VAN HALEN: Balance CD PROMO 1994. Check videos. Can’t Stop Lovin’ You
Released January 24, 1995
Recorded May – September 1994 at 5150 Studios, Hollywood, CA and Little Mountain Sound Studios, Vancouver, BC
Genre Hard rock, heavy metal
Label Warner Bros.
Balance is the tenth studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen, released in 1995. To date, it 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 sombre themes from OU812. Although the album was mostly made at 5150 Studios, Hagar and producer Bruce 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 was in need of a hip replacement, and Alex Van Halen was suffering from neck pain. The bands new manager was Ray Danniels, who happened to be Alexs brother in-law.
The Seventh Seal
“The Seventh Seal” kicks off the album. Complete with chanting monks and dangling metal bells, the song unveiled a vast, open, guitar-like wall that propelled through the darkest terrain the band ever tackled.
Can’t Stop Lovin’ You
“Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” pays homage to Ray Charles, 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 Hagars attempt to assume his ex-wifes point of view that she was still madly in love with him.
Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)
“Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)” was originally, “What Love Can Do” . The song was written about the power of universal love, with references to the suicide of Kurt Cobain.
“Amsterdam” was written about Eddie and Alexs place of birth, before they moved out to Nijmegen. The lyrics, however, represented Hagars tourist impression of the freedom the city has. Eddie is on record in Guitar World Magazine as saying the lyrics were “just stupid”.
Big Fat Money
“Big Fat Money” is a honky tonk rocker.
“Strung Out” was actually recorded in 1983, 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.
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 pianos strings. The piece actually comes from six 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.
“Not Enough” reflected a lot of sorrow with strings and Michael Anthony playing a fretless bass. The song was questioning if love is enough or not. Eddie stated he heard the ballad as a “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” type of song, and played like his guitar hero, Eric Clapton, evin using a Leslie rotating speaker like Clapton did on the tune by The Beatles.
“Aftershock” is an emotionally straining fist-shaker, complete with a borrowed lick from Metallica.
“Doin’ Time” is an instrumental, showcasing Alex on drums and percussion.
“Baluchitherium” was named after a large extinct land mammal by Eddies wife, Valerie Bertinelli. The song originally had lyrics; the vocal melody which Hagar later developed for guitar.
The track also features Eddies dog howling.
Take Me Back (Déjà Vu)
During the Balance tour show in Pensacola, Florida, Hagar 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.
“Feelin'” finishes the album. It is a minor-key rock epic with a string section and a heartrending vocal performance, unlike anything Hagar had previously brought to the band.
The albums cover art was provided by Glen Wexler, based on a concept Alex described to him. It was censored in Japan.
All songs by Eddie Van Halen, Michael Anthony, Sammy Hagar and Alex Van Halen.
“The Seventh Seal” – 5:18
“Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” – 4:08
“Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)” – 5:56
“Amsterdam” – 4:45
“Big Fat Money” – 3:57
“Strung Out” (Instrumental) – 1:29
“Not Enough” – 5:13
“Aftershock” – 5:29
“Doin’ Time” (Instrumental) – 1:41
“Baluchitherium” (Instrumental) – 4:05
“Take Me Back (Déjà Vu)” – 4:43
“Feelin'” – 6:36
Sammy Hagar – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Eddie Van Halen – lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Michael Anthony – bass guitar, backing vocals
Alex Van Halen – drums, percussion
Steve Lukather – backing vocals on “Not Enough”
The Monks of Gyuto Tantric University – chants on “The Seventh Seal”
Region Certification Sales/shipments
Brazil (ABPD) Gold 100,000*
Canada (Music Canada) 3× Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA) 3× Platinum 3,000,000^
*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
Year Chart Position
1995 The Billboard 200 1
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
The best Sammy Hagar era VH album
Its hard to believe that a full decade has passed since the release of Van Halens “Balance,” one of the more underrated albums’ in VHs catalogue. Although there were a lot of great bands popular in 1995–Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine–it was still refreshing to have a kick-ass new Van Halen album out. Although “Balance” was released in the days of grunge and alternative rock, it still managed to sell over two million copies.
“Balance” takes up where “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” left off, but the music is overall heavier, and has more of an edge. Gone were the synthesizers and more pop oriented songs that that were prevalent in the first two Van Hagar albums. “Balance” rocks hard like its predecessor, but it is also somewhat darker. I take the general theme of the album to be the loss of a relationship, or going through a major life-change, and then getting back in “Balance.”
The band sounds very focused and tight. Bruce Fairbain did a great job of getting the best out of the band and gave the CD a tight, crisp production. It goes without saying that Eddies playing is terrific and each song has one or two killer solos. Mike and Al provide a killer rhythm section as usual.
The album begins with the hard hitting “The Seventh Seal.” It starts with an atmospheric Buddhist chant leading into the song. This is a really cool, heavy dark song with an almost hypnotic riff. “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” is a balled in the vein of “Why Can’t this be Love,” but doesn’t have the dated, cheesy keyboards. “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” is about the breakup of a relationship, not the hope of one as it is in “Why Can’t this be Love.” I take the mid-tempo “Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)” to basically mean that love is not enough to stop a suicide. The album lightens up a bit with the fast-paced “Amsterdam” and “Big Fat Money,” two good, hard rockers. “Strung Out” is a sound-byte of Ed apparently ripping a piano apart, which leads into the majestic balled “Not Enough.” “Aftershock” is an excellent rocker and has one of EVHs best solos on the disc. “Doin’ Time” is a very cool drum solo that leads into the instrumental “Baluchitherium.” Its catchy, infectious groove and killer solos make it a favorite of mine. “Take Me Back (Déjà vu)” remains my personal all-time favorite Van Halen song from the Sammy Hagar era. Its a beautiful, bittersweet, semi-acoustic song with the theme of wanting to return back to an earlier time in your life. The album ends with the depressing “Feelin'” a song that deals with getting though life alive, without getting burned. Its by far the most morose song VH ever wrote.
“Balance” was Van Hagar at its best. It was also their last album. About a year and a half after its release, Sammy Hagar and Van Halen parted ways. In hindsight, by listening to this dark CD, you can almost get the sense that although the band still sounds cohesive, this was destined to be the last Van Hagar CD.
Despite what people will say about Sammy Hagar in Van Halen the truth of the matter is that they put out great albums. I’m not going to say that I’m a bigger Dave fan or a bigger Sammy fan, the truth of the matter is that I’m a Van Halen fan, meaning Eddie, Alex, Mike, Dave, Sammy, or Gary. I honestly love all Van Halen there isn’t one song I can say I don’t like. But out of the Sammy Hagar era of the band next to 5150 Balance is the best album. First off the production on this album is a lot better than the two previous albums (For Unlwaful Carnal Knowledge and OU812). The band also sounds tighter on this album, Eddies guitar sound is a lot better than its been in years, Alexs drums are more solid, Mike sounds great, bass playing and his signature background vocals, and Sammy Hagars voice is still excellent. Its just a shame that this was their last album together. For the most part the songs on Balance are straight forward hard rock. The album kicks off with The Seventh Seal, this is a great rockin track with excellent lyrics. The sugar coated semi ballad first single, Can’t Stop Lovin You is next, don’t let my description throw you off, its a great song. Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do) is next, again don’t let the title throw you off, this is one of Van Halens heaviest song to date. The party rock song Amsterdam is next, once again this is another great song, the band sounds awesome. Big Fat Money is another joke song, but its awesome, great guitar parts. Of course what would a Van Halen album be without instrumentals, there are three on Balance, Strung Out, Doin’ Time, and Baluchitherium. They are all pretty good, Strung Out features Eddie playing with the strings on a piano, Strung Out is a great song with an awesome drum solo, and Baluchitherium has more of a song structure than the other ones, the band sounds great. They also have a really great ballad on this album, Not Enough is one of their best ballads ever, this ranks up there with When Its Love and Love Walks In. This song is followed by a great rocker called Aftershock, Eddies guitar is amazing and the power in Alexs drums can’t be matched by anyone. Take Me Back (deja vu) is another ballad, while Not Enough was piano based this track is based on acoustic guitar. The album ends with Feelin’ this song can’t really be considered a ballad but it isn’t a rocker either. I can’t say enough about this track, the lyrics are great, very meaningful, Sammys voice is great, and Eddies best solo on the album is on this song. Balance is an essential album for a Van Halen fan, its just a shame that we never got to hear a followup to it, but either way I’m excited to hear their next album.
Well, I don’t know. Its a tough call. But since I’m listening to this CD right now (and loving it!), I’ll be generous and give a 5. Every song on here is strong, even the supposed “filler” instrumentals like “Doin’ Time” and “Baluchitherium”, which REALLY rocks with Eddies smooth-as-silk guitar gliding over the crunchy riffs in the background. There are the typical great VH singalong tunes like “Can’t Stop loving You” and “Amsterdam”, a cheesy (but still good) ballad in “Not Enough”, but also some real thoughful, darker songs like “Don’t Tell Me” and “Feelin'”. And the ‘epic’ song “The Seventh Seal” recalls the “Poundcake” riff, but by no means rips it off in any way. Its an original, and great, tune! If Van Halen 3 is really THAT bad (I haven’t heard it yet), I don’t see why they slipped so much. After all, Sammy sucks (according to the DLR fans), so him leaving wouldn’t have made a difference. 😉 (yeah, RIGHT.)