Van Halen Songs Ranked From Worst to Best
September 5, 2018 7:11 AM Subscribe
All 131 Van Halen Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best
The pop landscape had changed so radically that appreciating the musical style pioneered by Van Halen has become akin to appreciating recent breakthroughs in blacksmithing. To many people born post-grunge, the difference between David Lee Roth and Glenn Miller is negligible. It’s easy to imagine an engaged teenage music fan unfamiliar with 130 of Van Halen’s 131 songs. Which, both predictably and paradoxically, is part of the reason I wanted to compile the following list. This material deserves deeper, detailed contemplation.
Pretty much anyone who’s seen the video for “Panama” views the band as idealized avatars for a euphoric, consequence-free, hyper-intoxicated lifestyle that (a) could only exist in Southern California, (b) could never exist today, and (c) probably never existed at all, unless you were a member of this specific band. The abstract idea of Van Halen remains iconic. The individual musical compositions, however, tend to be lumped into two categories that resist close reading. Songs from the Roth era are marginalized as party anthems designed for strippers, subscribers to Guitar World magazine, and guys with unusually strong opinions about how many cylinders a car engine should have. Songs from the Sammy Hagar era are marginalized as well-crafted, non-bombastic radio hits that you can like but never love, unless you’re Sammy or whoever concocted the marketing strategy for Crystal Pepsi.
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