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  1. #1
    Good Enough Hecubus's Avatar
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    11.22.16 @ 05:46 PM
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    Default Chart Flashback: 23 Years Ago This Week

    Chart Flashback
    A Thrilling Era
    How do 23-year-old hits by Michael Jackson, Huey Lewis, and Cyndi Lauper hold up today? Let's give 'em another listen.

    By Whitney Pastorek

    Billboard's Top 5 for the week ending March 3, 1984

    (Shaved down from the Top 10 for space constraints - Hec)


    5. ''Nobody Told Me,'' John Lennon
    Part of me wants to make this the first song ever opened up to the public for grading here on Chart Flashback, because honestly, I cannot decide what I think about it. I don't remember it much from childhood, so there are no lingering associations or unfair biases to contend with. And while I love the Beatles as much as the next guy, I wasn't raised in a house with Abbey Road on repeat (like I know many of you were), so I'm not about to get belligerent about this being a John Lennon song because he is my own personal Jesus or anything. Frankly, I think part of the problem is that this tune's so average in so many ways that it's hard not to just take it note by note, the same way I'd look at any other average song. So let's do that, I suppose. Okay: I like the way it starts, with the spunky count-off, because it reminds me of Springsteen (''Bobby Jean,'' maybe?), and any time you can remind me of Springsteen is good. I think the verses are kind of annoying hippie-dippy claptrap, and I find John's voice to be very thin and noncommittal. But then the chorus comes, with its rattling guitar and bemused, frustrated message — he's right, no one did tell him there would be days like these, and they were and continue to be quite strange — and things pick up. Plus, the tossed-off tag at the end (''most peculiar, mama'') gives it character. But at the same time it's an awfully silly little song to go down in history as Lennon's last Top 10 solo ditty. Sometimes maybe it's better to let these posthumous dogs lie. Ugh. I don't know. I'm going with a B-. You? Leave it in the comments.

    4. ''Thriller,'' Michael Jackson
    My sister may have purchased an annoying flavor of the month, but when my mom took us to Sound Warehouse to buy our first cassette tapes, I knew exactly where I was headed: Thriller would be mine. Hard to say where my fascination with Michael Jackson began (I mean, sure, everyone was fascinated by Michael Jackson at this point in time, but I'm trying to isolate it for your benefit) — I do have very clear memories of knowing every single word to ''Beat It'' after just a few listens on the radio, as well as immediately then learning every word to Weird Al's ''Eat It,'' meaning that my love for those two giants of the music industry began almost simultaneously, chicken/egg style. Did I love ''Beat It'' because I loved the funny parody version? Or did I love the parody because how can you not love something set to ''Beat It'''s tune, regardless of the lyrics? (I'm sure Jacko, were he still able to form a cogent thought beyond ''Blanket!'' or ''Funny monkey!'' would be thrilled to hear that his kabillion-selling artistic triumph is forever equated in my mind with the man who also, if I am not mistaken, once parodied Billy Ray Cyrus.) In any case, this is not supposed to be about ''Beat It,'' but rather the title track off the first cassette I ever owned — this epic, monstrously creative, improbably ridiculous song that so captured the imagination of the world that we willingly withstood a 12-minute video requiring Michael Jackson to act. This song should have failed in every possible way — wolf howls! geezer voiceovers! spook whistles! Michael Jackson promising to protect us! — but instead it became the most ginormous hit in the history of the universe, off an album whose reported worldwide sales record will never be touched. That's right: Jacko is the Nolan Ryan of album sales. And now, in order to vault this over Huey Lewis (wow, I really screwed up my system right off the bat this week, didn't I?): A+

    3. ''Girls Just Want To Have Fun,'' Cyndi Lauper
    Aw, man, this list is making me miss MTV. (What? MTV is still around? Surely you jest.) So here we've got Cyndi doing what she does best: Making me feel empowered, and also cute and frilly. You know, I spent many a year wandering around the Lillith Fairgrounds, and the older I get, the more I wonder: Why does female empowerment so often have to be accompanied by anger and unattractive clothing, Indigo Girls? Why can't we want to wear taffeta skirts and paint our nails and slap on a little too much blue mascara? Why can't you take a page out of Cyndi's unusual handbook and replace those flannel shirts with some lace bustiers? You're not doing it to be objectified, you're doing it for you! You're doing it because playing dress-up is more fun than slapping on the same black hooded sweatshirt day in and day out! Oh, sure, when you're spending 30 minutes a day jamming your arm full of jelly bracelets from wrist to elbow, that's time that may be better spent, but whatevs! Girls just wanna have fun! What was my point? Oh yes! Cyndi Lauper is awesome, and this song remains her best (although if someone wanted to put up an argument for that Goonies theme, I'd get your back). From the way she uses her Minnie Mouse voice as percussion to the genius simplicity of ''Some boys take a beautiful girl and hide her away from the rest of the world / I want to be the one who walks in the sun,'' there never will be a better encapsulation of how it feels to all of a sudden realize that, holy crap, we chicks might actually have a good thing going here. A

    2. ''99 Luftballons,'' Nena
    I will forever adore this song, for two reasons: 1) Its place during the body-disposal climax of Grosse Pointe Blank (''Take care of yourself, Ken. Thank you for the pen.''), which I continue to believe is the most underrated movie of all time, and 2) the four-hour argument I had with a couple of friends one night in a trailer on the side of the highway in Arkansas regarding who, exactly, sang this thing, and if the English version was a cover or a remake. We'd had some whiskey at the time, and were also probably watching a wakeboarding video with the sound off, and let's face it, that wasn't the healthiest year of my life, but I remember that as being a very funny argument. All that aside, unfortunately, I have just learned that listening to ''99 Luftballons'' on repeat is very detrimental to your mental health. It seems like a fun party song on the outside — cute girl singer! punky litttle beat! ballons! — but I think the hidden post-apocalyptic messages in the German are making me crazy. Schnell! B

    PS: Got a spare 99 luftcents? Head over to iTunes and download Nena's half-studio, half-live 2003 version, which sounds like the weirdly compelling four-way stop of Kelly Clarkson, Depeche Mode, the Cranberries, and that Lisa Loeb song ''How'' off the Twister soundtrack. At least two minutes too long, but so bizarre it's worth it.

    1. ''Jump,'' Van Halen
    Whether you think this song represented the greatest confluence of technically brilliant guitar skills and hooky songcraft in pop-metal history, or simply the beginning of the end for a band who chose selling out to buy more spandex over their responsibilities to rock as an art form, you cannot ignore three facts: 1) Eddie's riffs are in no way compromised by the bubblegum vibe; in fact, that stuff he does in the bridge — the battle between harmonics and bass, the lightning speed, the soaring final note — defined his sound for my entire generation. Or at least me. 2) David Lee Roth was the greatest frontman this band ever had, no matter what Sammy Hagar may try and tell you in between Jager bombs. (Did somebody say Twister soundtrack?) 3) If you grew up in the '80s, your piano repertoire consisted, at a bare minimum, of that thing you play with your knuckles and the 11 chords that begin this song: The best opening synth line of all time. Too bad you won't be hearing it live any time soon. A-
    Q: Recording the album took so long your Australian tour last year was cancelled. What was it like in the studio? There's a history of tension between you and Eddie Van Halen...

    DLR: It was like a stand off in a Chuck Norris movie. We each had the laser dot on everybody's forehead waiting for the other guy to blink. Except for Wolfie, he had a Super Soaker ...

  2. #2
    Forum Frontman Double Down's Avatar
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    Fairly accurate review of Jump. The song kicks major ass, there's no denying it and I never thought of it as selling out. Van Halen didn't need to sell out. They did it because they didn't care what people thought. It was a ballsy move and I give them credit for it. It's a great fucking song.
    .
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    VH with Dave ('78-'84) - The best years....the "real" VH.
    VH with Sam ('86-'96) - Incredible era....."We have renamed this town 'New Halen!'.
    VH with Gary ('98) - Fucking disaster. WTF was that??
    VH with Wolf/Dave ('12-'15) - Amazing comeback. Smokin' album and tours.

  3. #3
    Baluchitherium hatchetforce's Avatar
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    11.27.15 @ 03:34 PM
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    That was a cool read, thanks for posting it!

    . . . . .
    "The eagle lands at midnight: bacon burger ice cube over" ~ jetguy5150

  4. #4
    Good Enough KRAMER5150's Avatar
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    08.22.16 @ 01:33 PM
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    well at least the very last sentence is correct
    I used to wonder why he was grinning all the time(Michael Ian Black talkin about EVH on VH1 I love the 80's) but then i realized the reason he's grinning is because he's Eddie F*#king Van Halen

  5. #5
    Good Enough darthadv's Avatar
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    01.05.12 @ 09:51 PM
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    hope they include jump on that rhino release!

  6. #6
    Eruption Michaels's Avatar
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    12.22.16 @ 01:39 PM
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    Was this review written by somone who is getting paid by Billboard?? or what?
    I felt like I was reading a review out of a shitty Jr. College newspaper.

  7. #7
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    "Jump" is a gem. And, as usual with VH keyboard songs, it has an amazing bridge section.

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk
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    06.25.15 @ 09:06 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewThomas.net View Post
    "Jump" is a gem. And, as usual with VH keyboard songs, it has an amazing bridge section.
    I never really liked Jump, however, the bridge section IS fucking amazing. Its maybe the only part of the song I truly enjoy.

    Maybe I don't like it because its the only Van Halen song you'll hear around these parts, but it does feature all the elements of a great Van Halen song, thats for damn sure.
    "I respect that youre passionate about this but what your saying is complete idiocy..." - MF5150 on McDonald's "preying" on young kids.

    "He was born a human, he's a horse's ass by proxy." - It's Mike on Eddymon.

  9. #9
    Romeo Delight
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    Quote Originally Posted by vhrocks2005 View Post
    I never really liked Jump, however, the bridge section IS fucking amazing. Its maybe the only part of the song I truly enjoy.

    Maybe I don't like it because its the only Van Halen song you'll hear around these parts, but it does feature all the elements of a great Van Halen song, thats for damn sure.
    Take you and your hagarita opine and JumP beeeeotch!

  10. #10
    Atomic Punk
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    06.25.15 @ 09:06 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by fullbug5150 View Post
    Take you and your hagarita opine and JumP beeeeotch!
    Thanks douchebag. I'll remember that next time...
    "I respect that youre passionate about this but what your saying is complete idiocy..." - MF5150 on McDonald's "preying" on young kids.

    "He was born a human, he's a horse's ass by proxy." - It's Mike on Eddymon.

  11. #11
    Forum Frontman
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    Quote Originally Posted by fullbug5150 View Post
    Take you and your hagarita opine and JumP beeeeotch!
    Hey, fullbug5150, where are you located? I'd like to put a boot in your ass. Your bullshit presence has gone from old to shut-the-fuck-up old in a hurry. Get lost.

  12. #12
    Forum Frontman Double Down's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewThomas.net View Post
    Hey, fullbug5150, where are you located? I'd like to put a boot in your ass. Your bullshit presence has gone from old to shut-the-fuck-up old in a hurry. Get lost.
    .
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    VH with Dave ('78-'84) - The best years....the "real" VH.
    VH with Sam ('86-'96) - Incredible era....."We have renamed this town 'New Halen!'.
    VH with Gary ('98) - Fucking disaster. WTF was that??
    VH with Wolf/Dave ('12-'15) - Amazing comeback. Smokin' album and tours.

  13. #13
    Atomic Punk LLFHS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewThomas.net View Post
    Hey, fullbug5150, where are you located? I'd like to put a boot in your ass. Your bullshit presence has gone from old to shut-the-fuck-up old in a hurry. Get lost.
    If you find out where he is, let me know. I'll buy your plane ticket.
    LowLifeFlatHeadScum

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    Your Hacked Nude Photo Here!

  14. #14
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    OMG 23 years ago??? I feel so old.

    btw - play nice guys.
    RIP - Classic Van Halen

    "A lot of people take Van Halen more seriously than we do." The Diamond One



 

 

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