Along with Van Halen's second album, 1982's 'Diver Down' often gets cited as one of the (relatively) weaker of the band's universally praised first six albums.
Given the light spirit and tone of the record, and the abundance of cover songs or instrumentals, that makes some sense, logically. But if you're gonna have a backyard summer cookout, it's hard to imagine that a better soundtrack album exists for the occasion.
Although reportedly created under stress and duress following the success of the "this was supposed to hold the label off so we could take a break" single '(Oh) Pretty Woman,' 'Diver Down' betrays absolutely no trace of any unhappiness.
Instead, it seems that the looming deadlines squeezed some super-impressive creativity out of the band, especially from Edward Van Halen, who delivers the beer-bottle slide guitar soloing of 'Intruder,' the Beethoven-worthy 'Cathedral' and the Spanish acoustic mastery of the 'Little Guitars' intro all into the album's barely half-an-hour running time.
He may have hated having one of his pet riffs appropriated for the band's 'Dancing in the Street' cover, but original compositions such as 'Hang 'Em High,' 'Little Guitars' and 'The Full Bug' clearly demonstrated that the band was more than ready for yet another big creative leap...which would happen a couple of years later.