The appropriately titled Van Halen II was the band’s second album released just over a year after their classic debut. Several of the songs had been kicking around from their demo days including the hard rocking “Somebody Get Me a Doctor”. David Lee Roth sounds a bit like Ozzy when he sings, “I watch my television/almost lost my mind” on “Light Up the Sky” and guitartist Eddie Van Halen continues to impress on the acoustic instrumental “Spanish Fly”.
Moody opener is a cover of “You’re No Good” that sounds like a dark alley suddenly coming alive with a guitar warm up then the drums/bass appear. Where the album really shines is on tracks that allow Diamond Dave a little bit more room to breathe. “Dance the Night Away” immediately sounds brighter than other tracks and the pre-chorus of “ooh baby baby” sets up the infectious chorus, Michael Anthony’s bass line and background singing is a driving force behind the scenes.
With much riffing on “D.O.A”, yet it still allows Roth to take the song to the next level. His vocal wordplay on “Beautiful Girls” with its “She was a seaside sittin’/just a smokin’ and a drinkin’ on ringside” is really impressive. Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony hold down a solid rhythm section throughout with the latter’s background vocals being a highlight on several tracks. It’s when the four are able to really let their personalities shine that Van Halen II really kicks up the heat.