Van Halen For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge

Top of the World, Poundcake, Man on a Mission, Runaround, all of them. Right Now! This review is happening!

Van Halen For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album cover
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge


Tons of sweet, sweet tunes. Right Now, we are listening to them!

The critics can eat it (not the Poundcake). For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge is pretty good. Some clown on AllMusic says that Hagar's vocal power was "limited". I don't hear that at all on F.U.C.K. Oh yeah, Sammy wanted some vulgarity to the title. So this is what we ended up with.

For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge is the last album that the golden half-perm tequila baron would be featured on.

Also, one thing that really stands out about Van Halen videos is how often the lead singer changes their wardrobe, while everyone else in the band still has the same clothes on.

One thing that continues to impress me is the diversity of the songwriting in the Sammy Hagar era. Why Can't This Be Love (5150) is different than Cabo Wabo (OU812) which is different than say, Right Now. Which is clearly different than the DLR era, an era that was at its height (and end) with the release of 1984.

This album begs the question, when critics and music folks label and album as "guitar-driven", are they really just saying it's a bit bluesy?

For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge notes



Look at Sammy here, inserting culinary euphemism into rock history.

Judgement Day

If James Cameron had made T2 in the obvious 80's, instead of the authenticity-seeking early 90s, Guns 'N Roses "You Could Be Mine" might have been swapped with Van Halen's Judgement Day in T2: Judgment Day.

And you know what, the verse would have been just fine to use, it just wouldn't have had the dirt and grime that G'N'R churned out. Van Halen and G'N'R were both hard hitting, but in different ways.


Niiiiice song title.


A blues song masquerading as an uptempo pop rock tune? I can't tell. The pre-chorus is rock though.

I got her in my sights, but just out of reach!

Dig the emphasis on the pre-choral lyrics. There is a force to "I got her in my sights, but just out of reach!" There is a primacy to it.

Pleasure Dome

6:55 worth of clowning around. The intro of Pleasure Dome is exactly what happens when your singer is late to rehearsal. Except only with talent.

Pleasure Dome is also what happens when your singer actually shows and starts running his mouth on your jam.

In 'n' Out

Another niiice song title. Ok, so maybe Van Halen's second act wasn't quite as mature as we all thought or hoped it was.

Man on a Mission

Sounds a lot like Satch Boogie at times. Man on a Mission is the predecessor to Chickenfoot in our opinion.

The Dream is Over

Standard Van Hagar fare. Nothing overly special. The Dream is Over ... but a new dream is about to begin on the next track.

Right Now

Right Now, you're reading our notes on For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Right Now, you've probably forgotten all about Crystal Pepsi. Right Now, you've probably also forgotten that SNL lampooned the Crystal Pepsi commercial with the Crystal Gravy commercial.

Right Now is pretty great tune. The fact that any critic would bash it is beyond me. Sure, it's a bit formulaic. But overall, it earns its rock cred with a listenable solo, an enjoyable piano riff, and (way more than) halfway decent lyrics. According to Sammy Hagar, Right Now's lyrics represent the, "... best he ever wrote for a Van Halen song", which is saying something.

The video wasn't so bad either. Released in 1991, it won a MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year in 1992, beating out Nirvana, the Chili Peppers, and Def Leppard for the win. My how the music world changed, as the prior year had C&C Music Factory, Deee-Lite, The Divinyls, Chris Isaak, and fellow rockers Queensryche (Silent Lucidity) up for the award.

EVH noted that the underlying music of Right Now existed long before it's release in the 90s, even going so far as to appear in the 1984 film, The Wild Life - a film that Eddie himself scored alongside Donn Landee.


1:26 of EVH demonstrating his ear for melody and song structure. This is probably a random riff the band just wanted to keep.

Harmonics. Always a class move.

Top of the World

Arena rock anthem to close out For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.

Top of the World, while written by the band, features Steve Lukather on backing vocals and additional guitars. For those that don't know "Luk", he is a remarkable guitar player, songwriter, and founding member of Toto.

You know Toto from Africa. Or, maybe Rosanna. Possibly Hold the Line. Either way, Toto was bad ass.

More For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge Details

For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge Info
Release Date June 17, 1991
Length 52:06
Producer Andy Johns | Ted Templeman | Van Halen
Studio 5150 Studios
Record Label Warner Bros. |

References & Sources


Reviews of Van Halen Albums