Review: Van Halen – For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge

Over the past month, there’s only one CD that’s travelled with me, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (or F.U.C.K.) by Van Halen. I first heard some of the songs when the album originally came out in 1992, but wasn’t into VH enough back then to buy the album.

Recently, I got a copy and took it out for a drive. What did I discover? A hard rockin’ album with real teeth, that’s what! VH purists knock F.U.C.K. as being one of their worst albums, but I was blown away by the sheer power and consistency of the album – you can just feel the energy on every track.

The Singles

Easing you into and out of the album are the two big singles, starter Poundcake and closing track Top Of The World. It’s hard to believe the video for Poundcake was made nearly thirteen years ago. It had the stock busty girls, but it’s best bit was every time Sammy Hagar sang loud, the microphone seemed to swell and throb which was just brilliant! I always thought Top Of The World was the weaker track, but after a few weeks, that intro riff really gets into your head and the lead break is fantastic. It’s a really heavy pop/rock track that grabs you from start to finish.

Best Bits

Needless to say, the two singles are amazing tracks. The rest of the album is excellent, particularly Judgement Day, Runaround, The Dream Is Over and Right Now. If you think about it in context, this album came out during the emergence of the ‘Seattle scene’. Although it went multi-platinium, it doesn’t get much recognition these days. But FUCK is a pounding heavy rock album which keeps the energy up throughout, by a powerful, tight and talented group who seem to be really enjoying themselves.

Songs To Skip Over

You need to be warned about the (only) two weak tracks here: Spanked and Man On A Mission. Neither do much for me and interrupt the flow of the album. Spanked, in particular, is terrible. AC/DC or Aerosmith could do a mean sex song, but it’s not Van Halen’s strongest area! 316 is the customary bit of guitar noodling from Eddie. It would normally annoy me, but serves as an extended intro to Top Of The World, so it escapes my wrath!

All in all, though, this thirteen year old record (I can’t believe it’s been that long!!) is truely excellent. If you’re revisiting your youth or simply want something to bop along to in your car, get FUCKed!

This review was originally written by me on 1 December 2006 and has been posted on various places online over the last few years. I’ve moved it here to keep a complete archive of my single and video reviews from my entire blogging career.

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