Many Van Halen fans call this their favourite Van Halen album. Is it the best? I think it's up there with Van Halen (S/T) and 1984. It may not be quite as good as those albums, but it's very, very good.
Fair Warning is a bit dark when you compare it to the bright, happy party rock on the band's other albums. Obviously, Unchained is the "big" song on this album. Mean Street is another great song, its intro being part of Eddie's live guitar solo for years. Hear About It Later is one of Van Halen's most underrated songs. It has it all -- great guitar work, a hard rock vibe, and a great hook.
This album is unique in that it features some songs that are certainly odd for Van Halen. Not everyone will like them, but those willing to be open to different sounds from this band will be rewarded -- the groove of Dirty Movies is certainly different, and Push Comes To Shove has a laidback vibe that is just slow enough to not be too slow.
Fair Warning rocks. As an ALBUM it is one of their best. Some other albums have great singles but as an album are lacking and contain material that could just about be called filler -- but Fair Warning, I find, delivers from beginning to end.
If you're new to the band, check out Van Halen (S/T), 1984, Van Halen II, or perhaps Best Of Volume One. Fair Warning is for when you've been digging Van Halen for a while, although I'm sure pretty much anyone could love at least a few songs on this album. From Mean Street to Sinner's Swing to Hear About It Later to Unchained to So This Is Love, this album is a classic.