I’ll Wait – Van Halen (1984, 1984)
While many of the band’s fan decry this one as a jumping off point for the band shifting to a totally commercial sound, only a real sourpuss would argue this song isn’t a good one. I love the synthesizer work that starts it off, the great drumming by Alex Van Halen, Diamond Dave’s vocal approach and of course Eddie Van Halen who gets to peel off one of his more sly, understated solos. Everything about the song seems to work.
It’s a mid-tempo track that seems to be about a guy who is lusting over a model and gets totally taken by his approximation of what the woman must really be like. It’s in the “Private Eyes” and “Every Breath You Take” playbook of creepiness. Yet there’s something still kind of naïve about it that I’ve always latched onto.
While most know the 1984 album for the mega-hits “Jump”, “Panama” and to a lesser-extent “Hot For Teacher”, this one was always my favorite track from the album and I never understood why it wasn’t a bigger hit considering it was the follow-up to “Jump” and co-written by Michael McDonald. It reached #13 on the Billboard chart but for me has always been a highlight in the Van Halen catalog despite it’s obvious pop sensibilities.