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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Why "Jump" by Van Halen is the greatest record ever made

I was playing "Jump" by Van Halen and twittered to the effect that it is arguably the greatest record ever made. Some people took exception with the tone of people who couldn't believe that the greatest record ever made could be made by such a bunch of poodle-headed clowns rather than, say, the Stone Roses. Some challenged me to prove it. This I shall do.

Pop music celebrates acting on instinct. When we're young we're too self-conscious to do it. When we're older we're too terrified to do it. The most terrifying, vertiginous, joyous moment for a young man is when, in the nick of time, generally at about five minutes to midnight, he gets the girl to dance with him. "Jump" is about a man with many miles on the clock, down on his luck, with his back against the record machine, trying to persuade himself that he's got to take the same step. Years of inhibition and fear are holding him back. The music is pushing him forward. The music will win.

Case proven.