Monday, January 9, 1984

Van Halen released 1984: January 9, 1984

Originally posted January 9, 2012.

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Van Halen’s sixth outing, 1984, “was a successful record not only because it contained solid, catchy hard rock, but also because it incorporated synthesizers into the mix, the first metal album to do so to any serious extent.” AZ However, that “hoopla…was a bit of a red herring since the band had been layering in synths since their third album, Women and Children First. Those synths were either buried beneath guitars or used as texture.” AMG

“Of course, the mere addition of a synth wasn’t enough to rope in fair-weather fans – they needed pop hooks and pop songs, which 1984 had, most gloriously on the exuberant, timeless Jump.” AMG “The synths played a circular riff that wouldn’t have sounded as overpowering on guitar, but the band didn’t dispense with their signature monolithic, pulsating rock. Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony grounded the song…and David Lee Roth simply exploded with boundless energy.” AMG It was “one of the chief reasons [1984] became a blockbuster.” AMG

Earlier albums “placed an emphasis on the band’s attack, this places an emphasis on the songs” AMG and offers “the best set of original tunes Van Halen ever had.” AMG Panama features “the band’s signature sound elevated to performance art” AMG while Hot for Teacher is “lean and giddy, their one anthem that could be credibly covered by garage rockers.” AMG

“To a large extent, it was 1984 that set the standard for ‘80s pop metal, and David Lee Roth who set the standard (or takes the blame, depending on your point of view) for the aggressively good-time attitude most pop-metal bands took for their own.” AZ He “turned the frontman role into an art form.” AMG “It’s the best showcase of Van Halen’s instrumental prowess as a band, the best showcase for Diamond Dave’s glorious shtick, the best showcase for their songwriting, just their flat-out best album overall.” AMG As Rolling Stone’s J.D. Considine said, it is “the album that brings all of Van Halen’s talents into focus.” WK


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