Space age synthesiser sound waves pierce the air with shrill and bassy tones that weave into each other and back again in a delicious and sonically pleasant symphony of oddity. The instantly recognisable intro riff to Jump flies from the moment's pause and begins the album proper. The keyboard melody leaps in skipping beats while Dave Lee Roth sings the familiar verses. We wait for the middle eight where Eddie Van Halen struts his stuff before moving over to keyboard flurries to drive the music into the second phase of the song.
Panama reveals some quality power chord progressions and a driving riff that does more than swing the beat, it dances around like a sprite in the mists of cymbal and a happy go lucky vocal delivery. Some references to motorcycling in hot weather brings a slightly greasy but sexy sentiment towards the end of the track. The following guitar harmonics demonstrate an air of proficiency that few could establish, and the fast paced licks to a double time drum that proceed them just melt like butter over the hot potato of a song.
Continual guitar volleys pace out the verse chorus structure that revolves around rock, blue, and pop style structures. The virtuoso element of Van Halen gives the otherwise fairly tame sound something with a kick, and in a similar way to Guns n Roses, the style remains traditional but takes a new perspective on what a guitar can be used for in a song. Slower paced Drop Dead Legs rounds off the original side A of the classic recording, leaving the classic Hot For Teacher to ring in the start of side B.
With two singles a piece on both sides of the album, the record sales were astronomically high, with over ten million internationally sold. The popular sound of the frantic guitar and clean but slightly innuendo led vocal lines brings the bread, it's fun, dance ready, and totally rock n roll. With five previous albums made before this one, it shows that time and effort pay off when crafting a sound. It was perhaps the pinnacle of the Van Halen career, as Dave Lee Roth decided to move onto other things after the success of 1984. It wasn't until 2012 when he returned to re-establish the legacy left by this monumental band. Perhaps he left it too late?
This website is made possible thanks to the generous support of its readers. Thank you for your contribution.