Fair Warning (Van Halen album)
The photo is taken from a painting by William Kurelek.
|Studio album by|
|Released||April 29, 1981|
|Recorded||Early March – Early April 1981|
|Studio||Sunset Sound, Los Angeles|
|Van Halen chronology|
|Singles from Fair Warning|
Fair Warning is the fourth studio album by American rock band Van Halen. Released on April 29, 1981, it sold more than two million copies, but was still the band's slowest-selling album of the David Lee Roth era. Despite the album's commercially disappointing sales, Fair Warning was met with mostly positive reviews from critics.
The album's cover artwork is accompanied by an insert of a black-and-white picture of the band, as well as a view of a ghetto drywall with a wire running across it, cracked windows at the top and a Roth-era Van Halen logo with plaster cracked over the left wing. Also on the wall is a lyric from the album's opening song, "Mean Street".
|Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s||B−|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
The Village Voice's Robert Christgau rated Fair Warning a B-, signifying "a competent or mildly interesting record that will usually feature at least three worthwhile cuts." He stated that it featured "not just Eddie's latest sound effects, but a few good jokes along with the mean ones and a rhythm section that can handle punk speed emotionally and technically." He also explained that "at times Eddie could even be said to play an expressive – lyrical? – role. Of course, what he's expressing is hard to say. Technocracy putting a patina on cynicism".
A retrospective review by AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine found the album fairly positive. In the review, he initially stated that "it's a dark, strange beast, partially because it lacks any song as purely fun as the hits from the first three records" and that "whatever the reason, Fair Warning winds up as a dark, dirty, nasty piece of work." He went on to say that "dull it is not and Fair Warning contains some of the fiercest, hardest music that Van Halen ever made. There's little question that Eddie Van Halen won whatever internal skirmishes they had, [...] even with the lack of a single dedicated instrumental showcase". He concluded that "nastiness is the defining characteristic of Fair Warning, which certainly doesn't make it bunches of fun, but it showcases the coiled power of Van Halen better than any other album, which makes it worth visiting on occasion."
The Rolling Stone Album Guide, however, gave the album two-and-a-half stars out of five, stating that "the most significant musical development is the synthesizer introduced at the end of Fair Warning, which would be exploited to greater effect on later albums."
|4.||"Hear About It Later"||4:35|
|6.||"Push Comes to Shove"||3:49|
|7.||"So This Is Love?"||3:06|
|8.||"Sunday Afternoon in the Park"||1:59|
|9.||"One Foot Out the Door"||1:58|
- David Lee Roth – lead vocals
- Eddie Van Halen – guitar, synthesizers, backing vocals
- Michael Anthony – bass guitar, backing vocals
- Alex Van Halen – drums
- Pete Angelus – cover design
- Chris Bellman – remastering
- Gregg Geller – remastering
- Greg Gorman – photography, inlay photos
- William Kurelek – cover artwork, from The Maze
- Donn Landee – engineer
- Gene Meros – engineer
- Jo Motta – project coordinator
- Richard Seireeni – art direction
- Ted Templeman – producer
- Neil Zlozower – photography
|Chart (1981)||Peak position|
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||97|
|US Billboard 200||5|
Billboard (United States)
|1981||"So This Is Love?"||Mainstream Rock||15|
|1981||"Mean Street"||Mainstream Rock||12|
|1981||"Push Comes to Shove"||Mainstream Rock||29|
|1981||"Unchained"||Mainstream Rock||13|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||2× Platinum||2,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
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- British Journal of Psychiatry (2001)
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