Van Halen II
This concise follow-up to the L.A.-based band's self-titled debut appeared less than a year after these shredders' first album. Van Halen had already injected chop-intensive heavy metal with a pop sensibility, campy humor, and the energy of punk rock (they once opened for the Germs at the Whiskey) on their debut. That record was years in the making and it shows. By comparison, Van Halen II sounds a little bit thrown-together, but not in a bad way. The music here is fun, loud and rad. Sometimes you think the band totally is aware of how stupid they can be, ("Dance the Night Away," "Beautiful Girls") while other times you think they must be idiot savants ("Bottoms Up," "Somebody Get Me a Doctor"). In either case, it's always so entertaining that it doesn't really matter.