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.