Fair Warning

Van Halen

Fair Warning

Arguably their finest album (some give the nod to the debut), Fair Warning, the band’s fourth, presents every lovable facet of Van Halen in one quick package. From the opening blitzkrieg riff of “Mean Street” to the manic panic rumble of “One Foot Out the Door,” it’s all here: David Lee Roth’s hilarious, incoherent ramblings and gratuitous screeches, Eddie Van Halen’s gold standard avant-garde-heavy metal fretwork, and the rhythm section’s loose and tight groove that meshes behind-the-beat funk with hard rock’s cataclysmic wallop. The songs are particularly strong. The arrogant swagger of ‘Sinner’s Swing!,” the heart-dropping melodicism of Eddie’s guitarwork throughout “Hear About it Later,” the tongue-in-cheek taunting at the heart of “Unchained,” and the simple, haunting synthesizer churn of “Sunday Afternoon in the Park,” this is rock n’ roll as one breathless rollercoaster ride. With the absence of a hit single, it is sometimes overlooked, but rest assured Fair Warning is one of the most original and exciting releases of the 1980s.

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