Tuesday, April 01, 2008

537. Van Halen - 1984 (1984)

Track Listing

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


From the cover image to the exquisiteness of the music to the themes all here just has the pervading scent of classiness. The Orwellian album title is little more than an amuse bouche for the smorgasbord of pleasures to be found inside.

From the harrowing Panama, focusing on the workers at the construction of the canal, to the Vonnegutian House Of Pain (a thinly veiled tribute to Slaughterhouse 5) to the sensitive exploration of the adolescent crushes possibly experienced by the band in Hot For Teacher passing by the tribute to Samuel Beckett's most famous play in I'll Wait, this is the peak of intellectual lyric writing in modern music.

Just a pearl waiting to be discovered, like so many out there, unfortunately unfamiliarity with the work of Count Edward Van Halen has led to this never being more than an underground hit amongst the more literati pipe smokers in their gentleman's clubs. Try it.

Track Highlights

1. Jump
2. Hot For Teacher
3. Panama
4. Girl Gone Bad

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Though the 1st of April appears to have been observed as a general festival in Great Britain in antiquity, it was apparently not until the beginning of the 18th century that the making of April-fools was a common custom. In Scotland the custom was known as "hunting the gowk," i.e. the cuckoo, and April-fools were "April-gowks," the cuckoo being a term of contempt, as it is in many countries.

One of the earliest connections of the day with fools is Chaucer's story the Nun's Priest's Tale (c.1400), which concerns two fools and takes place "thritty dayes and two" from the beginning of March, which is April 1. The significance of this is difficult to determine.



Anonymous said...

Personally, I found the overall theme to be more Kafka-esque and the Orwellian allusions merely just a cover.

Francisco Silva said...

I will be sure to add your thoughts to the article I am preparing for the 'Van Haleian Studies Journal'.

You make a pertinent point.

Anonymous said...

This one made me laugh. Good work.