For the follow-up to his multiplatinum solo debut Eat ‘Em and Smile, David Lee Roth reunites with his expert band (Steve Vai on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass, and Gregg Bissonette on drums) for what is, at least by Roth’s standards, a less silly affair. Gone are the lounge-act pretensions and cabaret fantasies that made Smile a showstopper. Instead, Skyscraper delivers straightforward rock ’n’ roll in the form of “Just Like Paradise,” “Stand Up,” and “Knucklebones.” While there is nothing on here to rival the best of Roth’s work with Van Halen (although “The Bottom Line” is a credible imitation), the singer’s charisma remains intact and Vai’s fretboard fireworks rival Eddie Van Halen's. As usual, Roth’s modus operandi is slam-bang entertainment and not careful songcraft, but the moody ballad “Damn Good” (which appears to be a bittersweet reflection on Roth’s Van Halen glory days) is a reminder that behind the razzle dazzle Roth is actually an impressive singer.

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