Van Halen: A Different Kind of Truth [2012]

Released February 3, 2012 (2012-02-03)
Recorded November 2010 – August 2011 at 5150 and Henson Recording Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Genre Hard rock, heavy metal
Length 49:58
Label Interscope
Producer Van Halen and John Shanks

A Different Kind of Truth is the twelfth studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen. Released on February 7, 2012, A Different Kind of Truth is Van Halen’s first full-length, studio album to feature original lead vocalist David Lee Roth since 1984, and also it is the band’s first LP release since 1998. Wolfgang Van Halen, the son of guitarist Eddie Van Halen and actress Valerie Bertinelli, plays bass guitar on the album. Released on Interscope Records, which won an “eleventh hour” bidding war with Columbia Records to release this much-anticipated comeback album, A Different Kind of Truth is Van Halen’s first major release away from Warner Bros. Records.[1] Produced by John Shanks (notable for producing Fleetwood Mac, among other artists) and Van Halen, A Different Kind of Truth debuted at #2 on Billboards U.S. Album Charts.

Release

A deluxe version of the album was released, containing a bonus Acoustic DVD called The Downtown Sessions, which contains acoustic versions of “Panama”, “You and Your Blues (Intro)”, “You and Your Blues” and “Beautiful Girls”. A special version was released with a T-shirt along with the CD.[2] A Collector’s Edition vinyl album was also released. This double gatefold LP vinyl includes all 13 songs on two LPs plus custom LP artwork.[3]

Packaging

The steam locomotive featured on the cover artwork is a New York Central Railroad J-3A Dreyfuss Hudson.[citation needed] Aside from a reversed angle of the locomotive, the artwork appears very similar to the 1975 Commodores album Movin’ On,[4] released by Motown Records.[5]

Songs

The songs on A Different Kind of Truth were described by Roth as “a sort of collaboration with [Van Halen’s] past.”[6] Seven tracks that appear on the album are based on material which Roth notes, “Eddie and I generated, literally, in 1975, 1976, and 1977.”[6] 1970’s recordings exist of what became “She’s the Woman”, “Outta Space”, “Big River”, “Beats Workin'”, “Tattoo”, and “Bullethead”.[7]

Portions of the song “Blood and Fire” date back to 1984 when it was an instrumental known as “Ripley”, which was featured in the 1984 film The Wild Life.[7] Five songs on A Different Kind of Truth are brand new Van Halen compositions. “Stay Frosty” and “You and Your Blues” feature both musical and lyrical nods to the blues.

Lyrical themes on the album are diverse; however, a majority of songs deal with cyclical successes, failures, and fate, in an intricate but generally tongue-in-cheek style.[8] Such lyrical themes are present on “She’s the Woman”, “China Town”, “Blood and Fire”, “Bullethead”, “As Is”, “The Trouble with Never”, “Stay Frosty”, and “Beats Workin'”.

This release is the first Roth-fronted Van Halen studio album not to include an instrumental as a stand-alone track.

Singles

The first single from the album, “Tattoo”, was released on January 10, 2012. One day after its release to iTunes, it was the #1 selling rock song in the US, Canada, Finland and the Netherlands, while charting in Sweden, Belgium, Germany and the UK.[9] It received over two million YouTube hits in its first week of release and over five and a quarter million hits to date (July 2012.)

By January 23, 2012, “Tattoo” was ranked #1 on Billboard’s Hard Rock Singles chart, the #1 most played song at classic rock radio in its first week and #1 most added song at mainstream and active rock radio.[10]

“She’s the Woman” was released as the second single, which was serviced to radio on February 28, 2012.[11] A video was released online on April 13, 2012.[12]

“She’s the Woman” was also released as a promo vinyl 7″ single on May 4, 2012. It was intended to be given away as a “Record Store Day” type release at a selected 83 indie stores with the purchase of A Different Kind of Truth. Print run was rumoured to be just 500 – 750 copies.

“Stay Frosty” was released as the third single in mid-May 2012.

Reception

Upon its release, A Different Kind of Truth received positive reviews from music critics.[23][24] Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 73, based on 21 reviews, which is on the high end of “generally favorable reviews.”[24]

The Montreal Gazette gave the album 4/5 stars, and USA Today gave the album 3.5/4 stars, and said that “this is the true kick in the butt that arena rock desperately needs.”[22] The Guardian gave the album four stars out of a possible five, writing that the album was “a frequently thrilling return” with songs that “crackle, fizz, and bulge with priapic exuberance”.[17] Likewise, Allmusic writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine rated the album four stars out of five and wrote: “Van Halen are using their history to revive their present and they succeed surprisingly well on A Different Kind of Truth.”[13] William Clark of Guitar International gave the album a positive review, saying “A Different Kind of Truth features some of the most elaborate, expansive, and simply wowing guitar playing that Eddie has passionately poured into a single album”.[25]

SPIN magazine wrote, “the frantic, haute-for-teacher “As Is” and the mid-tempo shoulda-been-the-single “You and Your Blues” can hang with any heavy-breathing romp they made in their heyday.”[20] The A.V. Club‘s Steven Hyden stated, “After so many years of fumbling dysfunction that reduced the once-proud Van Halen name to a laughingstock, A Different Kind Of Truth matters because it’s a reminder of why this band mattered,” while noting that, “Roth deserves some of the credit for that. For whatever reason, when Roth is in the band, Eddie Van Halen plays guitar like the world wants him to play guitar.”[14] Rolling Stone gave the album 3.5 out of 5 stars, with critic Rob Sheffield stating, “Van Halen’s “heard you missed us, we’re back” album is not only the most long-awaited reunion joint in the history of reunion joints, it is – against all reasonable expectations – a real Van Halen album.”[19]

Commercial performance

A Different Kind of Truth entered the US Billboard 200 at #2, selling 188,000 copies in its first six days of release. It is the group’s fourteenth consecutive top ten album in the US.[26] It has sold 400,000 copies in the US since its release as of July 28, 2012, making it the 6th best-selling album of 2012.[27] The album also debuted at #6 on the UK Albums Chart with first-week sales of 14,040 copies, becoming their highest charting album ever. 

Track listing

All lyrics written by David Lee Roth, all music composed by Van Halen.

No. Title Length  
1. Tattoo”   4:44
2. She’s the Woman”   2:56
3. “You and Your Blues”   3:43
4. “China Town”   3:14
5. “Blood and Fire”   4:26
6. “Bullethead”   2:30
7. “As Is”   4:47
8. “Honeybabysweetiedoll”   3:46
9. “The Trouble with Never”   3:59
10. “Outta Space”   2:53
11. “Stay Frosty”   4:07
12. “Big River”   3:50
13. “Beats Workin'”   5:02
Total length:
49:58  
Deluxe Edition DVD
The Downtown Sessions
No. Title Length  
1. Panama”   5:33
2. “You and Your Blues (Intro)”   3:20
3. “You and Your Blues”   3:32
4. Beautiful Girls”   3:41
Total length:
16:11

Lyrics

1. Tattoo

Tattoo, tattoo
I got Elvis on my elbow
When I flex Elvis talks
I got hula girls on the back of my leg
And she hulas when I walk

Speak in cherry red
Screaming electric green
Purple mountain’s majesty really talk to me
Talk to me babe

Swap-meet sally
Trampstamp cat
Mousewife to momshell in the time it took to get that new tattoo
Tattoo-tattoo

(Tattoo, tattoo)
Show me your dragon magic
(Tattoo, tattoo)
So autobiographic!

Best believe that need will hurt you
Best deceive these true colors that follow one of your false virtues

Here’s a secret to make you think
Why is the crazy stuff we never said poetry in ink?
Speak in day-glow red
Explodo paint
Purple mountain’s majesty show me you, I’ll show you me

Swap-meet sally
Trampstamp cat
Mousewife to momshell in the time it took to get that new tattoo
Tattoo-tattoo

Woo!
(Tattoo, tattoo)
Sexy dragon magic
(Tattoo, tattoo)
So very autobiographic!
(Tattoo, tattoo)
Got a hold on me
(Tattoo, tattoo)
You put a spell on meeeee!

Uncle danny had a gold tattoo
He fought for the unions
Some of us still do
On my shoulder is a number of the chapter he was in
That number is forever like the struggle here to win

Everybody!
Swap-meet sally
Trampstamp cat
Mousewife to momshell in the time it took to get that new tattoo
Tattoo-tattoo
Tattoo
Ta-too!

(Tattoo, tattoo)
Sexy dragon magic
(Tattoo, tattoo)
So very autobiographic!
(Tattoo, tattoo)
You got a hold on me
(Tattoo, tattoo)
You put a spell on me
(Tattoo, tattoo)
I’m in love with you
(Tattoo, tattoo)
Show me, show me your
(Tattoo, tattoo)
Look at me, look at you!
(Tattoo, tattoo)
Whoa!

2. She’s The Woman

There goes an .. I got a ..
There really something else to see
So many lock place
Ho there can’t be just for me
I’m gonna change the time
And ever know i think i ..
There go!
I know she’s the woman
She’s the woman
She’s the woman
.. In every way
Baby please
I’d better love the free times
Baby see
I’m gonna change her time
And let he know i’ll be there
And know know know
She’s the woman, she’s the woman
I don’t wanna love the .. In every way
Be there see
.. Times, be there please
I’m gonna change her time
And let he know i’ll be there
I know o know know
She’s the woman, i know
She’s the woman, i know
She’s the woman, i know

3. You And Your Blues

Ain’t no Red House over yonder
No Stormy Monday waits for you
Ain’t no Midnight Train to Georgia
And I’m not looking for the truth
And I’ll tell you what I’m getting rid of next
You and your blues
Yes I am

You’re bad mood’s permanent
Communication Breakdown
Like watching someone reinvent
Their 19th Nervous Breakdown

Woman you suffer from a color
I suffered cause of you
Now everybody’s suffered
‘Cause of you and your blues

Ain’t goin’ down to no Crossroads
Ain’t gonna dust no broom
No Evil Woman got a hold on me
Ain’t going to Heaven anytime soon

You’re bad mood’s permanent
Communication Breakdown
Like watching someone reinvent
Their 19th Nervous Breakdown

Woman you suffer from a color
I suffered cause of you
Now everybody’s suffered

I’m done with coexisting
This is heavy lifting
No more growing codependent over you
And baby while we at it
I’ve had it with you and your blues

(solo)

Woman you suffer from a color
I suffered cause of you
Now everybody’s suffered
Woman you suffer from a color
And I suffered ’cause of you
Now everybody’s suffered
Now everybody’s suffered
‘Cause you and your blues

4. China Town

Headless body in a topless bar.
Warring clans in lowered cars.
A buck is still a buck in Shanghai
and a buck is all you earn.

A great night for all concerned.
Steel fingers play a deadly song.
Whole lotta Shakespeare going on and on and on.

It’s all happening downtown.
You painted daughters of the Tong underground
don’t mess around.

Welcome to China Town.
Well, you’re in our town now.
Welcome to China Town.

Heroes aren’t born, they’re cornered
and this corner is where we write the story.
Two tribes warring
downtown after hours.
The best to you each morning.

Can’t survive and think to win.
Drugged into sin.
Next episode begins and begins and begins and begins.

It’s all happening downtown.
You painted daughters of the Tong underground
don’t mess around.

Welcome to China Town.
Well, you’re in our town now.
Welcome to China Town.

It’s all happening downtown.

Welcome to my town, my town, my town!

(solo)

It’s all happening downtown.
You painted daughters of the Tong underground
don’t mess around.

Welcome to China Town.
Well, you’re in our town now.
Welcome to China Town.

Welcome to my town, my town, my town!

5. Blood & Fire

You can always tell the winners
Saints and the Sinners
Down at the starting line

I’m a lucid vision
Of the unforgiven
I’m your wave tossed guy

King sized repercussion
Trouble by the dozen
The stakes have never been high

Come back when you’re younger
Come back and feel the thunder
1-800 let’s talk

We came, we came, we came
Through blood and fire

We came, we came, we came
Through blood and fire

Now look at all the people here tonight

ahhhhhhhh

It’s a world upthrown
But that’s just what’s expected
None of them know it or even suspected
God must love the lazy, shiftless, and the crazy

6. Bullethead

My karma just ran over your dogma.
I can feel your pain.
If everything is coming your way
you’re facing the wrong lane.

Bullethead,
bomb the moon until you’re crazy dead.
B-b-b-b-b-b-bullethead
got a different kind of true.
Bullethead,
yes you are in danger.
I drive just like you!

How many roads must a man walk down
before he admits he’s lost.
And do you really, really drive this way
just to piss me off?

Boldly going nowhere,
trouble busting through.
Yeah, I’m rolling slowly
but I’m ahead of you.

Bullethead,
bomb the moon until you’re crazy dead.
B-b-b-b-b-b-bullethead
got a different kind of true.
Bullethead,
yes you are in danger.
I drive just like you!

Well I’m a lovin’ the horn baby.
Well I’m a bullethead.
Come-a, come-a, come-a, come on baby
Well I’m a bullethead.

Hurt me!

(solo)

Traffic is giving you trouble?
I can feel your pain.
No light at the end of the tunnel
due to budget constraints.

Some days you’re the dog,
some days you’re the hydrant.
If everything is going your way
you’re facing the wrong lane.

Bullethead,
bomb the moon until you’re crazy dead.
B-b-b-b-b-b-bullethead
got a different kind of true.
Bullethead,
yes you are in danger.
I drive just like you!

7. As Is

Yesterday I was a bum and broke.
Today I am a star and broke.
In this town that’s called progress,
that’s how we do biz.

I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor.
Rich was better, totally better.
(It) requires a degree of acceptance
as in: “must accept as is.”

Drive my search engine home.
Dropped, chopped, Alabama chrome.
Hey what the hell it runs, so…
the day is dunzo
let’s have some funzo.
Your’s very truly,
-As Is.

That’s how it goes…

How expensive he was
or what was he worth?
Ain’t no Brinks truck
following no hearse.

Drive my search engine home.
Droppe, chopped, Alabama chrome.
Hey what the hell it runs, so…
the day is dunzo
let’s have some funzo.
Your’s very truly,
-As Is.

This next part should really confuse things.
Everybody let’s stay focused.

Love of the craft
or love of the buck?
Every day down here’s a rainy day.
We don’t save up.

(solo)

A little more volume in the headphones please…

Unspoiled by progress,
“As Is” is how I follow through.
It’s not who you squeeze
but who returns once again to squeeze you no doubt!
Love ’em all I says.
Let Cupid sort ’em out!

Drive my search engine home.
Dropped, chopped, Alabama chrome.
Hey what the hell it runs, so…
the day is dunzo
let’s have some funzo.
Your’s very truly,
-As Is.

Love of the craft
or love of the buck?
Every day down here’s a rainy day
We don’t save up.

La-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la
(repeat)

8. Honeybabysweetiedoll

Honey baby sweetie doll,
you’re the one that I want
or I don’t want one at all.
Honey baby, my heart’s aflame.
I’m all fucked up and you’re to blame.

Honey baby sweetie girl,
let me count the ways you rock my world.
Stone soul sister,
soccer mom.
Muchacha, amiga,
cherry bomb.

Baby lover,
angel faces.
Satin doll,
You straight up aces.

I’m a bad little cowboy,
send me to your room.
Let’s get started,
let’s not stop soon.
I roll like the ocean
when the moon is full.
I’m a face grenade
with the sex-pin pulled.

Baby lover,
angel faces.
Satin doll,
You straight up aces.

(solo)

Honey baby Hampton’s bitch.
Kinda lost, sorta rich.
I dig both and I don’t care which.
You’re gonna make me crash
you red hot Florida trailer trash.
Now that’s a switch.

9. The Trouble With Never

You often wonder,
you wanna know.
How deep does
the rabbit hole go?

I know you never thought about it
but ask yourself later:
When you turn on your stereo
does it return the favor?

I gotta know!

That’s the trouble with never,
(It) sure seems like a mighty long time.
That’s the trouble with never.
When was the last time
you did something for the first time?

Hello!

Every Einstein’s assigned
a Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber.
Any old fool could see,
never even wonder.

Yeah we could come together.
I will call for you.
Hey, never’s good for me.
How’s never sound to you?

1-800-Tell-Me-Baby!

That’s the trouble with never,
(It) sure may be a mighty long time.
That’s the trouble with never.
When was the last time
you did something for the first time?

Yeah!
Level with me baby!
Talk to me!

(Solo)

This could
damage your reputation:
my wicked wicked ways,

but maybe I just will
since you put it that way.

Delusions of eloquence?
You never can say.

You wanna play
the game?
You can’t quit when you get played.

“Mistakes make people.”
Isn’t that what people say?

Let’s un-plan the moment,
dance the night away.

Selective amnesia
is only a heartbeat away.

A simple question
concerning time:
“Suppose you wait forever
and then you change your mind?”

Oh, No!

That’s the trouble with never,
sure could be a mighty long time.
That’s the trouble with never.
When was the last time
you did something for the first time?

When was it?
When was it?
Ah, text me baby!

When baby?
Tell me!
When was the last time baby?
Show me!

10. Outta Space

Need no polar bear to scare me,
no Eskimo to share with me his fate.

Woo! We outta space

No blog-o-sphere to sell me.
No dolphin needs to tell me.
No starving kid
to make the case.

Counter blast, interstellar facial full.
Bumper sticker on my rocket’s ass:
“Go Home. The Earth Is Full.”

Outta space, Outta space
Outta space, Outta space

Eighty acres of one stop shopping
has somewhat changed the place.

Woo! We outta space

I do not refuse it.
I am guilty, I do use it.
I am the reason
we outta space.

Counter blast, interstellar facial full.
Bumper sticker on my rocket’s ass:
“Go Home. The Earth Is Full.”

Outta space, Outta space
Outta space, Outta space

(solo)

Danger rides the web tonight.
Burst mode dynamite.
Spinning up my Facebook page
and I’ll ride out towards the outer maze.

The future ain’t what it used to be.
Time to change my galaxy in case
we outta space!

Trouble-free Earth despocrats made
Mother Nature piss her pants and when
That’s human way.

Counter blast, interstellar facial full.
Bumper sticker on my rocket’s ass:
“Go Home. The Earth Is Full.”

Outta space, Outta space
Outta space, Outta space

11. Stay Frosty

I journeyed to the North
to hear what the preacher said
“your arms are too short to box with God,
learn these words instead”
Gold tooth reflected
My advice is free
There’s a trick to Christian values and its compulsory.
Stay Frosty
In a world without end
Stay Frosty
Like the ancient immortals said
Don’t want em to get your goat
Don’t show em where its hid and that’s just what I did
I travelled to the South
The ancient Rabbi appeared to me
Voice heavy with the sands of time
he made me see
Same as Kabalah Dave but for you it’s free
God guides us on our journey
But be careful where you put your feet
Stay frosty
that’s what the preacher man said
Stay Frosty
his words still racket in my head
Can’t control your future
can’t control your friends
in a world without ends…
Stay Frosty!
I looked to the East
I struggled to stay afloat
A solitary Buddhist Monk
threw me a rope
Looked me in the eye
Don’t make me say this twice
You want to be a monk, you to cook a lot of rice
Stay Frosty
In a world without end
Stay Frosty
Work hard at this my friends
Look beyond the Kung Fu fighting
God is love
best get it in writing
I wandered out West
to the California Coast
Where the folks who know about frostiness stay frostiest the most
my brand new landlord
proposed me a toast, “My West Coast host”
Stay Frosty
Chant it like a Mantra
Stay Frosty
and there’s nothing you cant handle
far and wide far as you can handle
trust in Allah
But tie up your camel, and remember…
Stay Frosty!!

12. Big River

Wind at my back,
face in the sun.
All my big ideas done.

Big river
rollin’.

Listen to a sea shell
you can hear the sea.
Listen to a beer glass
that river belongs to me.

Big river
rollin’.

There’s a river runs here.
When it rains we flood.
Co-op City first 3 floors
of Charles River mud.

Big river
rollin’.
Oh, yeah!
Big river
rollin’.
Oh, yeah!

Land’s edge,
where the East begins,
the debris meets the sea
when the tide comes in.

Oh, look out!

Look both ways now.

(solo)

Big river
rollin’.
Oh, yeah!
Big river
rollin’.
Oh, yeah!

Big river.
Big river.
Oh, yeah!

13. Beats Workin’

Here today, gone later today.
I’ve been reading what the bloggers say.
How about a great big slice for me?
Otherwise or professionally.

Beats workin’.
Startin’ up in my feet.
Goes to workin’
on the rest of me.

Live this life of luxury
sho-nuff beats workin’ for me.
Kid’ll land on his feet
if he don’t land on his seat.

This beats workin’ baby
’cause I’m red hot
baby like it or not.

Don’t you know that
this beats workin’ baby
’cause I’m red hot
baby like it or not.

One empty floor
stands between the stage
and the welfare door.

Heads or tails
of the same bread.
Coin of the realm
just like the man said

Beats workin’.
Starting up all in my feet.
Goes to workin’
on the rest of me.

Got a feelin’ all in my head.
Try to do it
like the good book said.
Kid’ll land on his feet
if he don’t land on his head.

This beats workin’ baby
’cause I’m red hot
baby like it or not.

Don’t you know that
this beats workin’ baby
’cause I’m red hot
baby like it or not.

(solo)

This beats workin’ baby.
This beats workin’ baby.
This beats workin’ baby
’cause I’m red hot
baby like it or not.

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