The last classic VH and the best Hagar has ever sounded anywhere! Good album that has aged well. Al smartly went back to playing real drums.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
With OU812 (a smudge at former frontman David Lee Roth’s debut solo album “Eat ‘em and Smile”) Van Halen embarked on their 8th studio release and their 2nd album with Sammy Hagar at the helm.
This album takes most of the synthesizer out that we were basking in from the past 2 albums (1984, 5150) and got back to some of their roots with some darker sounding songs that are extremely strong in guitar technics (from yours truly, Eddie Van Halen!) “Mine all Mine”, “A.F.U. Naturally Wired” (all fired up), “Source of Infection”, and “Sucker in a three piece” are hard rock tunes with lightning speed guitar, these hook laden gems should not go unnoticed.
On the flipside, Van Halen was again able to produce “pop” gems that’s musical direction started becoming evident with thier 1984 release. These are somewhat slower, catchy, tap-your-foot tunes that are commercial hits like “Cabo Wabo”, “Feels so Good”, “When it’s love”, “Finish what ya started”, and “Black and Blue”.
So far I’ve had to give all of thier albums up to this point 5 stars. You’ll see there are albums I will rate and rank in the future that will not be slated as high. Overall one of my favorite albums from them in terms of diverse song writing and superb guitar tracks. A must for any Van Halen or Hagar Fan.
1. Mine All Mine
2. When It’s Love
3. A.F.U. (Naturally 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. Apolitical Blues
“OU812″ is in need of a serious makeover. It could have been a great rock album, but instead, it’s a poorly produced, really good rock album.Let’s just call this what it is – “The Ed, Al and Sammy Show”. Did Michael Anthony play bass on this album? We’ll never know, because Anthony’s steady bass lines are virtually not existent. It’s a shame too, because with a little more “meat”, I think this album would get the credit that it deserves.So rather than beat a dead horse, just realize that all the songs I talk about, would have been even better had this album been produced the way it was supposed to be.”Mine All Mine” is technically a keyboard song, but don’t let that scare you away – there is nothing “pop” about this song. “Mine All Mine” is a straightforward rocker that contains my favorite Eddie Van Halen guitar solo from ANY Van Halen album.”When It’s Love” is the cheesiest thing you’ll hear from the band, but those “na-na-na’s” at the end are just so darn fun. “Black & Blue” reminds me of “Best of Both Worlds”, but that’s not such a bad thing.And then there’s “Cabo Wabo” – the song that created the monster that is Sammy Hagar. Who would have thought, that almost 15 years after this album’s release, Hagar would STILL be riding on the coattails of this song? First came the Cabo Wabo Cantina, and then came his successful line of Cabo Wabo Tequila. If you’ve never heard of Sammy’s tequila, he’ll be more than happy to tell you all about it. Just ask.”Finish What Ya Started” is a song that Sammy will always take personal credit for. This song is the epitome of Hagar’s often-stupid lyrics. “Source of Infection” is basically one of Eddie’s blazing guitar solos, with lyrics. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad thing.The highlight of “OU812″ for me, has to be “A.F.U. (Naturally Wired)” – the one song I wished the band would have kept in their live set for longer than they did.Valiant effort, boys… but I would love to see this remastered, or even re-recorded. But this time, don’t forget to invite Mikey.
Once again, the electronic drums mar some of Van Halen’s most loose, fun songs. However, I can’t let this minor criticism get in the way of the songs themselves. This album contained another huge power ballad, “When It’s Love”, and the bluesy romper “Finish What Ya Started”, along with the vaguely spiritual lyrics of the opener “Mine All Mine” and the raunchy 7-minute rocker “Cabo Wabo”. A particular favorite of mine is the [physical]-fueled “Black and Blue”: love that riff! Although over-looked these days in favor of other Van Halen album, this is a must-have for all Van Halen and especially Sammy Hagar-era fans.
1988 saw the release of Van Halen’s eighth studio album “OU812.” It was the band’s second release with lead singer Sammy Hagar. Pronounced “oh you ate one too,” the title was a response to David Lee Roth’s first post-Van Halen album, “Eat `Em and Smile” (1986).
Compared to the classic first six Van Halen albums (with lead singer David Lee Roth), the early Van Halen albums with singer Sammy Hagar are far more commercial. While Van Halen had been becoming steadily more commercial since “Diver Down,” (1982) the early Van Hagar albums are the bands most radio-friendly work. Therefore, while albums like “Van Halen” (1978) and “Woman and Children First” (1980) can be labeled “metal,” or “hard-rock,” “5150″ and “OU812″ can best be labeled “adult-contemporary” rock.
Depending on whom you ask, “OU812″ is either one of Van Halen’s best, or worst albums. To fans that accepted Sammy Hagar, “OU812″ is a tight, pop-savvy, stellar collection of songs. To those that remained loyal to Roth and classic Van Halen, however, “OU812″ represents Van Halen’s full dissent into commercialism.
While I favor classic Van Halen and am a big Dave fan, I am quite fond of this album.
Although many fans would disagree, I feel “OU812″ is an improvement over “5150″ (1986). When Sammy Hagar first joined Van Halen most of “5150″ had already been written. “OU812″ is the first album Sammy Hagar wrote and recorded with Van Halen from scratch. Also, by the time the band recorded their second collaboration, they had been playing together for a few years. Therefore, compared to “5150,” “OU812″ seems to have more of an organic feel. Also, the production and the band, overall, sound better. On “OU812″ drummer Alex Van Halen went back to playing on a real kit, as opposed to an electric one, as he had on “5150.”
While Sammy Hagar is a great singer, on “5150″ he sounds as if he were singing into soup cans. His vocal talents are more apparent on the follow-up, as he belts out the songs and his full capability is realized.
Lastly, while “5150″ is a good album, its production was off-center and the CD was bogged down with synthesizers. “OU812″ is more of a bare bones recording. While many of the songs do have synthesizers, they aren’t overbearing, but rather just touch up the songs like a garnish.
Pop, commercial, radio-friendly, whatever you want to call it, it still goes without saying, of course, that Eddie’s playing is phenomenal.
“OU812″ opens up strong with the anthem rocker “Mine All Mine.” The light underlining synthesizers add a nice touch. This song which concerns drug/alcohol addiction demonstrates Sammy Hagar’s knack for writing meaningful lyrics that aren’t pretentious.
“When it’s Love” is a good, straight-forward love song. While some old-school Van Halen fans may cringe and dismiss it as “corporate,” the song works because it is well written and sincere.
“A.F.U. (All Fired Up) (Naturally Wired)” is an infectious, fast paced rocker that keeps up the momentum. While not really an album highlight, it works well.
The mid-tempo, pop-savvy “Cabo Wabo,” is one of Van Hagar’s finest moments. Its melodic verse and sing-along chorus make for a concert staple and fan favorite.
“Source of Infection”, with its rapid drumming and guitar intro, sounds like a return to classic Roth-era Van Halen. While the lyrics are sparse and don’t make a lot of sense, this makes for a good semi-instrumental jam.
“Feels So Good,” much like “When it’s Love” will probably be off-putting to those that prefer a harder-rocking Halen. Still, this synth-led, mid-tempo number is undeniably catchy.
The acoustic “Finish What Ya Started” is another one of the album’s highlights and remains one of Halen/Hagar’s best collaborations.
The mid-tempo “Black and Blue” is a little sophomoric and shows how Hagar lacks the wit of Roth. Still, the song is effective and it keeps up the album’s momentum.
The hard-rocking “Sucker in a 3 piece” is probably the album’s most underrated song. It has an absolutely killer solo.
The album closes with a cover of “A Apolitical Blues” (written by Lowell George). Although it may seem odd to end the album with a straight-blues rocker, which is far different stylistically than the rest of the album, it works and doesn’t seem to out-of-place. It actually makes for an interesting left turn.
“OU812′ is not without its flaws. It’s hard to hear Michael Anthony’s bass. Also, the album sounds a bit thin at times. The album could do with a remastering and even a remixing.
Almost twenty years old, “OU812″ has stood up pretty well against the test-of-time. The album works as well as it does because, despite its flaws, it’s a tight, strong collection of songs. There isn’t really any filler, everything works. Although Van Hagar would eventually tune out the synthesizers and rock-harder with subsequent releases, “OU812″ is probably Van Hagar’s best written album.