Haven’t smashed out a Van Halen album review in a bit so let’s jump into the Van Hagar fire with there 1991 release For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album or as every one call’s it F.U.C.K.
Who knew back in June of 1991 when this record hit the streets that there was internal strife in the band. You had Sammy Hagar/Michael Anthony/Eddie and Alex Van Halen still looking like and functioning like a band to me anyway’s but if you read Sam’s Book Red you knew that was further from the truth as the Halen Bros made Anthony who is everyones favourite guy yet to the Halen Bros he was the kicking bag of the band take a percentage cut in songwriting and such which kudos to Mikey who sucked it up and just kept going about his business…
So with that said ….
I was stoked and why wouldn’t I be. New Halen/New Halen so this was easily a first day purchase as since I was working I sent my younger brother Todd who was 14 at the time(with cash on hand) to pick the CD up for me and as per protocol since he was on a Rock Mission a cassette tape of the same album for him. Paying for my brothers music as well was the least I could do as he would always deliver as when I would get home my new release would be ready to unwrap! Bam!
So with this album Halen hire Andy Johns(RIP). Johns had quite the resume in rock as he engineered a bunch of Led Zeppelin/Rolling Stones records as well as produced stuff by Free/Cinderella and wait for it….two albums by HMO Can Con’s Killer Dwarfs!
So I knew the production end of things would be taken care of or would they? Hmmmm ….Well the drums sound huge and they should right as Alex Van Halen was a massive player and Johns worked with Bonzo from Zep and we all know how those drums sound on the Zeppelin albums right!?
Andy though I dunno too much partying at the 5150 studios or maybe you had the Halen Bros breathing down your neck constantly about how they want to hear things. The production sounds muddy at times as it’s hard to decipher the Bass it sounds like one big wall of thud. Not clear either kinda trembly weird..dunno what it was but the sound sounded bizarro. Than again this was nothing new as 1988’s O.U.8.1.2 production sounded all over the map at times.
Anyways my personal bitchin aside F.U.C.K is still a good album and shall we take a gander at the tracks….
1. “Poundcake” 5:21
2. “Judgement Day” 4:38
3. “Spanked” 4:53
4. “Runaround” 4:20
5. “Pleasure Dome” 6:58
6. “In ‘n’ Out” 6:04
7. “Man on a Mission” 5:03
8. “The Dream Is Over” 3:59
9. “Right Now” 5:21
10. “316” (instrumental) 1:29
11. “Top of the World” 3:54
Poundcake,HA! That ol Horn Dawg Sam starts off with some punchy lyrics about getting some Poundcake and not the kind Granny would cook in the oven if ya catch my drift. The big news was that Eddie was dabbling with a Power Drill with an pic attached to the drill and this begins the album with Al charging forward with the drums. (Correct me if I’m wrong but I think Paul Gilbert did the pick drill bit a year before on the Mr Big “Lean Into It” album but Paul never got his due or maybe I got this all wrong) Pretty cool opening song which also served as the tour opener as well. Gotta love Big Rock Dumbo lyrics and Poundcake serves the purpose but when you have EVH on guitar you know the music chops are gonna be up to snuff and by golly they are. Below I posted a rippin great version of Poundcake when Halen played on the 1991 MTV Awards and man they rock the shit outta those yuppies in the front row! This is soooooooooooo Gooooooood! Kinda funny watching this as they all seem happy but AL and Ed you know are thinking what can we do to the Bass Player after the show…
On Judgement Day Ed flexes his guitar muscle and we all scream in excitement as he still shows us all who the Boss is! Sam ditches the Dumbo lyrics and steps up on this track and sings it real swell as well! The solo is fantastic and Ed does all that crazy tapping that well no one can do and better yet how the hell does Ed think of this stuff?
Spanked reminds me of 2 things! First of all in the credits of the album Ed was credited as playing some 6 string Bass on this song. (Oh oh..watch yer back Mikey)This song musically is creepy Halen kinda sauntering around in your backyard at 2 am looking for dope n booze. Lyrically well…read this for yourself…
“Three dollars, first minute, gosh, man
After that, cost ya four
And she be up for negotiations, mmm hmm
If you call back for more, oh oh oh ah
Now who ya gonna call
When you need that special (special)
Little somethin’, mmm
You can say what you like
It’s all confidential, whoa
All you bad, bad boys
Call her up on the spank line, huh
All you bad, bad boys
Call her up on the spank line, whoa
Hey, all you bad, bad boys
Make a mind blow
All you bad, bad boys (dial 1-900-spanked)”
So what we got here is Creepy Music Halen with Big Dumbo Rock lyrics but Sam is a clever chap as well the song is catchy in a different kind of way. The second thing is that when I caught this show in Winnipeg(Nov 1991) the reviewer said that Halen played Spanked. Ummm no they did not as I’m a Diehard and that track was not played which proved to me that some of these critics have no idea what the F.U.C.K there writing about! Oh well Mr Reviewer just dial up 1-900-Spanked!
Runaround gets the band back on track and this is another sure fire winner with a super duper excellent chorus and this Runaround has ton of zip in it’s step. Well done after the chaotic creepiness of Spanked. Sam Halen know there bread and butter and thats tracks like this one.
Pleasure Dome is pretty much a musical number kinda with some Sammy echoey like mumbling and stumbling as the Brothers and Anthony keep the train a chugging.
Side 2 begins with Alex kicking In ‘N’ Out and more silliness from Sam I Am. Now before you Hagar Fans (Trust me I’m one also) get all nutty thinking I’m beating up Sam and his lyrics he’s just comes across as a BeachBum not taking his crap too seriously and just living life so can you really blame him. Sam-innuedo are these lyrics for In ‘N’Out.
Man On A Mission is the track no one ever talks about but it’s a pretty good track that builds off of Ed’s Riff’s. Love the guitaring on this track. Pretty cool vocals especially the backing vocals of Mikey. That should come as no surprise though.
This Dream Is Over may actually be my fav off of this album. Ed soars right out of the gate with this track and he lifts right off until Sam checks in with singing. See,give Sam his due as he when he puts his mind to it can write some crafty words, EVH takes this track to the next level come solo time!
At the 92 MTV Awards show Halen cleaned up on some awards with Right Now which has Ed twinkling the ivories but do not be fooled by the piano as Ed supercharges and ramps up during the solo. Actually this was areal cool video and still is….Liked the clip where they show Mikey wanting to make a solo album….betcha Ed and Alex were chomping at the bit…..Still though this is a great song with great lyrics!
316 is a little Guitar doodle from Edward as in the year of 1991 his son Wolfie was born on the third month/16th day….
Ed begins Top Of The World and the boys all join in and this is a great rock track and was the tour closer for the tour as well. If you listen closely to the end of the song you can here Ed picking a few bars of Jump. EVH does it the right way..he steals licks from himself!
F.U.C.K is a good Sam Halen album. At time the lyrics are loosey goosey but than again like I had mentioned in my OU812 review if Sammy confronted me about this accusation I would tell him Tbone made me say it!
Seriously though this album if the production had been notched up a bit could have been a great album as the songs are there kinda. You got serious stuff and goofy stuff(in the lyrics) so even though Van Halen was maturing age wise they still wanted you to keep them in mind when the Bong N Booze/ Doritos would come out!
Mikey Ladano reviewed this back in 2014 and gave it a 2.8/5 rating….
Here’s my 2 cents worth of a comment ..
October 3, 2014 at 5:50 pm
Yeah man the bass on here like Aaron said is aweful. The songs for the most part are good except for fruit cake toons like Spanked and Poundcake the music is good but Sam has always had a thingy for big dumb goofy lyrics but that’s who he is,Sam I Am!
Ha…but yeah in 91… I liked this one immensely but in 2014 I lean towards another Hagar/Halen album but I ain’t saying till my Sonic Wave deal..how’s that for a self plug!
But still I would plunk this a little higher Mikey than what U gave it but fair enuff…