Year 4, Day 37: Van Halen – 1984

Van Halen’s “1984” is a massive and smash hit that puts the band’s instrumental prowess on display.


Year 4, Day 37: Van Halen – 1984


Track List

  1. 1984
  2. Jump
  3. Panama
  4. Top Jimmy
  5. Drop Dead Legs
  6. Hot for Teacher
  7. I’ll Wait
  8. Girl Gone Bad
  9. House of Pain

About the Album

1984 is the sixth studio album from American rock band Van Halen. The album was recorded in 1983 and released on January 9th 1984 through Warner Bros. Records. The album has sold well over 20 million copies in the United States and is certified 10x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). 1984 reached (and peaked) at number two on the Billboard 200 (oddly enough, right behind Michael Jackson‘s Thriller).

Thoughts on the Album

We are down to the wire here on the project with the final four albums of 2016. So let’s throw it back to the 1980’s where the cheese was strong in rock (and music in general). The decade of the 80s was filled with bands releasing massive hit after hit and receiving massive radio airplay. So today’s album is none other than one of the decade’s biggest hits, Van Halen‘s 1984.

The album opens with the primer to one of the biggest rock hits of decade (Jump), with 1984. The eponymous track is more than just a spacey sounding filler track. It sets up Jump perfectly as an instrumental. The 67 second instrumental gently introduces you to the synthesizer riff of Jump. The result was a four-plus minute massive rock hit that is nothing more than pure pop/rock bliss. Jump is a massive arena rocker that can still be heard throughout sports stadiums and arenas everywhere. The emphasis of the track is less on the guitar and more on the synth riff.

Jump is immediately followed up by the equally impressive Panama. While Jump draws on the more pop sound of the decade, Panama brings it right back to the rock. It’s a straight-up rocker. Compared to classic Van Halen rockers, Ain’t Talking About Love and The Cradle Will RockPanama stacks up incredibly well. Of course, then there is Hot for Teacher, one of the band’s most recognizable single/music video. The track builds with a sense of urgency until it releases that energy in explosive choruses.

Drop Dead Legs is a track that is driven by some gritty hard rock guitar chords and some pounding bass drum stomps. Driven by both of those and colored with the group’s seemingly effortless harmonies. I’ll Wait, the second single from the album was co-written by Michael MacDonald. It is a pulsing track rife with prominent keys and Rototom drums, along with a synthesized bass line. The album closes with the metallic sheen of House of Pain.


1984 puts the instrumental prowess of Van Halen on display. It s arguably the best showcase for the band’s songwriting ability. Hell, it may just be the band’s best album period. Complete with 1980s cheese rock, pop hooks, and  1984 is a product of the decade; which is not necessarily a bad thing. Van Halen‘s 1984 is a colossal commercial success, as well as a massive music success.

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