimalist at best and are written by a representative of a magazine that rated Eddie Van Halen an astonishing #70 in their best 100 guitarist of all time. Holy shit, if not the #1 guitarist ever, he should have at least been top 3. But now here is the same magazine kissing ass, providing liner notes and also praising current concerts with positive reviews when they have all but ignored the band for the last decade. Seems a little odd to me. Anyone else?
The packaging is also very minimalist. No colour pics, a simple foldout booklet and no Dave shots. How about a 24 page colour booklet with archive and previously unseen pics?
Last points before moving to the new studio tracks featured. The sudden cut-off with Finish What You Started and the inclusion of Strung Out in the same track as Not Enough strike me as being mistakes, not intentional tinkering. And the inclusion of three live tracks from Right Here, Right Now is just plain cheap. How many hundred unreleased live recordings exist of the band from any of their amazing eras? Something a little special for the die hard fans picking this package up would have been a nice gesture.
Ok, to the new tracks. I have been enjoying all three and am a big Sammy Hagar fan. I love his work in Van Halen and I absolutely adore Human's Being and felt the band were really heading in an interesting direction with that track.
Sadly everything went awol about that time and we have had to wait 8 years for more new Hagar led Van Halen music. Was it worth the wait? I think so, but I'm not blown away like I was upon hearing Human's Being.
I think these tracks take up where that track left off, but don't take things any further forward. They are good songs, enjoyable songs - but maybe not great songs.
What I do like best is Eddie's guitar playing. There are some really interesting parts within the songs that show that given the chance and the focus, these guys are still very much capable of recording some classic hard rock. I just don't think enough time was put into these particular tracks.
It's About Time is a feel good uptempo rocker with some lyrics that seem a little touchy-feely, without getting to the darker heart of what happened over the last 8 years. Cool riffing though and production wise, all three tracks sound sonically fantastic.
Up For Breakfast features a welcomed 5150 style keyboard intro and a down and dirty Eddie guitar riff that turns into a classic DLR styled boogie. This reminds me of the same vibe Can't Get This Stuff No More was going for on Best Of Vol. 1. But I still have problems getting past Sammy's lyrics. This is not the same caliber of lyric from the man that delivered Right Now, Mine all Mine, Dreams and Don't Tell Me.
Learning To See is probably the best new track. A little more experimental, nice and dark and angst ridden and featuring a killer riff, this track sees the band in a more challenging and emotional state of mind and that really works for me.
The Bottom Line
A release packed with music and 3 very welcomed new tracks. There is the thought that all fans should be grateful to get anything new, but with respect to the band, I feel there might have been better ways to deliver those new tracks than this package. Let's hope things kick on and result in a full new studio album.
Previously Reviewed
Van Halen 3

Line Up
Sammy Hagar, David Lee Roth: Vocals
Eddie Van Halen: Guitar
Alex Van Halen: Drums
Michael Anthony: Bass

Essential for fans of:
Van Halen
Track Listing
It's About Time
Up For Breakfast
Learning To See
Ain't Talking About Love
Finish What Ya Started
You Really Got Me
Hot For Teacher
And The Cradle Will Rock...
Black And Blue
Top Of The World
(Oh) Pretty Woman
Love Walks In
Beautiful Girls
Can't Stop Lovin' You
Best Of Both Worlds
Jamie's Cryin'
I'll Wait
Why Can't This Be Love
Runnin' With The Devil
When Its Love
Dancing In The Street
Not Enough
Feels So Good
Right Now
Everybody wants Some
Dance The Night Away
Ain't Talking 'Bout Love (Live)
Panama (Live)
Jump (Live)

23/10/05: Galoop -
Rating: 95
If you're a fan, you're a fan! My fave teams don't always win but I don't judge based on that 1 game! This could have been better, but hey, they're Van Halen!

06/08/05: Jimmy19029 -
Rating: 85
Well they finally put out a collection that gets all the hits and many of the key rockers. Not as good as Def Leppard's Rock of Ages which is pretty much complete as far as getting all the classics IMO.
Surprised that the collection doesn't go chronologically but, then again, alot of retrospectives these days aren't. Doesn't bother me at all.
The new tracks I like, for the most part. Up For Breakfast is particularly good.
Putting on the newer Sammy live versions of the DLR era tunes was interesting for comparisons sake but one would argue that the room could've been better used to stick on some more classics like Somebody Get Me a Doctor or Summer Nights.

15/07/05: Dan MacDonald -
Rating: 0
Van Halen R.I.P. 1985.

05/06/05: Kenneth M. -
Rating: 88
Wow, I never thought I would see so many "pained" reviews of one of the greatest rock bands of all time. I mean sure this is not a perfect release (otherwise DOA, Feel Your Love Tonight, Little Guitars, Hear About It Later, Sinner's Swing, Mean Street, and Fools from the DLR era would have been included as well as Summer Nights, Judgement Day, Good Enough, Dream Is Over and Don't Tell Me What Love Can Do from the Van Hagar era would have been included as well. Sorry Gary Cherone I like you with Extreme and although it's not your fault, the songs on III suck badly. Therefore could not be included in this collection thankfully.)it sure is damn good... this band has soooooo... many great songs it's almost absurd (though they could have left off Dancing In The Street, Right Now and all of the live tracks) which makes it difficult to put together anything short of a complete career spanning box set to satisfy everyone. The new songs on offer here are all quite good (maybe not stellar when matched up with these other "greatest hits").
Additionally, it must be noted that VH is one of the few bands out there that can on occasion take a song that is not their own and yet make it their own such as "You Really Got Me", and especially (Oh) Pretty Woman which has received alot of backlash in these reviews, which I cannot fathom the reason why. Is it simply because it is a cover tune as opposed to an original or what? I mean that song ROCKS! (admittedly doing covers doesn't always work "Dancing In The Street" is a good example, but that is probably more to do with it being a BAD song regardless of who is doing it Bowie & Jagger's version sucks too!).
In the end there are 3 facts that cannot be denied when it comes to Van Halen: 1) Eddie Van Halen is one of the greatest ROCK guitarists to ever walk the earth (along with Joe Satriani, George Lynch, Jimi Hendrix, Rik Emmitt and Alex Lifeson). 2) No matter which version of this great band you prefer, you must admit they are some of the best songwriters ever. 3) Van Halen simply put is Rock n' Roll so sit back relax and enjoy it all!!

13/04/05: Eric -
Rating: 30
I Agree there should be a DLR disc and a Sammy disc but where would you put the live songs with Sammy singing DLR material. Maybe We could get a third disc with Sammy and Gary Cherone Singing DLR songs. It's long overdue that they put this band to rest....

28/02/05: Tim -
Rating: 75
I was very excited that VH had made a few new songs and couldn't wait to hear them, I wasn't diappointed. It's About Time is good, but could have been better.Up For Breakfast is very cool, classic Sammy and VH!

However,I'm extremely disappointed with some of the song selection. Pretty Woman should have not been included, replaced with Don't Tell Me (what love can do).I also don't agree with Not Enough being there. They should have stuck unreleased stuff on here too, instead of the live stuff. I still love these guys and am looking forward to a full cd of NEW stuff.

14/02/05: John Elway -
Rating: 84
I disagree with most here. I think this is a really solid release. The new songs are diverse and interesting; the rest of the release is quite enjoyable as it covers all eras quite well (I think they should have included one Cherone tune to make it complete, though.).

07/11/04: Mike -
Rating: 35
I too can't believe the songs on this cd.Way too many repeats,and the live Dave songs with Sammy singin?!!I think the whole thing is just a ripoff.The new stuff is ..ok..,but I don't think alot of thought was put into them.I went to see them in Indy,Ed has earned the number seventy spot. For him his performance was weak at best,he got lost more than twice for cryin out loud on his own stuff! The band has dug themselves a hole,now we have to wait and see if the next record can get them out. I doubt they will.

24/10/04: David Arnold -
Rating: 65
I own all of the Van Halen back catalogue yet, from OU812 back ,its on vinyl. So I purchased this compilation because its a cd to listen to in the car & more importantly for the three new songs.O.K, so I'm enjoying the convenience of the c.d format & I do enjoy the 3 new songs, but unfortunately not as much as Sammy's solo efforts.Hopefully, with Sammy back at the helm, the next studio album may be a classic once again.Other than that I think Andrew said it all with his reveiw.

09/10/04: PAUL - PAUL @AOL.COM
Rating: 60

08/10/04: Fredrik -
Rating: 90
I don't have much against this album, just that pretty woman is on, i guess.

What i really wanna ask is how people think when they say that Van Halen would be better with DLR. Sure, the old records are my favorites, but i totally don't like DLR. A reunion with him today would be a disaster, he totally sucks ass. And i can't say that i agree with the guy that thinks Right here, right now live is bad. I'd rather listen to it 24/7 then hearing DLR screaming that he forgot the lyrics...

Anyways, hope there's a new album coming out soon, and i really hope the band comes to europe before the vh story is over

22/09/04: Tom -
Rating: 45
There are some great tunes on here, but the release is just a scam. First of all, these guys (from the track list down to the discography inside) attempt to pretend that VH3 never happenned. It's just cheap and it's insulting to the one guy who was actually a decent guy in all of this soap opera.

But the worst part is the incredible rationalization of the track selection to somehow defend their current lineup. If this is supposed to be some kind of definitive collection, well, you don't put 4 songs off OU812 and only 1 off of Fair Warning (which even Eddie says is his favorite). The Sam and Dave alternating is silly. But the coup de grace is the three live Dave-era tunes, SUNG BY SAMMY. Those have no business on a compilation like this, especially when you consider that VH has officially released ZERO live Dave material.

The pettiness is capped off by the complete absence of any photos of Dave.

15/09/04: Alistair -
Rating: 70
I have to say that I really liked the new tracks and would be prepared to give them 100 out of a 100. Did I say I was into Hagar in '79? Well I am a big fan. This can be bought in tesco in blighty for 9.97. Meaning that loads of people who never listen to hard rock can buy it. So for that it gets a good rating. The songs are good but it just is not different enough from best of vol 1. Also why not remix the album to give it a 21st century feeling? 3 great new tracks!!

07/09/04: Andrew Davies -
Rating: 0
The whole concept is an absolute insult. From hearing VH1 and seeing the band as support act on the Black Sabbath tour in England I have bought the concert tickets, the music (regardless of line-up) and the merchandise. This is corporate bs at its most crass. Try to keep the name alive, make more dollars and make sure there is new material because the marketing guys know that the huge following will buy it for this reason alone. At least Kiss are honest enough to admit it's all about money. What about integrity and playing/performing because it is in the blood? 1979 really is a lifetime ago. I'm off to listen to 'Where Have All The Good Times Gone!'.

07/09/04: Pieter -
Rating: 60
I am a huge Van Halen Fan and I also really hate "best of" albums. And ofcourse of all possible bands it has to be Van Halen who seem to want to make a living nowadays of..Best of albums and oh yeah put 2 or 3 new songs on it as well so we can rip of the hard core fans along the way. I must confess I like all 3 new songs and they make it clear to me again that these guys can blow any modern band away....if they want to. I think it's just a shame that the respect the fans have for the band is being insulted in return by collecting their money in a very cheap way and on top of it insulting their intelligence by telling this is not intended to be some kind of quick sales manner. Stop the bullshit, get your ass in the studio and do what your so good at, make a brand new record, you might be surprised how good it will sell.

03/09/04: Johnny -
Rating: 75
I'll go with 85 on the new tunes; 65 on the others. I liked "Up for Breakfast" much better after hearing it live. I agree with those who say that after six years, Eddie must have better material out there -- but he is still the MAN, guitar wise. I too, wished for so much better on the live tracks -- all those great live concerts and tunes -- then we get this -- COME ON! Agree with the DLR disk and the Sammy disk idea; also, I love the music and lyrics of III -- it's just the delivery of the latter which is rough (although Gary could sure do justice to DLR material in concert -- and we owe him for getting Eddie to play the old songs!) My upbeat prediction is that VH will kick out a killer set next year -- and remind us why we all love the band so much!!!

02/09/04: Mark Kennedy -
Rating: 82
I have to agree with quite alot of the review in one way because it would have been much better to have put Sammy on one disc and DLR on the other.That aside there are a majority of their best tracks spread over the two cd's.I was however a little disappointed with the new tracks and the inclusion of 'Pretty Woman','Black n Blue' and 'Finish What Ya Started'(Is this so we can compare the rubbish tracks to the good ones cos even I skip these two when I play OU812 ?)!!! Why?? .Where is 'Mine All Mine' or 'Cabo Wabo' or 'Dream is Over' ?.
To summerise this is a good compilation to lend to somebody who is uneducated but if you already have their back catalogue then just buy it to put in the car like I did.

01/09/04: Jacob Barr -
Rating: 90
It is impossible to make everyone happy as can be seen by all the incredibly negative comments on this board. First of all, to all the people complaining that this 2 CD set was a rip-off and over priced then I have one thing to say "Don't Buy It!!" If you paid money for it then you certainly knew what you were buying. The idea of a Greatest Hits collection is not to have every single song represented. Record compainies do this on purpose so that older albums/CD's will continue to be purchased. Case in point "Humans Being"...if they put it on the new CD no one would buy Hits VOL 1 or the Twister's called MARKETING...all parties involved need to be happy. For another example of this, check out Sammy's new Essential Hits Collection.....they leave out "Three Lock Box". As far as the order of the tracks I personally like the idea of alternating from Dave to Sammy. It forces listeners to hear both lead vocalists and not just choose one favorite CD. The new songs are good...not great, but VH is trying to attract a new audience...again MARKETING at work. I'm sure somewhere down the line there will be a VH Box Set with previously unrelased tracks and every VH song represented...maybe then everyone will be satisfied....until then suck it up and appreciate that they at least did something and are out touring!!!!

31/08/04: scott -
Rating: 60
I feel somewhat insulted with this package, since there's already a Best of vol 1. I agree, the more logical thing would've been to put out Best of vol 2, along with the new tracks. Otherwise this new compilation should've been a Dave disc and Sammy disc. I hate the way they're mixed together.

30/08/04: ADAM -
Rating: 80
Huge rip off! Big price tag and lame packaging, and screwing around with tunes, come on! Should have been a greatest hits number 2 with 2 new SAMMY tracks and a bunch of the great songs that they left off of greatest hits number 1. I bet that release would have entered the charts at number1! Only good new tune is LEARNING TO SEE the other 2 are junk lyric wise. Music wise IT'S ABOUT TIME is really good, but those lyrics, come on SAMMY.

30/08/04: esynce -
Rating: 90
I agree with Andrews review to a point but up until about 2 weeks ago i wasnt a Van Halen fan. Bought Best of Volume 1 a few years back when i was getting back into rock, couldnt really get into the songs, ended up selling it. Then when the new 'best of' was released i started getting the VH itch again, so i bought VH and VH2 gave those a listen and i guess ive matured musically because i was really digging what i was listening to. BOBW was released so i bought that. I have to say im not that blown away by the new tracks but overall BOBW has definitly added a new fan. Ive since bought all the albums except Fair Warning (having a hard time finding it) VHIII and the old best of (again) and the Right Here Right Now DVD, and Best of Vol 1 DVD. I quite like the running order of BOBW i think its good to have Dave and Sammy alternating. I agree a few standout tracks have been left out and there are a few duds, and i also agree that a track or 2 at least should have been included from VHIII but i think this is still an excellent compilation. And as for price, $22 AUS (jb hifi) for a 36 track double cd is excellent value.

30/08/04: Abel -
Rating: 68
I agree with the setiments of the original reveiw.This cd package seems like an obvious attempt to make a fast buck by the band and their record lable.I too would have prefered a Best of
volume2 with maybe 15 tracks or so that were not on best of voulme 1.I also don't like the track
order as it seems like there is no flow in it.I just end up skipping track 10.Not Enough because of the annoying Strungout intro.Even though I am a diehard VH fan,I believe it was a huge mistake to put any track off of Live Right Here Right now which was one of the poorest live cds ever.Most live VH bootlegs are better than that album.What's up with the band and lable not including Humans Being(maybe the coolest non lovy dovy Van Hagar ever).It would hav been awesome if they found a way to incude the 2-3 new songs they did with David Lee Roth back around 2000/2001.Also; where the hell is the fabled Van Hagar track Between Us Two err Vh's Stairway to Heaven.The should have put that track on this set as well as the new tunes they did with Dave and fans would have been alot happier.One disk with the Dave era tunes including the ones Dave confirmed they dida few years ago and one disk with Van Hagar era tunes with the new 3 tracks and Humans Being.

29/08/04: Freddy De Keyzer -
Rating: 80
How can the ratings be so low for such a great act ! ? I know, most of the songs were on a previous compilation, and that costs them extra points !
But for the rest : there's nothing wrong at all with this package !
I'm dissappointed that third rate nu-breed or nu-metal, not capable an instrument are so popular, and that such a great act has not the respect they deserve.
But I agree : a completely new album should be released soon, very soon !

29/08/04: Tom -
Rating: 0


28/08/04: Glen Anderson -
Rating: 62
I was really looking forward to this, but in my heart, I knew it was going to be a bummer. I to think that was just "slapped" together to cash in on the reunion and the extra 2% was given for the cover art, I love the "Frankenstein" paint job! The 3 new tunes are good, but to me they sounded like I've heard them before. "It's About Time" is disappointing to say the least. "Up for Breakfast" seems like a hold over from Balance, and "Learning to See" is good, but it's lacking something. It just seems to me Eddie has lost a little bit of the fire and it shows on these songs. It's also too bad Michael didn't get any credit on the new songs, he always seems to get left out...LOL. All in all, I wished I would have held back and not spent the money and I've always got the Dave tunes from Vol. 1 to enjoy. Van Halen fans deserve better, guess we'll have to get used to waiting.

28/08/04: Ajay -
Rating: 0
Their new song It's about time is the absolute worst song that I have heard Van Halen do. I like Sammy Hagar, but this tune totally blows. What a joke, I'm sure the band will tell you that they did these tunes for the love of the music and that they like the song content and their fans. If That's the case then why did it take eight years for new Van Halen material? After eight years this is the best they have to offer. What a joke. Eddie was the sole inspiration for my involvement with the guitar. I have to say that the guitar work on "It's About Time" sucks for Eddies standards. I would have preferred a Dave reunion, even without new songs it would have been great. All of the musicians that I know feel the exact same way, Just listen to the musical content of the two eras. Any way that's my two cents, and I'm starting to ramble.

27/08/04: Jon -
Rating: 70
I have to agree with the sentiment of the original review. My thoughts:

The new songs are very good. It's About Time is a great rocker, with a steady mid/up-tempo and cool riffs. Up For Breakfast is a good mid-tempo rocker with a cool intro, but they should have left the keyboard for the intro because it practically drowns out the rest of the song. Without that constant pounding over the top of everything, this would have been a great song. I don't mind the lyrics like a lot of other people. They're dumb, but fun. Learning to See is the best of the lot, and although some would classify this as a ballad, it's a very heavy mid-tempo ballad. Only the chorus' are mellow. The intro is quite melodic and cool with the harmonics. One thing about all three, is that they contain very heavy guitar sounds. Eddie went a little muddy with the distortion-still retaining the brown, and it's quite killer,

The songs, GOOD. The fact that half of these songs are already on Best of Volume 1, and therefore a rip-off, BAD.

VH III, though their worst-selling and worst-received album, should not be ignored. It's a part of their history, and half of the songs on it are better than half the "hits" on here. Pretty Woman, Can't Stop Lovin' You, Finish What Ya Started, I'll Wait, When it's Love, and Dancin' in the Street all are below average, and at least one of them should have been replaced with a III tune.

The songs aren't representative of the best of VH. Although Van Halen is the greatest Hard Rock group of all time, their "hits" include alot of bland crap (see above songs). They should have left the bland crap to Best of Volume 1 where they belong since it's for the general public. This should have been Best of Volume 2, and contained the deep tracks and the minor hits that didn't make vol. 1. That would mean none of the "love" songs, hardly any keyboard stuff, and more up tempos. Yes, Hot For Teacher is one of their best, and if they didn't include it I would have flipped, but what about Ice Cream Man, Mean Street, 5151, Good Enough, I'm the One, Sucker in a 3 Piece, Get Up, In a Simple Rhyme, House of Pain.... I could go on, but there's not enough space. If these tracks were on here, this would be an absolutely killer release.

The liner, though cool, is incomplete and underwhelming. Nothing special.

The three live tracks are lame. Right Here, Right Now is a bland live album, and including three DLR songs sung by Sammy that are already on this album in studio form is lame. They should have included live versions of some deep tracks or something.

This gets a 70 for the great songs on here, but the lame songs included as well, plus the other complaints detailed above, bring the score way down.

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