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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on September 26, 2014
Van Halen's third release and it's a blazing steam roller of good time party hard rock.Everything is killer on this album, guitar of course Roth adding character and a wow factor to every track and alex and michael anthony lay down a in your face rhthym like no other.One of the coolest album covers to boot in my opinion, buy this baby you won't be let down and remember...Everybody Wants Some!!!!
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on July 8, 2004
At first I was skeptical about this 3rd album by the godly Van Halen because it is one of the overlooked albums, but it is also the most underrated. I would rate this the 3rd best Van Halen album. Michael Anthony was at the top of his game, It was arguably DLR's best performance, Eddie was still on top of it, and it had remarkable work by Alex. "And The Cradle Will Rock" is a popular song from the album but I personally don't think it's that great of a song. "Romeo Delight" is the hardest, and pretty close to the best song i've ever heard. It's hard, fast, has catchy lyrics, and the ending riff blew me away. This is the best work Michael Anthony ever did on bass, and one of the best Alex did on the drums. The lead in song "Tora! Tora!" is good but they could of added it to "Loss of Control", or just not put it in at all. "Loss of Control" is another of the good songs and the second best in my oppinion. "Take Your Whiskey Home" is like a funny version of "Ice Cream Man" off of VH1 it begins with Dave on the acoustic, and it has funny lyrics, and he hiccups while singing the song.
If your into harder songs, and your a VH fan, this is definatly the album your looking for. "Everybody Wants Some", "Fools", "Romeo Delight", "Loss of Control", and the killer finisher "In A Simple Rhyme" are all good songs and any one of those songs alone are worth the money. This is the most underated album, but I can't see why. It is a must have for any Van Halen fan.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 1, 2012
By 1980, Van Halen were certified rock stars. They had put two LPs (albeit rather similar sounding to one another) which were massively successful, they were selling out arena tours, and had become one of America's premier hard rock bands. So when they went into the studio a third time, they wisely chose to branch out their sound and record a much stylistically broader set of songs that had yet been heard by Van Halen's fans.

If you listen to Van Halen's discography in chronological process (a good practice to do with any band or musical artist, to get a glimpse of their career path and musical projectory), WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST is one of the most important records to their career, and proved to be both a transitional record and one of the most underrated albums of their career. Their debut established the `Van Halen' sound, and VH II followed that sound without changing it up at all. Had they done so a third time, it would have been an artistic misfire and the band would probably start to fade from public consciousness.

Thankfully, Van Halen didn't do that. Instead, they introduced keyboards (Cradle Will Rock has keyboards processed through a guitar amp), does a bluesy acoustic, almost folk sound number (Could This Be Magic, one of the most underrated VH songs ever), some social commentary (!!) about rock fans and their relationship to their parents and authority figures (Cradle Will Rock), stretches out their musical muscle (Fools), and shows they can write some flat-out great hard rock songs (Romeo's Delight, Loss of Control, In a Simple Rhyme). While "Tora! Tora!" is more of a riff and an intro to "Loss of Control" than a real song, the other eight songs prove Van Halen was becoming a much more ambitious band the third time around. It is true that you have to spend more time with this record than the previous two to fully appreciate the music, but it is time well spent, much of it finding the different layers to the music.

What makes WOMEN so wonderful is how natural this expansion of the Van Halen sound is. They have more musical ambition, develop their song-writing skills, and just manage to churn out one of their most idiosyncratic records. While VHII sounds simply like VH repeated, WOMEN sounds like the real followup to the debut. And while I have always found "Everybody Wants Some" rather sophomoric in the lyrical department, the music itself is outstanding. On a moral level, I find myself disagreeing with "Everybody Wants Some", largely due to the sheer promiscuity it promotes, as well as at the very end Roth is propositioning a prostitute (he says "Look, I'll pay you for it, what the f--?" "In a Simple Rhyme", for my money, is one of the best VH songs recorded, and should have been a hit on the same level as any of their other famous material. I've also always had a partial "Could This Be Magic", Van Halen's equivalent of Zeppelin's "Going To California". What I mean by that is it's a fantastic folk song by a band mostly known for hard rock (though Zeppelin had a huge variety of style and texture to their work as well).

Overall, the music Van Halen recorded for this album is looser, funkier, and covers a much wider spectrum of music than their previous two records. The music sounds live, lived in, and like the band's been playing this music for that rare period of time when the material is still fresh enough, but more than capable of playing the material, and that point where the band has played the songs so much they just needed a break from it. Why WACF isn't more highly regarded is beyond me. I think this is easily their most underrated album.

Interestingly enough, when "In a Simple Rhyme" ends, a short 20 second untitled instrumental starts. The name of this instrumental, nowhere listed on the packaging, is "Growth", and was originally going to be used to as the opening track to WACF's followup. This followup turned out to be "Fair Warning", and the original idea was to use "Growth" as the opening track was unfortunately abandoned. It has some great, undeveloped potential.

Although the majority of the record may not be as immediately accessible as the biggest songs off the 1978 debut and 1984, overall it is a record that reveals more and more with each listen and reveals itself to be a record with as much lasting power as either of those two titans. It may take you a little bit to get into, but once you do, you'll be hooked.

Bottom line: Even though VAN HALEN or 1984 or the first two logical places to start listening to Van Halen with Roth was in the band, for the newbies this is a great place to start as well. Given how underrated it is, it would be nice for new listeners saying their first VH record was this one. I know a lot of people get nostalgic about records that got them into different bands, and it'd be nice if this was that record for more people than it is now, given its underrated status.
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on July 24, 2000
A great album... but if I give VH-I & VH-II five stars, I can't really give "Women & Children First" five stars as well. It's close, but I just can't do it. VH-I was the best mind-bending, heart-stopping, joy-ride from 1978. "Women & Children First has some great songs, but only spawned one top charting hit, "And The Cradle Will Rock". The peppy acoustic "Could This Be Magic?" had some radio air play, but never festered to much more than a deep album cut that the local radio stations would play 2x a month (maybe even less). The other songs are what grabs you and holds you down like a yellow-eyed bully before he beats the bah-jesus outta ya... like "In A Simple Rhyme", "Take Your Whiskey Home", "Everybody Wants Some" (I keep picturing that singing cheeseburger in one of those early 1980's John Cusack films), and "Romeo Delight". Outstanding tight crunchy guitar licks, songs with meaning (life, booze, girls) and attitude from energetic David Lee. Not in the same league as their first two albums, but a solid 3rd album that is absolutely essential to any VH fan(atic).
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on May 8, 2000
One can tell from the keyboard-driven 'And the Cradle Will Rock' (processed through a guitar amp to SOUND like guitar, but it's keys) that Women and Children First is going to be an album that strays from their first two albums quite a bit. And it does. But unlike most 3rd 'Experiments' from bands, this album works. And it works extremely well.
Every song here is good. Romeo Delight is great hard rock, and Everybody Wants Some finds David Lee Roth at his flamboyant best. Eddie showcases his acoustic chops on Could This Be Magic?, and it's another full-band hyper-speed boogie on 'Loss of Control'. The highlight of the album however is the long-forgotten, highly underrated 'In A Simple Rhyme' a semi-epic love song that is quite possibly the single best song of the David Lee Roth era. Released as a single, this song could've been a sure classic. It closes the album on a high note.
Women and Children First is one of Van Halen's more underrated albums in the shadow of the excellent Fair Warning, but it's just as good. The only shortcoming is that it, like most Roth era albums, is very breif, only a little over a half-hour long. But it's definitly one of the highlights of the band's early-era.
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on September 14, 1999
This VH CD is the first where the band sounds like a band and not merely 3 guys backing up Eddie's pyrotechnics. That's not to say Eddie's fretwork isn't outstanding, it is but his playing really supports and fleshes out the songs instead of the songs merely being showcases for his playing. I don't think the band has ever rocked harder/better. From the opening roar of "...And the Will Rock" to the closing 10 seconds of the album that may have inspired the entire thrash metal genre, this CD comes on like a sledghammer in heat. Every song has the band working as a tight unit, particularly Fools and Romeo's Delight. VH proves they can still rock with a sense of humor (Everybody Wants Some!, Take Your Whiskey Home). This album is probably also the band's most varied without being downright weird like Diver Down. Tora! Tora! Tora!/Loss of Control is a sonic freakout. Could This Be Magic is VH's "Bron 'Y' Aur Stomp", an acoustic shuffle that is a nice counterpoint to the rest of the album's heaviness. My only complaint is that the CD clocks in at a very brief 34 minutes. C'mon Ed, how about a boxed set of complete remastered Roth-era recordings!?
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on June 17, 2004
Van Halen's third album Women and Children First was released in March of 1980. The album was recorded in two weeks but sure doesn't sound it. The opening And the Cradle Will Rock had a killer keyboard riff which sounds like a guitar but was a distorted Wurlitzer piano and a killer Eddie Van Halen guitar solo. David Lee Roth's vocals were killer on this album. Everybody Wants Some is an awesome song and all I can think about is the claymated hamburger singing this song in Better Off Dead but a killer song nonetheless with stellar drumming from Alex Van Halen and superb bass work from Michael Anthony. Other standouts on this album are Fools, Romeo Delight, Take Your Whiskey Home, Loss of Control and the closing In a Simple Rhyme. When this album was released, it stormed right into the US Top 5 and was another Multi-Platinum hit for the band. I first heard this album when I got it fro Christmas in 1984 on cassette and the remastered CD buries the original album by a longshot. Highly recommended!
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on August 22, 2003
Women And Children First is one of Van Halen's best albums, even if it isn't among their biggest sellers. This is clearly David Lee Roth's album with his charisma dominating every track. They certainly could not make an album this fun with Sammy Hagar or Gary Cherone. This is Van Halen at their most laid back.
Although the tracks here are longer than on their first two albums, the album never ceases to sound like a party. The most straight-forward track is the opener "And The Cradle Will Rock..." which still sounds pretty loose when compared to later albums with Roth like Fair Warning and 1984. Tracks such as "Everybody Wants Some", "Fools", and "Romeo Delight" are all very strong riff-rockers which sound like they were made for the concert stage. The hyperactive "Loss Of Control" leads to the more laid back classic rocker "Take Your Whiskey Home", the strongest track here. The acoustic "Could This Be Magic?" is very catchy with the band sounding a little tipsy during the chorus. "In A Simple Rhyme" closes the album with a bang, another underrated classic. This album is best enjoyed in its entirety as each track blends into the next flawlessly. After this album, Eddie Van Halen exerted more control over the band's direction. This lead the band to its greatest success but losing the looseness and innocence that made them special. Fans who only have the albums with Hagar or those having just the most popular albums like Van Halen or 1984 should definitely check this out.
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on July 5, 2003
With their third release, WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST, Van Halen stepped into an era of heavier guitar work. Eddie rips chrods like crazy on this release. Released in March of 1980, WACF has some filler, but overall ranks as a very strong release. The opening track, "And The Cradle Will Rock, " gets your blood pumping. The odd sound at the biggining is actually a keyboard, which the band had been experimenting with at the time, and would play a big part in 1984. "Everbody Wants Some!" is a wild rocker with Roth talking between the verses, "I like the way that line runs up the back of your stocking." It's hilarious and I listen to this track over and over. "Fools" takes forver to start up, and has a clunky chorus that gets boring. "Romeo Delight" speeds things up alot after that and Eddie really shows his pro style on this one.
"Tora Tora" and "Loss of Control" are mere fillers to take up space, and do little to show the band's creativity. "Take Your Whisky Home" changes all that. It's good rocker that starts acoustic before getting heavy. This and "Could This Be Magic?" are great drinking songs. The latter is a fun acoustic ballad that is fun to play around the campfire. The closer, "In A Simpler Rhyme," has heavy riffs along with a pleasant chorus to start and end the track. The filler in the middle of this album along with "Fools" are the reasons why I ranked it only 3 stars. Other then that, it rocks hard from start to finish. I have a giant poster of the back of this album, and it's an awesome collectors item that I will treasure forever. Pick up this album today and have fun banging your head.
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on December 9, 2001
This is among their lesser albums, but for rock in general, it's still a must have. It's great if you want something heavy yet adventurous on a rainy or overcast day. The tribal drumming of "Everybody Wants Some", feels like your in some kind of post-industrial, frankenstein swamp land. That's part of the inspiration for the claymation dancing hamburger scene from the movie "BETTER OFF DEAD". In John Cusack's misery as a fast food cook, he imagines that the hamburger he has constructed has come to life singing like David Lee Roth. It's diabolical, heavy and comical all at the same time. Listen to the way Dave get's cut off by Ed's guitar, the first time he tries to say, "I like the way the little line runs up the back of their stockings." It has such a sense of spontaneity which has never been equaled by any of the post DLR-era releases. Built on an awesome processed riff, "And The Cradle Will Rock", recalls the adolescent adventures of VHII's, "D.O.A." Dave's humourously realistic lyrics, score with dead on social criticism. "Fools", is like a ridiculous, self-parody of DLR. There's a certain falalism to "Romeo Delight", with lyrics like, "High crime's on in the city of light's/I'm takin' my whiskey to the party tonight" "Tora! Tora!" is an intro to "Loss Of Control", which simulates a motorcycle accident and the spectacle of such a tragic death. "Loss Of Control", chugs in like a flashback to the mind of the rider before he lost his life. Again the songwriting is funny and original with a pilot suddenly crying "mayday". "Take Your Whiskey Home", further elaborates on choosing the path of self-destruction. In an old-fashioned way, "Could This Be Magic", beams with outstanding New Orleans flavored acoustic guitar work from Ed, the authentic southern bluesman vocals of DLR, and a great chorus. Roth's on-the-verge-of-laughter vocals again have a great improvised sound to them. "In A Simple Rhyme", tries to be a great song, but ends up fairly pedestrian.
Although the band sounds thrilled, there is a noticable nihilism on this album, compared to the more innocent VHII. Fair Warning would be more angry and bleak, but with less humour, before the band turned more pop on Diver Down. But the first two songs are among VH's best and make this album well-worthwhile.
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