Van Halen 1984 Song-By-Song Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Zoot Marimba, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    While @Huntigula was originally going to do this album, he's been MIA for a couple weeks, and I want to get this started while the momentum is still there, so we will go for it. But before we kick things off, here are some ground rules:
    1. Please Keep Discussions to the song at hand or songs that have already been covered.
    2.Please elaborate your thoughts on each song, if simply because this leads to more fruitful discussions.

    Also, I'd love to hear how you found this album, what your initial impressions were, etc.
  2. Wes_in_va

    Wes_in_va Trying to live up to my dog’s expectations

    Southwest VA
    Looking forward to this. This was one of my first concerts and I have fond memories of it and the album
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  3. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    How I Discovered This Album
    The first song I heard off this album and from Van Halen was Jump, when it was playing in a movie, and I though it was fine enough. At around 12, I got the first Van Halen album for Christmas, and I just had to get the others, going bit by bit, and this was the second or third that I got. How do I feel about it now? Well.....


    We start the album with the title track, a brief synth-driven instrumental, which serves as a showcase for Eddie Van Halen's keyboard playing, which is kind of like showcasing Michael Jordan's baseball playing. And honestly, this track is kind of pointless, I could take or leave it, nowhere near as good as all the previous instrumentals, I have to side with Diamond Dave and Ted here, but it leads into......
    Jump, the big hit that everybody knows, easily this album's Signature Song, as well as Van Halen's only number one song on the Billboard Hot 100, spending five weeks there. This is believed to have started on a tour bus around '79 or '80, and it was just bounced around s it didn't really have a place on the current Van Halen albums, and of course, Dave and producer Ted Templeman both voiced their objections to keyboard songs. Anyway, this was the second song recorded in the 5150 Studios, the first being a cover of In The Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett, which has yet to be covered.
    Anyway, Eddie kicks the tune off on his synths, which have aged like milk, with Alex laying down a solid pocket, although I certainly miss the more organic drum sound from the early records, but in fairness, it's nowhere near as bad as the next album. Dave coming at :28, and he has that cool, cocky demeanor that he always does, carrying this song with his usual confidence and swagger, he really is the best thing about this song, cause he took what is basically a Van Hagar song and make it....not too Van Hagar. We get a strong guitar solo from Eddie at 2:16, and then a synth solo at 2:31, which I can't lie, is actually cool.
    This is a pretty devisive song among Van Halen songs. Me? Well, there are good parts (mostly Dave's contributions), not so good parts(mostly Eddie), So I give it two and a half out of five.
  4. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

  5. Juggsnelson

    Juggsnelson Senior Member

    Long Island
    I remember an older kid who I thought was cool playing the cassette on his boom box. He asked if I liked Van Halen and I said sure! To test my knowledge of the band he asked me whether or not the song "1984" had lyrics. I remember thinking that this was a most odd question, so obviously it must not have lyrics! We were solid friends from that moment on. As for Jump, it is catchy and a cool track. I really enjoy the song a lot more when it is accompanied by the music video. Dave's dancing cracks me up. Swinging his leg over Michael Anthony's head, rubbing the mic stand on his ass as he spins around, the backwards video footage of him doing a flip.....entertaining stuff. I prefer the bands more rocking efforts but this song kind of blended the rock with the pop pretty flawlessly. I still really like it and crank it up. As far as the "message" of the got me.
  6. Sanguinus

    Sanguinus Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ
    I've always found Van Halen kind of lacking in comparison to the guitarists and general bands that were active back in the late '70s (Blackmore in Rainbow and Deep Purple and Roth in Scorpions being the obvious comparisons). I'd like to revisit this one though.
  7. kanno1ae

    kanno1ae Forum Resident

    Dallas, Texas, USA
    I've never really thought of "1984" (the track) as a "showcase for Eddie's keyboard playing." I thought it was cool sounding at the time, and it still serves as a nice "heads up" that the album is going to be full of synthesizers.

    "Jump" is a good song, and it has certainly had a lot of longevity. You could tell they were really trying to win over mainstream audiences, and it worked. A good song to kick off the album.
  8. BDC

    BDC Forum Resident

    Jump is probably my least favorite Van Halen song to this point in their evolution. I can tolerate it, but there's too much good music in the world for spending time on this mindless exercise. There were worse songs on the radio at the time.
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  9. Fonz

    Fonz Forum Resident

    1984 was/is strange as an album opener, but I like it. A slightly austere, unflashy piece, before the very poppy flash of ‘Jump’.

    As for Jump, it’s good fun, and fun to play in a band. Everyone knows it; everyone jumps!

    A victim of overexposure, like the other singles on this album.
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  10. tinnox

    tinnox Forum Resident

    I was a fan already and waiting for the next release after Diver Down. Their are some really good deep tracks on 1984.
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  11. erickana666

    erickana666 Forum Resident

    montreal, canada
    1984 is for favorite Roth/vh album.
    Jump i i know maybe we heard it too much, but when i was young i really like the video with eddie smiling all the times. I have all the albums of VH, maybe im not a super fan, the first albums i like half of it, its not metal, cool hard rocks sometimes, great solos, but i hate the songs like oce cream man etc.... for van halen , i like the singles, and some songs that they play live. The first album is a must, but the rest for me its a hit and a miss. I started to collect their albums during the Balance era, so balance is really overrated by me, i even like 3 with the singer of extreme !
    favorites songs from 1984 : ill wait, jump, hot for teachet, top jimmy, panama. The rest i dont really care sorry.
  12. 16s

    16s Forum Resident

    1984 was my first Van Halen album. I was 13yrs old. 5150 had already been released and i had heard Why cant this be... on the radio a few times but i had dismissed it as "soft rock" at a time when Iron Maiden and Dio were my thing. A friend at school (a really good guitarist even at 13!) lent me both 1984 and Eat 'em and Smile to listen to. WOOOOOOOOOW! I remember hearing both for the first time on my little Philips stereo. The synth intro of 1984 is so big, so spacey; it drew me straight in and from there into the very catchy,very singable Jump! - i was hooked ( I didn't even know how amazing Ed was as a guitarist at this point- I had an amazing musical ahead of me!!) ...oh and opening of Yankee Rose with Dave chatting to Vai's talking guitar was equally mind blowing.

    Compared to Diver Down, where I always think VH had to fill it with covers because things were drying up creatively; 1984 comes back soooo strong. I like every song on the album. There are no covers and for me there is no filler. It feels like a really strong album and IMO doesn't sound like the precursor to Van Hagar.
  13. GodShifter

    GodShifter Negative Creep®

    Dallas, TX, USA
    Lacking in comparison to guitarists in the late 70's how? Technique? Rhythm playing? Edward has always incorporated a unique technique due to his penchant for tapping, but I assure you he's just as talented as Blackmore or Roth in terms of overall dexterity and he's a better rhythm player than either one of those guys. Don't get me wrong, Roth is one of favorite guitarists in rock, but he's not the innovator that Edward Van Halen is. Ritchie Blackmore might be, though. But to say Van Halen 'lacks' in the guitar department is a pretty ludicrous statement in that Eddie is probably one of the most influential guitarists in rock. Top five in my opinion.
  14. GodShifter

    GodShifter Negative Creep®

    Dallas, TX, USA
    As to the album at hand: 1984

    How did I get into this album? I bought it the day it came out just like I bought all the Van Halen albums before it. I'm not sure if I had heard "Jump" as a single before the album came out, but my memory (vague as it is as an old man now) was that I had not. I remember excitedly opening the album and putting it on my turntable of the stereo in my room. The wash of synths start up and I'm like o_O and thinking, "surely this is going to move into something better". It never did! Clearly, Eddie had been champing at the bit to incorporate more keys into the band's sound since even the 2nd album, but that idea had been shelved. By the time of 1984 the band was huge and he had carte blanche to do whatever he wanted and "Jump" was it. It wasn't in my wheelhouse. To this day, I still don't like the song.
  15. SizzleVonSizzleton

    SizzleVonSizzleton The Last Yeti

    1984 was the first Van Halen album I owned and I would have got it in the summer of 1984 because we were on vacation in Surrey British Columbia visiting my grandparents. My brother and I walked to the mall and I bought it on vinyl (which I still have in a box). I brought it back and I wasn't allowed to use my uncle's (who lived with my grandparents) stereo so my grandma put it on for me. She promptly dragged the needle across the entire record.

    Anyway, I still get an actual visceral feeling when I hear the 1984 keyboard intro. It may be the most evocative piece of music I own for taking me back to that age and that era; I turned 13 that summer.

    Prior to that, Runnin' With the Devil is the only Van Halen song I remember knowing. So even now I'd have to rank 1984 first overall despite totally understanding the argument for any of the others except for Diver Down. You just won't hear a lot of complaints from me about the album.

    So 1984/Jump. Like I said the short intro is gold to my ears and probably all the more so for being brief. Sure I've told myself I'd like to hear Eddie's hour long noodling but 1.07 gets the job done.

    And Jump? I loved it from the start. I was 13, wasn't aware of the guitar god past of the band and ripe for some cheesy 80's L.A. rock to come for years. So being keyboard based didn't phase me in the least. In retrospect I can't say the guitar solo is one of my favorites and when I finally found out it was in two pieces it made it distracting from then on. But it doesn't ruin the song or anything.
  16. BluesOvertookMe

    BluesOvertookMe Forum Resident

    Seabrook, TX, USA
    How I Discovered This Album

    I was in high school at this time and we had waited ALMOST TWO YEARS for the next Van Halen record to follow Diver Down which most of us at the time liked about half of.

    Right after getting back from Christmas break my friend John told me that VH had an new album out (but he thought the album was named Jump). I went to my neighborhood record store but they didn't have the album out yet, but they DID have the 45 of Jump. I'll talk more about my specific thoughts when we get to those songs.

    Initially I liked the full album when I got it, but still found it a little lacking. I actually think my enjoyment of 1984 has improved over the years.
  17. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Forum Resident

    The Southwest
    How I discovered this album? Acquired it in the spring of 1984 on the heels of "Jump." Played the vinyl cover to cover, over and over throughout the spring and summer.

    Loved "Jump" from the start. Loved the production, the keyboard melody and vocal. Great layers of instrumentation. I was not a VH aficionado in 1984, so I was not familiar with the polarizing nature of the song's production and heavy keyboard approach. 34 years later, the lyrical content of the song comes across as a bit ridiculous, but musically, I still enjoy the song very much.
  18. Black Thumb

    Black Thumb Yah Mo B There

    Reno, NV
    I vividly remember when 1984 came out.

    I was in the Air Force in Biloxi MS, fresh out of Basic Training (aka boot camp). As such, my class was only allowed off base for a few hours on the weekend.

    Of course, new albums came out on Tuesday back then. Over the weekend we tried cajoling the local record stores to let us buy it early ... no dice.

    Monday, the guy at the base exchange was like "get outta here!". Finally, Tuesday night we had it! On cassette! My dorm-mate put his copy in his ginormous boombox, hit play, and here came the synth.

    "Jump" was already all over the radio, so it wasn't entirely a shock, but I was still like "oh oh".

    Then the training advisor came in and told us to turn it down, so we retired to our Walkmans.

    Luckily our restrictions would be gone by the end of the month ... at which time the band was coming to town ...
  19. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    The ATX
    1984 - Some uneventful synth noodling, not a very promising opening

    Jump - a lame synth pop single. Because this was the lead single off the album, I did not buy it right away. Very offputting. It wasn’t until I later heard “Panama” on the radio, that I felt reassured enough to plunk down for it.

    I guess I’ve softened a bit on “Jump” over the years, but it is far from a favorite.
  20. TexasBuck

    TexasBuck Forum Resident

    Dallas, TX
    "Diver Down" was my first VH album and I had gone back and bought the older ones by the time "1984" was coming out. I was huge into VH at the time. I had heard several songs before "1984" actually came out and had convinced myself, this would be the greatest album EVER.

    Given those expectations, I was disappointed when I bought "1984". I'd already somewhat tired of the songs I loved because I had taped them off the radio and wore them out. There's also a clunker later in the album that I hadn't heard before.

    Overall, I'm a fan of the album. Some of the album tracks have held up pretty well over the years, as have some of the hits. Diver Down showed signs that the band was near the bottom of their bag of tricks. The band sounds revitalized on "1984" although, I'm not as fond of the direction as I am with "Women And Children First" or "Fair Warning".

    1984/Jump - Catchy for sure. Unmistakably "80's". I've never been a huge fan of this one but I don't dislike it. I think the verses are better than the chorus. The solo is vintage Eddie. I also like the choppy rhythm guitar playing Eddie does at the end of the song. The video is fantastic and adds personality to the song.
  21. yarbles

    yarbles Too sick to pray

    Another automatic purchaser here, even after Diver Down :laugh:.

    Initially, 1984 was a totally unique listening experience for me, because when it came out, my amp had recently blown up - playing Hang 'Em High, funnily enough - but I bought it on the day of release regardless...because, just like Christine 16, that day I knew, I knew, I had to have it, I had to have it :drool:, for the first and last time, I listened to an album without amplification, lying on the floor with my ear next to the tone arm, trying to get some basic idea of what it sounded like! :crazy:Played the whole damn thing, but just about all I could hear was the hiss of cymbals, the occasional part of an EVH solo, and HFT sounded quite fast, but beyond that, nothing. Had to wait a couple of days before I could make it across town to play it at my mates' house. They weren't big VH fans, but we all loved it on 1st spin, on top of which I was yugely relieved that they'd redeemed themselves after the previous joke of an album.

    1984/Jump was fine, never had a problem with that because it wasn't a hit over here until some time later iirc. There's a track coming up later that I've never liked and is probably the worst Van Dave song ever, but I'll trash that when the time comes :edthumbs:
  22. scribbs

    scribbs Resident Mockery

    Van Halen goes Orwellian? Hmmm, maybe. For me, Jump was certainly a signpost in popular music. They heyday of new wave was definitely history at that point, and it seemed like rock was looking for somewhere to go. And apparently that place had a lot of synthesizers.
  23. yarbles

    yarbles Too sick to pray

    Probably top 5 for me, definitely top 10. The only issue I've ever had with EVH is that although his technique is impeccable, and undoubtedly as influential as Hendrix's had been a decade earlier, his solos rarely spoke to me on anything approaching an emotional level - unlike, say, Jimi, Jimmy, Rory and Gilmour. Maybe that's what @Sanguinus was getting at, idk..?
  24. Jeff Kent

    Jeff Kent Forum Resident

    Mt. Kisco, NY
    1984 was one of the first albums (cassettes) I bought with my own money, I was 13 It was also the beginning of the video era (for me anyway) and I remember being captivated/appalled/confused by it. Not long after the album, I ordered a 3/4 sleeve baseball jersey from an ad in either Circus or Hit Parader. I thought I was bad ass. I knew who Van Halen was, but didn't know a lot about them. I know everyone was wondering why EVH was doing keyboard solos. It just bothered me that in the video the keyboard was dusty.

  25. GodShifter

    GodShifter Negative Creep®

    Dallas, TX, USA

    I can think of numerous solos that Edward has laid down that have had a huge impact on me. If people dismiss him as a bunch of tapping and messy guitar pyrotechnics then they aren’t listening very closely. It’s easy to hold the older vanguard of guitarists in awe and opine that they did everything better, but the truth is Edward Van Halen is right up there with anybody who played rock guitar. I think he’s a musical genius. That cannot be said for many players.

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