Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Van Halen: Women and Children First [Warner Bros., 1980]
Eddie VH's quicksilver whomp earns the Hendrix comparisons, and he's no clone--he's faster, colder, more structural. David Lee Roth adds a wild-ass sophistication to the usual macho--no mortal arena singer would even think of the goofy country blues takeoff that provides the title. But the message of the music isn't the exuberance of untrammeled skill, it's the arrogance of unchallenged mastery. Without being pompous about it, which is a plus, these guys show as little feeling for their zonked, hopelessly adoring fans as Queen. They're kings of the hill and we're not. B