Balance (Van Halen album)

Balance
Studio album by Van Halen
Released January 24, 1995
Recorded May - September 1994 at 5150 Studios, Hollywood, CA and Little Mountain Sound Studios, Vancouver, BC
Genre Hard rock
Length 53:07
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Bruce Fairbairn
Van Halen chronology
Live: Right Here, Right Now
(1993)
Balance
(1995)
Van Halen Best of, Volume I
(1996)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[2]

Balance is the 10th studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen. It was released in 1995 and, to date, is the fourth and final Van Halen album of all-new material featuring lead singer Sammy Hagar. It was also a more complete divergence from their earlier, more heavy metal sound. It has the hard rock elements of For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, mixed with the dark and somber themes from OU812. Although the album was mostly made at 5150 Studios, Hagar and producer Fairbairn recorded vocals at Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver [Hagar claims in his autobiography that this was because Eddie Van Halen was overbearing with his criticism and attempted direction of his vocal takes]. Originally, the title of the album was to be named Seventh Seal and, at some other point, The Club (nickname of their former manager Ed Leffler, who died in October 1993).

Behind the scenes, Van Halen was falling apart. Eddie Van Halen was in need of a hip replacement, and Alex Van Halen was suffering from neck pain. Van Halen's new manager was Ray Danniels, who happened to be Alex Van Halen's brother in-law.

Contents

Song details

The Seventh Seal

"The Seventh Seal" kicks off the album. Complete with chanting monks and dangling metal bells, the song unveiled a vast, open, U2-like guitar wall that propelled through the darkest terrain the band ever tackled.[citation needed]

Can't Stop Lovin' You

"Can't Stop Lovin' You" pays homage to Ray Charles[citation needed], who had his own hit song entitled "I Can't Stop Loving You". The Van Halen song references this with the lyric: "Hey, Ray, what you said is true, I can't stop lovin' you".

The song was Sammy Hagar's attempt to assume his ex-wife's point of view that she was still madly in love with him.[citation needed]

Don't Tell Me (What Love Can Do)

"Don't Tell Me (What Love Can Do)" was originally, "What Love Can Do"[citation needed]. The song was written about the power of universal love, with references to the suicide of Kurt Cobain.[citation needed]

Amsterdam

"Amsterdam" was written about Eddie and Alex's place of birth[citation needed], before they moved out to Nijmegen. The lyrics, however, represented Sammy's tourist impression of the freedom the city has[citation needed].

Big Fat Money

"Big Fat Money" was a honky tonk rocker complete with a click track in the beginning.

Strung Out

"Strung Out" was actually recorded in 1983[citation needed], prior to the recording of 1984. The actual recording is Eddie "playing" the strings of a Grand Piano with various objects including ping pong balls, D-cell batteries, knives and forks.[citation needed]

It was this 1983 session that Eddie had rented a house that belonged to Marvin Hamlisch. There was a piano in the house that Eddie destroyed while recording himself using the aforementioned objects on the piano's strings. The piece actually comes from 6 hours of recorded noise. Eddie was forced to pay around $15,000 for the damage and Balance producer, Bruce Fairbairn said that a recording that expensive shouldn't go to waste.[citation needed]

Not Enough

"Not Enough" reflected a lot of sorrow[citation needed] with strings and Michael Anthony playing a fretless bass[citation needed]. The song was questioning if love is enough or not[citation needed].

Aftershock

"Aftershock" is an emotionally straining fist-shaker[citation needed], complete with a borrowed lick from Metallica[citation needed].

Doin' Time

"Doin' Time" is an instrumental, showcasing Alex Van Halen on the drums and percussion.

Baluchitherium

"Baluchitherium" was named after a large extinct land mammal by Eddie's wife[citation needed], Valerie Bertinelli. The song originally had lyrics; the vocal melody which Sammy later developed for guitar.[3]

The track also features Eddie Van Halen's dog howling[citation needed].

Take Me Back (Déjà Vu)

During the Balance tour show in Pensacola, Florida, Sammy stated that "Take Me Back (Déjà Vu)" was "a true story". The song itself features a then almost 20 year old riff Eddie had previously used on a song entitled "No More Waiting" which the band played on occasion in the pre-Van Halen I era.[4]

Feelin'

"Feelin'" finishes the album. It was a minor-key rock epic with a string section and a heartrending vocal performance, unlike anything Sammy had previously brought to the band.

Crossing Over

The Japanese pressing includes a bonus track "Crossing Over", which was the B-side to "Can't Stop Lovin' You".

The song was originally written and recorded by Eddie in 1983, shortly after one of his friends had committed suicide. The song was given a chance at rebirth after the untimely death of their manager, Ed Leffler, ten years after the track was originally recorded. On the left channel, played Eddie's music from 1983 on electronic drums; on the right channel, played the reworked song with guitar, bass, drums, and vocals.

Album artwork

The album's cover art was provided by Glen Wexler, which was based on a concept that Alex Van Halen described to him. It was censored in Japan.[5]

Track listing

All songs by Eddie Van Halen, Michael Anthony, Sammy Hagar and Alex Van Halen.

  1. "The Seventh Seal" – 5:18
  2. "Can't Stop Lovin' You" – 4:08
  3. "Don't Tell Me (What Love Can Do)" – 5:56
  4. "Amsterdam" – 4:45
  5. "Big Fat Money" – 3:57
  6. "Strung Out" (Instrumental) – 1:29
  7. "Not Enough" – 5:13
  8. "Aftershock" – 5:29
  9. "Doin' Time" (Instrumental) – 1:41
  10. "Baluchitherium" (Instrumental) – 4:05
  11. "Take Me Back (Déjà Vu)" – 4:43
  12. "Feelin'" – 6:36
  13. "Crossing Over" (Japanese bonus track) – 4:49

The album was also released on vinyl with "Baluchitherium" omitted due to time constraints and a slightly altered track order.

The Japanese bonus track "Crossing Over" was also the B-Side to the US CD Single for "Can't Stop Lovin' You".

Personnel

Band

Additional personnel

  • The Monks of Gyuto Tantric University – chants on "The Seventh Seal"

Production

  • Bruce Fairbairn – production
  • Erwin Musper, Mike Plotnikoff – engineering
  • Mike Fraser – mixing
  • George Marino – mastering
  • Jeri Heiden – art direction
  • Randee Saint Nicholas, Glen Wexler (front cover) – photography

Certifications

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Brazil (ABPD)[6] Gold 100,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[7] 3× Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[8] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Charts

Album

Year Chart Position
1995 The Billboard 200 1

Singles

Year Single Chart Position
1995 "Amsterdam" Mainstream Rock Tracks 9
1995 "Can't Stop Lovin' You" Mainstream Rock Tracks 2
1995 "Can't Stop Lovin' You" The Billboard Hot 100 30
1995 "Can't Stop Lovin' You" Top 40 Mainstream 11
1995 "Don't Tell Me (What Love Can Do)" Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
1995 "Not Enough" Mainstream Rock Tracks 27
1995 "Not Enough" The Billboard Hot 100 97
1995 "Not Enough" Top 40 Mainstream 39
1995 "The Seventh Seal" Mainstream Rock Tracks 36

Notes

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Rolling Stone review
  3. ^ Whether realized or not, Baluchitherium's main riff is identical to the intro riff from Trevor Rabin's Eye's of Love (from the Can't Look Away album) - check for yourself; Can't Look Away - Trevor Rabin 1989 http://www.we7.com/#/song/Trevor-Rabin/Etoile-Noir-Eyes-Of-Love Baluchitherium - Van Halen 1995 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XfFtKGECjI Van Halen Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ's Page
  4. ^ Unreleased Music
  5. ^ Nikolas Krofta: Bon Jovi. Ein langer, feuchter Traum, Interview in Break Out, issue 8/2000, p. 4f.
  6. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – Van Halen – Balance" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. http://abpd.org.br/certificados_interna.asp?sArtista=Van+Halen&tmidia=1. 
  7. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Van Halen – Balance". Music Canada. http://www.musiccanada.com/GPSearchResult.aspx?st=Balance&sa=Van+Halen&smt=0. 
  8. ^ "American album certifications – Van Halen – Balance". Recording Industry Association of America. http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?artist=%22Balance%22.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
Preceded by
The Hits by Garth Brooks
Billboard 200 number-one album
February 11–17, 1995
Succeeded by
The Hits by Garth Brooks

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