Van Halen – Jump

First Hit #1: February 25, 1984

Now for something that is unambiguously fun.

Van Halen might be named for its guitarist, but there are two things that make Jump. One is the stadium-ready synths, which actually remind me a bit of a Vangelis. It’s a simple riff, but the big, room-filling quality snaps one to attention and provides the song with a distinct and simply large sound. The other thing that makes Jump is David Lee Roth, who is somewhat reminiscent of Freddie Mercury in that his goal is to entertain above all else. It’s better appreciated in the video, where he struts around, does big jumps, and generally mugs for the camera. It’s there in the song too though, his performance is about giving people a good time. It’s big enough to outstrip that synthesizer, but it’s also focused squarely on keeping the song fun and accessible. He wants people to shout along, to cheer, to dance. He wants them to be entertained for a few minutes by a big rock song, and every choice he makes in his delivery is to make it as fun as possible. Van Halen wants you to have fun above all else.

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3 Responses to Van Halen – Jump

  1. RBerman says:

    Rock Music 101: Lyrics Don’t Matter. No one knows what this song is about. Is it some sort of vague (and brief) encouragement to someone who’s discouraged? I don’t think lyricist Roth knows, even though he spent at least three minutes writing the words. But he knows that he took gymnastics classes and can do an awesome jump-split, so he might as well jump, JUMP! And the gusto-drenched vocals successfully cover the nonsense rolling off Diamond Dave’s lips and dazzling smile.

    This song is all about the music. Not the guitar solo; Eddie’s solo in “Beat It” is much more interesting and melodic. This song is simply an excuse to play that fat Oberheim synth patch. It’s a patch, but playing a single note for three minutes would get boring, So… a pedal tone in the bass, a couple of chords up top, and we’re golden.The rest of the song is just killing time until it’s OK to play the synth riff again. And it works; we listened to this track over and over and over. My friend couldn’t believe that he’d gotten an Easy Listening fan like me to listen to “heavy metal,” which of course this song is really not, except for 4 bars in the middle.

  2. RBerman says:

    “It’s a patch” … I meant, “It’s a cool patch.” Stupid edit error.

  3. Pingback: Huey Lewis and the News – The Power of Love | We Are Number Ones

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