Can vintage pop metal from the 1980s be taken seriously by adults? Sometimes, yes. Case in point: Whitesnake's eponymous 1987 album, which catapulted them to international success and made them one of the top bands of the late eighties.
This album is the result of the songwriting collaboration between singer David Coverdale and guitarist John Sykes, and it has everything one could ask of good pop music: melody, wit, energy, and immaculate production. Coverdale is in very fine voice, and Sykes' guitar playing--well, it simply must be heard to be believed. This man is a virtuoso's virtuoso; his fingerwork alone is worth most guitarists' tapping. One scintillating solo follows another, but the fireworks are always in the service of the songwriting, which is largely first-rate.
Unfortunately, David Coverdale's personality is not one that cultivates collaborative bliss. By the time this album was released, Sykes had been fired and the Whitesnake lineup was completely transformed. Indeed, the big hit off this album, "Here I Go Again," was a recycled 'Snake song from the 1982, and featured a solo from Sykes' replacement, Dutch guitarist Adrian Vandenberg (and a fine solo it is). That said, this is still very much Sykes' album, and an enormous accomplishment at that.
Who knows what heights Whitesnake would have reached had Sykes stayed and continued to write with Coverdale. The band's follow-up, "Slip of the Tongue" (1990), was relatively lackluster, despite some good tracks, and they never again reached the level of this album. Oh, well--at least this still makes good listening. Even for people who are now older and wiser.