1984 review by Van Halen

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  • Released: Jan 9, 1984
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.5 (44 votes)
Van Halen: 1984

Sound — 10
From the moment you hear the overwhelming but calming wave of Eddie's synthesizer, you know that the new step into a modern generation of keyboard-based music has begun. Van Halen's 1984 is the single-greatest compilation of all styles the great band has ever gone through. Eddie's brown sound is crisp, loud, and filled with emotion. Alex's double bass creates a stronger and wilder beat to fit to each and every song. David's vocals are definitely improved and yet he has not changed from the usual formula of party-based lyrics. Michael Anthony's backing vocals are still on key, as is his basslines though they are never very complex or noticable. All in all, Eddie's new keyboard-based songs mixed with some songs with classic taste (House of Pain) fit into the perfect Van Halen album.

Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are just as you'd expect, but this time around they can be juggled around. Jump, developed after Roth saw a man on TV about to commit suicide, is the fun filled synthesized song of the album, and definitely brought the band onto radio play. However, Hot for Teacher, about a childhood crush on a teacher, had a familiar flavor bringing back songs about girls. Panama, surprisingly, is about a car though the lyrics can sound as if they pertain to a girl. House of Pain and Girl Gone Bad, are personally the instrumental-heavy songs with powerful solos that Eddie never unleashed before. Drop Dead Legs, though catchy, was probably the most missed song though lyrics are well in place here, and I'll Wait was the least rock-heavy song of all while the lyrics were clever and more meaningful. Overall, MOST of the lyrics were fun, catchy, and somewhat unique in the band's archive.

Overall Impression — 10
Van Halen was the most successful band of the 80s, and this is their jewel in the crown. Second to Thriller, 1984 packed the guitar-crazy, fast paced music while surging the new keyboard craze which filled the rest of the 80s songs. Each song was a succinct but powerful statement of who they are, and though it bid DLR farewell, it reminded us of how great each member was when together. Although the zenith of improvement, 1984 lacked a full-fledged guitar solo from Eddie Van Halen, who juxtaposed a "eruption" with keyboard-solo "1984". If it were stolen, I would buy it again remastered to get the full experience in better quality.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I like the "jamming feel" that they have on their albums. It sounds like live in studio. One take and that's it! No guitar doublings or anything!