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Posts Tagged ‘Eddie Van Halen’

A cruel loss for music. RIP Eddie Van Halen. Though no one likes to admit it, stunt guitarists are a dime a dozen. A lot of them can play fast. A lot of them can play different styles. Given all his flash, you might be forgiven for not noticing that Van Halen was, like all great musicians, imaginative, innovative, witty, melodic and even—wait for it!—tasteful. He knew how to use noise and silence, distortion and clarity. He understood the dynamics of a song and knew that the mood and color were ultimately more important than the showboating. And in that way he was able to create his own aesthetic universe and expand upon it. It’s obnoxious to just call it metal (full disclosure, heavy metal is not my favorite genre). One of my favorite Van Halen songs, probably more for the attitude than anything else, was “Finish What Ya Started.” Why? Because it starts life as something that could be mistaken for k.d. lang song, gets VH fans tarted up for the hot signature Eddie solo, and then … bang! He wreathes them in country guitar licks. It was as if he were saying “Think I can’t play roots music? Watch me play roots music, assholes!” I always found the song hysterically funny. We’re sorry you’ve left us Eddie, but eternally grateful for what you’ve left behind.

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