Picks and Pans Review: Skyscraper

updated 02/29/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/29/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

David Lee Roth

You made your bed, Diamond Dave. Now you jump up and down on it. Roth has created this larger-than-life persona for himself: a quick-witted, half-demented rock singer of profligate energy and stamina. Sort of Ted Nugent meets the Tasmanian Devil. The problem is he has to live up to it and find a way to outdo himself with each new day's dawning. That makes for frantic exercises like this. Most songs on the album—the single Just Like Paradise is an exception—are a double-time blur. The title song, for instance, sounds like David Bowie singing as he is being shot out of a cannon. Roth's guitar player, Steve Vai, is a magna cum loudy graduate of the Evelyn Wood school of speed-playing. He sure is flashy (a quality Dave cherishes). Unfortunately, that comes at the expense of articulation and focus. During most of his solos you want to scream, "Slow down and smell the begonias, you maniac." Of course, this music seems aimed at teenage boys, and their engines rev higher than most folks'. When Roth wades through the fetid muck of the album's only ballad, Damn Good, you begin to think he knows what he's doing by sticking to the unrelenting bluster. Sounds exhausting though. (Warner Bros.)

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