Album Review: “‘Women and Children First'” By Van Halen
Album cover for Women and Children First - Van Halen - Topic / Youtube
Van Halen was just capitalizing on their solidified hard rock sound when Women and Children First came to shelves in 1980. From the band’s more commercialized releases that tended to radio listeners, this album had Van Halen go experimental and achieve the first strains of their signature sound.
Opening the album is “And The Cradle Will Rock”, welcoming the listener with an instant ear-candy of a rocker that grows in intensity after brief demodulation. “Everybody Wants Some” follows next with a hyped-up intro but a so-so arrangement as a whole. “Fools” is more of an improvised blues guitar jam that goes onto a considerable length, while “Romeo Delight” packs a punch with a heavy metal sound, although the verses provide some breathing room for contrast’s sake.
“Tora! Tora!” is a brief instrumental with unique sound effects, while “Loss Of Control” dominates with its highly-experimental rock arrangement that trades blows with “Romeo Delight”. “Take Your Whiskey Home” starts with an acoustic bit until it blasts off to full rock goodness that’s catchy to boot. Following it is “Could This Be Magic?”, adding variety to the catalog with its light acoustic arrangement. Closing off the album is “In A Simple Rhyme”, a solid rocker with love-inspired lyrics in the mix.
While not really the most cohesive body of work from the band, Women and Children First was a stepping stone for Van Halen to perfect their sound. A good listen if you want to know the band at a deeper level, that’s for sure.