9 January 2013

9th Jan - Van Halen's 1984

Artist – Album: Van Halen - 1984
Released:  9th January 1984
Sounds Like: It came from 1984... duh.

Van Halen really didn’t need to name their sixth album 1984 – it is pretty obvious from what era this record belongs. The prominent use of synths, the endless barrage of guitar licks and tricks, not to mention the perm-mullets no doubt sported by all individuals within a 12 mile radius of the group at the time; this album is as 80’s as a shiny, white pair of Reebok Pumps or Brat Pack-tastic movie The Breakfast Club.

Those synths don’t waste a second in introducing themselves, as though they were a secret that the boys were just bursting to tell us. The album starts, in fact, with a synth solo: the instrumental 1984; which leads straight into the colossal mega-hit Jump, a song I personally rate amongst my top three suicide-inducing songs of all time.

After the opening two tracks the keys are laid to rest for a bit while the band get back to doing what they do best – partying on dude! Panama, Top Jimmy and Hot for Teacher are all arena rock anthems in the classic mould, with shout-a-long choruses, blistering guitar solos and a bombastic rhythm section all doing the business. Synths again rear their ugly head on I’ll Wait, before the set closes with two of it’s heaviest and best songs.

I was born in 1988 and, by the time I got into music, grunge had washed away all but the most stubborn traces of hair metal and hard rock. Subsequently, I find it hard to like an album like this. There are definitely good points to be found but, as a whole, I just don’t like it. Consign it to Room 101.

Albumaday... rating:   6/10

1.       1984 – 1:07
2.       Jump – 4:04
3.       Panama – 3:32
4.       Top Jimmy – 2:59
5.       Drop Dead Legs – 4:14
6.       Hot for Teacher – 4:42
7.       I’ll Wait – 4:41
8.       Girl Gone Bad – 4:35
9.       House of Pain – 3:19

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