My Sunday Song – “Atomic Punk” by Van Halen

For My Sunday Song #145, we are tackling “Atomic Punk” which is off Van Halen’s debut album.  The space age song is a very deep cut and was never released as a single, but was the B-Side to “You Really Got Me”.  It is one of those gems that only the true fans listen to probably more than some of the band’s big hits (maybe that is just me)  I believe it helped drive the sales to way above 10 million copies.

The song is a sci-fi song about a dystopian society and Dave is the leader of this rag-tag crew.  The opening of the song has these space age sounds coming from Eddie’s guitar almost like a space ship sound.  Eddie captures the sound by rubbing his palm over the strings with the guitar going through one of his pedals.  It is captivating.

Lyrically, there isn’t a whole lot here.  Not in context or theme, but in length.  This is more of a showcase for more of what Eddie can do.  Not to take anything from Dave as he delivers the lyrics earnestly and convincingly as it does set the tone for the dark feel of the song.  But it is Eddie’s guitar playing that is again in full force with all the tricks he throws at you.  You hear something a little different and new each time you listen.

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I think it is one of the band’s more bizarre songs, but yet it works on so many levels.  One thing interesting about it is that there are absolutely no backing vocals.  It is just Dave and not that famous Michael Anthony backing vocal there to support.  The debut album had so many sounds and styles that you knew they were not a one-trick pony.

If you haven’t heard it, give it a listen and let me know what you think.  There wasn’t a bad song off the debut so go listen to the whole album if you have a chance as well.  I hope you enjoy and have a Happy Sunday!

“Atomic Punk”

I am a victim of the science age, uh
A child of the storm, whoa yes
I can’t remember when I was your age
For me, it says no more, no more
Nobody rules these streets at night like me, the atomic punk
Whoa yeah, wow
I am the ruler of these nether worlds
The underground, whoa yes
On every wall and place my fearsome name is heard
Just look around, whoa yes
Nobody rules these streets at night like me, the atomic punk
Ooo, Ahhh
I am the ruler of these nether worlds
The underground, oh, oh
On every wall and place my fearsome name is heard
Look around, whoa yeah
Nobody rules these streets at night like me, nobody, ah
The atomic punk
Written by Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony
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14 thoughts on “My Sunday Song – “Atomic Punk” by Van Halen

  1. I actually picked this album up for my sister’s boyfriend and we were listening to the whole debut last night!
    I love this track as it goes right into a different sonic exp. after Jamie’s Crying! Good call on no backing vocals! Atomic Punk sticks out different from the other tracks on this album but it works!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great pick, John. I didn’t appreciate this one fully even when I was falling in love with the album. Then it hit me. Dave’s on form and the way the Atomic Punk line is complimented by / compliments the guitar is quite incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Dave era VH is honestly some of my favourite music ever. Up there with Pilots, Whigs, ZZ Top, Masters, QotSA… all the stuff I love. Just so good… and enjoyable. You can hear that Dave is having a ball.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am the ruler of these nether worlds

    I got a portable 8-track player as a birthday gift in 1978 within days of this album being released. I still remember taking the player and the tape to school and playing it for my friends. This song has always been one of my favorites. Great to see it here!

    Liked by 1 person

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