Album Review: Van Halen, 'A Different Kind of Truth'

79 Billboard Rating

VAN HALEN
Tattoo (4:43)
Interscope

Van Halen's first new song with David Lee Roth in more than 15 years finds the group putting its stamp back on the music world -- er, make that its tramp stamp. "Tattoo," the first single from the group's upcoming album "A Different Kind of Truth," gets its ink on as Roth -- over a meaty, stomping blues-rock groove -- lets us know he's got "Elvis on my elbow," as well as the socially conscious number of his uncle's union chapter on his shoulder, and he slings enough lingo (Swap Meet Sally, trampstamp cat, mousewife and momshell) to let us know he's seen at least a few episodes of "L.A. Ink." Roth also lets loose with a signature "Woo!" and delivers a spoken section, while the song's title is used as a funky chorus chant. The best news for fans, however, is that Eddie Van Halen delivers a killer solo -- as razor-sharp and on-form as one could hope -- reprising some of the licks with some lightning soloing at the end of the song. If Van Halen was looking to show off its return to recording virility, the group can wear "Tattoo" proudly.

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