Everybody wants some Van Halen! But if you dare to rank their songs, you’re asking for trouble.
Just one day after author/critic Chuck Klosterman’s gargantuan list of every Van Halen song ranked from worst to best was released, radio host Eddie Trunk and his listeners responded just as passionately. If you want to listen in on this heated debate, simply hit “play” on the video at the bottom of this page.
During the Wednesday, September 6th episode of Sirius/XM’s ‘Trunk Nation’ Trunk spent a good chunk of air time discussing Klosterman’s recent article “All 131 Van Halen Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best” from Vulture. He took several calls from listeners who threw out their personal favorite VH track to find out where it landed on Klosterman’s list. Trunk then read Klosterman’s comments on the tracks which lead to some interesting reactions from the veteran radio host.
Trunk was pleasantly surprised to find out that one of his favorite Van Halen tracks “In A Simple Rhyme” from 1980’s ‘Women & Children First’ was ranked #14 on Klosterman’s list.
“Ooooh! I was going back [down the list for that song]. I like that,” said Trunk. “I agree with it as being one of their greatest songs.”
While Trunk was on the same page as Klosterman when it came to some of his song rankings and descriptions there were other times he wasn’t. In fact, he was on a different book. Take the 1986 hit single from ‘5150’ “Dreams” for example. Klosterman ranked the song at #38 and referred to Sammy Hagar’s vocal performance as merely “good”. It was a critique Trunk took great exception to.
“A good vocal performance? Are you serious? ‘Dreams’ Van Halen? That is an off-the-charts, unbelievable vocal performance,” said Trunk. “That’s way beyond good. Sammy sings that into the stratosphere.”
Trunk was also surprised to see how high Klosterman ranked some of the band’s lower-charting songs including the 1988 ‘OU812’ track “Cabo Wabo” at #12 and 1997’s “Human’s Being” at #15.
“I like ‘Humans Being’, I don’t know if I’d have it as the 15th best Van Halen song of all time,” said Trunk.
As for Klosterman choosing “Eruption” as Van Halen’s greatest song, Trunk wondered whether it can be considered an actual “song” let alone the band’s greatest song.
“This is controversial because who knows if it really is a song?” said Trunk. “We had a big debate about that when we did the Top 20 on Van Halen. Is ‘Eruption’ its own song? Is it part of ‘You Really Got Me’?”
Trunk had no second thoughts when it came to Klosterman picking Van Halen’s 1986 #2 single from ‘5150’ “Why Can’t This Be Love” as being the band’s worst song:
“I have a problem with [this pick] ‘cuz I love this song,” said Trunk. “I love it and it was the first time we heard Sammy Hagar with Van Halen but, shockingly, [Klosterman] ranks the worst Van Halen song ever as ‘Why Can’t This Be Love’. I do not put ‘Why Can’t This Be Love’ anywhere near the bottom of the list.”
Listen to the entire segment below:
You can hear Trunk Nation on Sirius/XM’s “Volume” channel (Channel 106) every weekday from 2- p.m. Eastern. Visit EddieTrunk.com for more info, or subscribe here.