Well, my view of this album has changed.
I think this was the last China Crisis release I ever got around to listening to, and it was the first that I was disappointed with initially. It was hard to put my finger on why that was, as it was pretty much in the similar laidback style of pop at which the band had become naturals. I suppose it all seemed quite bland to me, without much in the way of inspirational material.
But just having sat down and given it another shot, I have to say What Price Paradise
is quite decent really, if still not up to their best. It's hard to pick out a special song, as they all have something going for them, and maybe that's the issue with the album - none are classics, but nearly all have little bits here and there to offer appeal, whether it be the quirky keyboards in "The Understudy", or the generous servings of brass here and there, although that aspect goes a bit over the top on "Worlds Apart".
If I had to pick a favourite song, it would probably be the utterly charming "Arizona Sky", which comes close to being one of the band's best songs, while "We Do the Same" is quite catchy. On the other hand, the concluding "A Day's Work for the Dayo's Done" really does sit on the bland side. It's also a shame that Gary Daly handles all the lead vocals, as Eddie Lundon has shown in the past that he has the more appealing voice.
Overall, What Price Paradise
is certainly not China Crisis' best release, but it has more to offer than might first be apparent, and should be given at least a few listens.Rated:
by Reviewer: The Doctor
Posted: Friday 16th Nov 2018 11:48 PM
As is the way of things, Nirvana came along right after Unlawful
and killed off the whole Hair Metal thing. Which was unfortunate for Van Halen - they were a dumb Hard Rock party band sure, but Hair Metal? - aside from Sammy's perm and Eddie's mid-80's mullet, I don't think the term really applies to them.
Of course, it could be argued that the whole grunge thing passed Van Halen by. After all, Hagar's replacement was in his very own 80's butt-rock band, Extreme. And when they finally released this album in 1995, Nirvana were dead (well, partially dead anyway), Pearl Jam was already releasing crappy albums, and Radiohead was still two years from their piece de resistance, OK Computer
None of that really matters, it's the music that matters ... Balance
features two really horrid songs - the dumbass fratboy pot anthem "Amsterdam", and the dumbass rock star money anthem "Big Fat Money". There's also a couple of pointless bits of percussion, entitled "Strung Out" and "Doin' Time".
The rest ain't too bad at all. "Can't Stop Loving You" is the requisite Hagar the Horrible ballad, and whilst it's incredibly generic it's still fun; the opener "The Seventh Seal" is quite nifty (featuring some monks chanting - so the true path to religious enlightenment is to sing backup on a late-period Van Halen album eh?); and "Don't Tell Me What Love Can Do" pounds even harder than usual, and features those ahhh
backing vocals that half of Van Halen's songs have (making it good, or something).
Hmm, what else is there? Oh yeah, "Baluchitherium" - my favorite of Eddie's instrumental circle jerks, mostly because he took 10 minutes to think up a melody instead of going doodly-doodly-doodly for a minute or so. "Aftershock" has some nice riffing, and there's some more ballads, and that's about it.
You know, it really helps if you think of Van Halen as two different bands, one being Roth's happy-go-lucky crazy funtime party rock band, the other Hagar's cock-rockin' stadium-poundin' macho-swaggerin' Hard Rock band. Oh, and Gary Cherone's lame-ass Van Halen tribute band.Rated:
by Reviewer: Cole Reviews
Posted: Saturday 17th Nov 2018 9:32 AM