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First there was Diamond Dave, and we loved him. But all too soon Sammy the Putz took over. And while some of you kind of liked him, that just made the rest of us really hate you. Then, miraculously, it seemed our favorite Vegas showman was returning, ready to grin and groan like it was 1984 all over again. Sadly, it was all a setup, another steel-toed kick in the chops not even the staunchest supporter could withstand. Now reports say former Extreme greaseball Gary Cherone will take the VH lead. Unbelievable. With the exception of Valerie Bertinelli, Eddie Van Halen hasn’t made a good decision since 1978. Warning: Only buy Best of Van Halen: Volume I if you just gotta hear the new songs recorded with David Lee Roth, both of which sound like outtakes from 1984. Dave growls, hoots, and hollers on each, but only manages a hint of the former animal during “Can’t Get This Stuff No More,” a long, grinding ode to hedonism that never takes off. “Me Wise Magic” is actually the better of the two, with a wide-open chorus that explodes behind Eddie’s best riffing in years. But DLR gets more than a little help from the digital age on this one, sounding at times like a horny Speak ‘n’ Spell. The rest of the compilation is just too much Sammy, not enough Dave. Notable absences include “Everybody Wants Some!,” “Jamie’s Cryin’,” “Pretty Woman,” and “Hot for Teacher.” VH should have released two volumes: one of DLR hits, and another with Hagar and, for marketing reasons, the new tracks. Instead, this incomplete collection is a tainted reminder of good old days gone very, very bad.

—Sean Daly