1984

Van Halen

I've got it bad, I've got it bad, I've got it bad, I'm hot for Van Halen's 1984 (album).

Darth Vader from the Planet Vulcan approves of Van Halen's Sixth Album: 1984.

What else is there to say? Van Halen’s 1984 is/was incredible.

When I hear the term “Big Three”, this is what I think of:

Ok ok, the 2008 Celtics count as well with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen.

1984 Album Cover

While Van Halen had many, many great album covers, the actual avatar of Van Halen graces the cover of their 1984 album, uhh, 1984. This little winged cherub is rippin’ what could be a pack of Kool’s on the album cover. Diamond Dave, EVH, Alex, and Michael Anthony are showing the world that even babies are corrupt on the Sunset Strip.

Long live LA!

Rating

I give a 910

Van Halen 1984 album cover
The son of the Sunset Strip

1984 track listing

  1. 1984
  2. Jump
  3. Panama
  4. Top Jimmy
  5. Drop Dead Legs
  6. Hot For Teacher
  7. I’ll Wait
  8. Girl Gone Bad
  9. House Of Pain

1984 notes

1984

Synth heaven!

Jump

The best synth intro ever. Ever.

Van Halen’s Jump is one of the first few songs I could ever remember loving. I mean truly loving. It throttles the fun to 11. Jump is a feelgood fiasco.

Might as well Jump! JUMP!

Michael Anthony might be, sorry, might have been the best part of Van Halen. Sure, Eddie dual threats Jump with his trademark guitar work and a ripping keyboard attack, but VH’s unsung hero is Anthony’s backing vocals.

Always was, always has been.

Panama

The Party Band lays down the party song. Literally. Panama itself is interested in partying. Zero discipline.

One of the most distinctive rock riffs in the whole Van Halen discography.

Love the throttle squeezes.

AIN’T NO STOPPING NOWWWWWWWW!

PANAMA!!!

Top Jimmy

What is Top Jimmy the king of?

Bad horsie style guitar kicks off the solo. Imagine composing these solos? Who thinks up this stuff!?

Drop Dead Legs

Of course Diamond Dave starts Drop Dead Legs by repeating the title.

Drop Dead Legs sounds like a song that is already drunk, as opposed to the usual VH fare of actively seeking the party. It swirls, it stumbles, it incoherently rambles a bit, all the tell-tale signs of someone on the sauce.

Not the best VH song, but not the worst. And, if their intent was to write a song from the perspective of being tuned up already, then color me impressed.

Hot For Teacher

Hot For Teacher is ZZ Top song sitting at the peak of California corn flakes mountain.

Musically, it’s many things. For starters, the drums are legit. Alex Van Halen kicks the jam off with a double bass drum shuffle, revving up the VH Motorcycle. Speaking of legit, the two-hand tapping is bodacious. Mix those ingredients together, sprinkle Diamond Dave on top, and enjoy.

A video that every kid born from 1968-1980 remembers.

Hot For Teacher has a legit drum part that you remember.

Michael Anthony’s vocals back on display.

I’ll Wait

Synth that would make the Protomen proud. I’ll Wait called in the big guns on the songwriting in the evolved form of Yacht Rocker Michael McDonald.

Like the 1984 Album Cover, the picture sells.

If you layered just the music of Van Halen’s I’ll Wait over a few key scenes in a Rocky movie, I don’t think anyone would notice.

Girl Gone Bad

Here is what Chuck Klosterman (author of Fargo Rock City) has to say about Girl Gone Bad:

“Do not discount Van Halen as a band who could only write about women who became porn stars; as evidenced here, they were equally proficient at writing about women who became prostitutes. There’s a sexy gallop to this track. Eddie and Alex are completely locked in, almost as if they’ve been doing this their whole life, which of course they have.”

And we gotta admit, he has a point.

As for Eddie and Alex, they are completely locked in. I think one part Klosterman neglects to mention is Michael Anthony being locked in with them. In tribute to Pants, and Jack Daniels of course, Anthony’s bass work is some of the best the world has ever seen. Not necessarily because he is the best bass player ever, but because he understood how to magnificently fill the space between EVH and brother Alex.

As for the lyrical content and Diamond Dave’s shimmying, Klosterman is spot on. One question I have is, “Are they really concerned that the girl gone bad?”

I don’t think Van Halen is. At least not 1984 VH. The Hagar era might have a thing to say about it.

House Of Pain

Deep Thoughts, Jack Handy style. Rapper/Musician Everlast was listening to VH’s 1984 and directly thieved his whole claim to fame. He put the album on, heard the synth glory of 1984, followed by the intro to Jump. He then get out of his seat, due to the excitement, and proceeded to Jump around in joy from the sheer excellence of this album. He then decided that he would be a musician. Somewhere between I’ll Wait and Girl Gone Bad he got to thinking, hey, if I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna need a name.

And there it was … House Of Pain.

As for Van Halen’s House Of Pain, it’s a bad ass tune. Great riffage, rough and tough lyrics, House Of Pain is a speeding train that remains on the rails.