Van Halen’s 1984 Features Masterful Shredding

Larz Ostrander, Staff writer

Van Halen is one of the few bands who make hair metal actually cool. After Eddie Van
Halen played Eruption for the first time, anybody else who played a guitar solo over a high
pitched power scream sounded tacky and lame. Van Halen’s 6th studio album; 1984, was the
peak of their reign as the biggest rock band of the time. Van Halen released some of their most
memorable hits on this album, with the typical masterful shredding of Eddie Van Halen, but in
this record they lean more on synth-pop influence than earlier works like Van Halen I.
A standout track to me is the track Panama. This is a song we’ve all heard before, being
one of Van Halen’s most popular songs. EVH’s guitar work on this song is brilliant as usual on
this song, it’s at its best when the other instruments stop and it slows down with a quiet slide riff
that slowly gets louder and louder before the last chorus. This song has been used in countless
movies, and there is no denying the cultural impact that it has.
Another song that caught my attention was the song I’ll Wait. This song focuses a lot on
the synth and less on the guitar solos. This song is just a very catchy pop song. The build up in
the beginning gets you invested right away, and keeps you hooked when the synth drops. It’s
about waiting for a girl he fancies’ relationship to end so he can swoop in and have her. Typical
80s song made for dancing but is actually a little creepy if you listen to the lyrics. But it’s ok
because nobody does it like Van Halen.
All in all, this album is a 7/10. This album compared to their albums of the past is much
more accessible to a broader audience, with the songs being a little simpler and catchier and not
just guitar nerdery. Very solid album indeed.