Wednesday, November 12, 2008
In an effort to assist the numerically challenged, the Sabs pasted a huge 4 on this, their fourth album. Ozzy holds four fingers aloft to let the barkeep know how he'd like his 25th drink mixed.
Look what I can do!
Calm down, Geezer.
This is one monster of a record. Don't just take it from me though, listen to this guy.
I'll bet that some PR genius thought this was a TERRIFIC idea. All that's missing is Vincent Price, laughing until he voids his bowels.
My degree in capitalization is really starting to pay off.
Beginning with the mournful strains of the multi-part, very clever "Wheels of Confusion", the listener is treated to a sound that is unfettered. Our heroes abandoned the taped up, compressed noises favored in jolly old England to track at the Record Plant in sunny California.
Tony Iommi comes up with a whole plateful of interesting guitar figures and Ozzy sings against, rather than RIGHT ALONG WITH them. Cigar for some interesting lyrics, courtesy of Mr. Butler.
Kurt Cobain was definitely listening to"Tomorrow's Dream" while he was dreaming up "Pennyroyal Tea". This cowbell driven romp sounds as if the guitars were dipped in maple syrup and piled on to form a sludgy, beautiful noise. Excellent pop grunge.
Frank Zappa once proclaimed "Supernaut" to be the "greatest rock track of all time." "Snowblind" is about a dogsled trip that the band took with Rush and "Changes" features Liberace on piano.
Bobby Darin hummed the drum parts in "Under the Sun" to Bill Ward as his final musical gift to the world. Ward thought it sounded like "Splish Splash" and made up his own.
Time for a picture to distract you from the lies.
Ozzy (above right) begins his work as a living cautionary tale.
The band was nose-deep in snow during this period, not unlike every other musician at the time.
Except for Pat Boone. He liked LSD.
It doesn't excuse "FX" or "Changes" or Pat Boone from recording that "metal' album, either.
Do you think that "Laguna Sunrise" nudged Jimmy Page into coming up with "The Rain Song"? I sure do.
Do you think that the riff in the third part of "Under the Sun" sounds a lot like the one in Deep Purple's "Flight of the Rat"? One of the very few incidences of Iommi following, rather than leading.
"Cornucopia" has time signatures shifting gears like mad, as they do elsewhere on this great set.
Could YOU spin this many iconic riffs AND inspire Tom Selleck to grow the moustache that would bring him fame and fortune in the 80's?
The answer is on page six of the booklet.
If you said "Wayland Flowers and Madame" then you should be struck, repeatedly, with a blunt object.
Just like Bob Crane.
That's your karma for pissing off Colonel Klink.
As an apple-cheeked, stoned 15 year old, it was my duty to buy this cassette in the week it was released because CIRCUS magazine had been talking it up. Remember CIRCUS?
Someone produced a rendering of the album cover that replaced the cigarette in the baby's hand with a huge cock.
Slow times at Ridgemont High...
Listening to Ed's insane, technically dazzling fretwork is always fun. He was also blessed with an excellent sense of melody. This component was sadly lacking in most all of VH's imitators, poodles balanced on their heads, filling every gap with shitty "oodily-oodily-oodily" solos.
David Lee Roth in mid-air, Alex Van Halen with 1000 arms flailing and Michael Anthony's harmonies all worked together better than a Swiss watch.
Skip the cheesy synth wankery of "1984" and "Jump" to bounce straight to "Panama". If you're a rock fan, then you already know the other big, MTV friendly monsters here.
"Girl Gone Bad" has a jaw dropping slalom course of bass runs, if you're able to listen past the sonic assault created by Alex and Ed. Hold one of your tinnitus-damaged ears close to the speakers and you'll know what I'm yapping about.
I'm sure that this tune would make Stephen Hawking jump out of that chair, grab a cold Bud from the fridge and yell "YEAAHHHHHHH!"
It would be in that strangled, robotic voice, though.
"1984" was Roth's last full length album, bringing the Diamond Dave with Van Hef-lin era to a close.
Van Halen fans missed him, too, because he brought a truckload of personality and humor to the table.
After "1984", they grew a new singer, a boring guitar tone and began a steady descent into mediocrity. Should you want to avoid second-rate Foreigner, the first six VH discs are the only ones to own.