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VAN HALEN ‘The Best Of Both Worlds’
Warner (2004)

Well I suppose as the band was touring and they had no new album to promote the next best thing was to rehash the previous ‘Best Of’ and add three newly recorded tracks. You get many of the classic from the previous ‘Best Of’ including ‘Eruption’, ‘Jump’, ‘Love Walks In’ and ‘Why Can’t This Be Love’, plus this time around many of the covers the band were so famous for in the Roth fronted years like ‘Dancing In The Street’ and ‘You Really Got Me’. There are three live tracks as well showing how Sammy Hagar tackles the Roth era tunes like ‘Panama’ and ‘Jump’.

As for the three new songs well they have the Van Halen guitar sound sure but to be honest they are mediocre at best. ‘It’s About Time’ is the pick of the bunch as it couples a neat riff with Sammy Hagar’s voice in fine form but ‘Learning To See’ and ‘Up For Breakfast’ (with it’s very puerile lyrics!) are amongst the worst tracks Van Halen have recorded. It could be that these were possibly rushed to get them out as quickly as possible?

Bizarre track listing as well as it mixes Roth and Hagar eras up (and no Gary Cherone tracks as was once rumoured) and you get nothing existing fans wouldn’t have bar the three new tracks. Van Halen fans: don’t buy the album for the new songs as they are not worth it, but it is worth having if you want to give your old vinyl a rest! Note to Warners - next time you do a Van Halen compilation can we have some unreleased/live tracks?

****(overall) ** (For the three new songs)

Review by Jason Ritchie

Artist website

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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