eMusic Review 0
One can only imagine how bewildering it was to hear 1984 in 1984: After years of playing its fret-fucking Beelzebub boogie, Van Halen opened its sixth album with the jarring title track—a synth instrumental so thick and lunar that, by the end, you half-expected Carl Sagan to show up and start explaining aurora borealis. 1984 was the first VH release to flaunt Eddie Van Halen’s keyboard skills, and while his newfound toy appeared on only a few tracks, it provided the pop glint necessary to turn Van Halen from festival-packing hard-rock act into an MTV-borne shiny machine.
This is largely due to "Jump," a canny assimilation of Prince’s dense electric grooves and Springsteen’s average-joe pleading; it worked at discotechques and dive bars alike, yielding the group its first No. 1 single. "Panama" and "Hot for Teacher" followed, both propelled by cheery harmonies, dopey locker-room talk, and guitar solos that no doubt kept the music-tablature biz going for years. 1984 closes with "Girl Gone Bad" and "House of Pain," two rough-hewn throwbacks that proved to be not only Roth’s outro music (he high-kicked his way out of the band in 1985) but also the last traces of the teasing menace Van Halen… read more »