Crawdaddy! Magazine featured Van Halen’s 1984 in their latest “Weakest Cut” column. A fun read, but they made the mortal sin of declaring “Drop Dead Legs” the weakest cut. Blasphemy! Any VH fan worth their salt knows “Drop Dead Legs” is nothing short of a slice of heaven…
The Weakest Cut: 1984
By: James Greene Jr.
Our musical heritage is littered with albums deemed “classic” and “essential.” Yet can any one album, even the most highly-touted or beloved, truly be flawless? I say no. Welcome to The Weakest Cut, a weekly feature in which the least important, interesting, cohesive, or artistically integral song on a specific album will be singled out and discussed at length.
I really run the gamut emotionally with 1984. The title track and “Jump” both instill a sense of wonder, inspiration, and the vague notion that, somehow, things will always get better. “Panama” and “Hot For Teacher”, on the other hand, make me want to have vicious, unprotected sex with the nearest inanimate object. Then there’s “I’ll Wait”, a song that stirs up romantic consternation for a girl I have not seen since “Northern Exposure” was still on the air and never fails to mentally return me to the moment I first found solace in those panged waves of synth (I was traveling down an icy mountain road via bus, wearing a Starter hockey jacket bearing the logo of the San Jose Sharks; I knew nothing about the team other than I adored their logo).
Such is the magic of Roth Era Van Halen, the most evocative and expressive metal band ever to command $1.5 million dollars for a single performance. They could be so visceral before Dave went Hollywood and Sammy Hagar showed up to streamline the VH brothers into a meat and potatoes adult contemporary hard rock ballad machine. There were signs on 1984, though, that American’s #1 party band might have been headed in that direction anyway. For all its uplift and panache, the monstrous hit
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