After two pure party albums, the inevitable had to happen: it was time for Van Halen to mature, or at least get a little serious. And so, Women and Children First, a record where the group started to get heavier, both sonically and, to a lesser extent, thematically, changing the feel of the band ever so slightly. Where the first two records were nothing but nonstop parties, there's a bit of a dark heart beating on this record, most evident on the breakneck metal of "Romeo Delight," but also the pair of opening party anthems, "And the Cradle Will Rock" and "Everybody Wants Some!!," which don't fly quite as high as "Dance the Night Away" or "Runnin' with the Devil" because of the tense, roiling undercurrents in Eddie's riffs, especially the thudding, circular keyboard riff propelling "And the Cradle Will Rock." The very fact that a keyboard drives this song, not a guitar, is a signal of Eddie's burgeoning ambition (which would soon become inseparable from his desire for respectability), and there are already some conflicts between this somber musicality and David Lee Roth's irrepressible hunger for fun. Where that tension would eventually tear the band apart, here it just makes for compelling music, adding richness and depth to this half-hour blast of rock & roll. This is the first Van Halen album to consist entirely of original material and there's some significant growth here to the writing, evident in the winding, cynical neo-boogie "Fools" and also in the manic "Loss of Control," which gallops by with the ferocity of hardcore punk. These, along with all previously mentioned songs, are the heaviest music Van Halen has made (or would ever make), but as the album rushes toward the end Diamond Dave pulls them toward his country-blues jive fixation with "Take Your Whiskey Home" and the all-acoustic "Could This Be Magic?" giving the album a dose of levity that is welcome if not necessarily needed. Then, before the album comes a close, the band unleashes its first stab at a power ballad with "In a Simple Rhyme," where the group's attempts at melodic grace are undercut by their compulsion to rock. This may not make for a full-fledged power ballad, but this tension between the two extremes -- by their increasing songcraft and their unhinged rock & roll -- makes for dynamic music, and captures all the contrasting glories of the album in one song.
Performance CreditsVan Halen Primary Artist
David Lee Roth Group Member
Eddie Van Halen Group Member
Alex Van Halen Group Member
Michael Anthony Group Member
Technical CreditsDavid Lee Roth Composer
Donn Landee Engineer
Ted Templeman Producer
Eddie Van Halen Composer
Alex Van Halen Composer
Michael Anthony Composer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Women and Children First based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
this is the most amazing cd you will ever hear by a band who is rock or metal but also uses some acoustics and harmonics in the song i also recomend 1984 by: van halen and fair warning by: van halen
This album shows Whos the king of the guitar. Only Jimmy Page of Led Zepelin can top this bad boy. as far as lyrics go this album dont got much, but musicly, its Great. I like this album alot but its not there best.
This gem has been a bit overlooked in Van Halen´s catalogue, which is sad as it is an excellent Big Rock-album. As always on their early albums, Eddie constantly tries new things on the fretboard. In fact, the whole band is in top shape, and the most part of the songs were written through jam-sessions in the studio. As usual, bass-player Michael Anthony is doing a great job as a background singer. Highly recommended!