Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Which album is better: Women and Children First or Fair Warning by Van Halen?

I have always been a big fan of the David Lee Roth years of Van Halen and rather than involve their first album which may be their best (or maybe it isn’t), I thought it would be more fun to compare two of the middle albums. So here goes my take on these awesome albums (the links within the text go to a site to show the lyrics).

Women and Children First:
This has always been my favorite VH album when played as a whole. The album starts with ...And the Cradle Will Rock,  a typical in-your-face Eddie guitar riff with the rest of the band joining in like they were shot out of a cannon. The song talks about teen angst and has some poignant lyrics that I am sure many of us could relate to at some point in our lives. The next track is Everybody Wants Some!! A feel good romp about what else… sex. “I love the way the line run up the back of your stockings” That should tell you all you need to know. I always found it curious that they left Roth’s timing mistake in the song. Usually that sort of thing is edited out or rerecorded. Maybe they thought it would add some character. This song IMHO is probably the weakest song on the album. I love the song Fools. It’s just a down and dirty riff that grabs you and takes you a fun ride. It’s a bluesy tune about how everyone else is wrong and to hell with them all, they are all fools. Great song. Next is Romeo Delight. Possibly one of the most underrated songs on the album (or by the band for that matter). This song just kicks some serious butt. Tora Tora/Loss of Control. This is a departure for the band in terms of its heaviness. One of the only songs that has straight double bass in it. This song is a blast to try and play. Take Your Whiskey Home is another bluesy tune with a great middle break section. My old band used to play this and we did it very well. Could This Be Magic? reminds me of summer. I love the harmonies and playful guitar riffs. One of favorites from this album. In a Simple Rhyme: yet another underrated song by VH that has (what else) a great guitar riff, harmonies and drums. This song is mostly forgotten by a lot of people I think. Too bad.

Fair Warning:
Mean Street. This is my favorite VH song. The beginning riff alone is legendary. The song just rocks. There is nothing bad about this song to say, so onward. Dirty Movies: A song about the prom queen falling from grace and turning to porn. It has a nice funky vibe to it but not one of their best. Sinner's Swing: being a drummer I can't help but love this song. Another song about sex sure, but rhythmically it more than makes up for the innuendo. Hear About It Later is a bit of a disappointment. This song just does not go anywhere. Weakest on the album by far. Unchained, back to classic VH. Awesome song. Push Comes to Shove has a great funky bass line that finally shoes off Michael Anthony a bit, but again the song does not go anywhere. So-so at best. So This Love? Another “simple” song by VH with a nice Eddie lead in it. It is a fun song that gets your toe tapping. Sunday Afternoon In the Park is a keyboard (I think) instrumental that is a bit if foreshadowing I think to the next albums with more keys in them. Nothing special. One Foot out the Door has the keys as the main riff continuing from the previous song. Alex does a great little roll in there and then Eddie does what Eddie does. Its a short but I think pretty decent tune to end the album.

Other than Mean Street, Unchained and Sinner's Swing, I have a tendency to gravitate toward Woman and Children First and think it is overall a better album from beginning to end. They are both must haves if you like VH. These are my opinions. What do you think?


  1. I could either way which each album. I like both of them for being straight forward rockers, yet I tend to lean towards Fair Warning just by the strength of "Mean Street" alone. Honestly I prefer these over their Diver Down album.

  2. This turned out to be a hard comparison. Like you said both albums rock. I did not include Diver Down since half that album are cover songs. Not their best (but still good). Mean Street is so good its hard not to pop in Fair Warning just for that song, but I have to give the edge to WaCF overall.