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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.

10 comments:

Mark P said...

Felt this for years - even took to Aztec Camera's cover - just a fantastic song.

Banksy said...

Yep, I think the defence rests.

But ion a point of order, definitely not poodle-headed, more long-haired retirever.

Now, Europe...definitely poodle-headed.

BLTP said...

fraid having shared a flat with a group of skydivers it has been totally ruined for me along with "free falling" by Tom Petty.The reason was every single parachuting video they watched (and they watched a lot of them ) was dubbed with either of these tunes. Not sure you should judge a tune by its friends but well I think in this case I will.

Charles Frith said...

I was sceptical. But you nailed it.

Nick White said...

You're right, BLTP - there's a video of me bungee jumping in Zimbabwe to the sound of "Jump".

But the song took on new meaning to me after I heard Dave Lee Roth, someone who up until then I couldn't distinguish from any other heavy metaller/poodle rocker, being interviewed by Danny Baker. Roth's irrepressibly cheerful "what the hell" attitude to life is inspiring, and when I hear that song I'm reminded not to take everything so damn seriously.
Here's the interview - it's wonderful: http://bit.ly/4pKgHp

londonlee said...

Agree with your analysis but not necessarily the conclusion. But it is better than anything the Stone Roses ever did.

Stan Lee said...

No arguments from me. Sadly.

Blackacre said...

In waht sense is pop about instinct as opposed to being about sex (via the proxy of love)? On that basis, the greatest pop song is probably I Wnat To Hold Your Hand, being a safe summary of what the authors would really like to do.

Mikey said...

It makes a cracking ringtone too: Original version for most callers, Paul Anka if the wife calls

bunmonsta said...

Have to agree, it's a classic that never fails to make me move (up and down of course) DLR was a showman to make the most of it but I love the Paul Anka version too. It's 'rock that swings' is hip and relevant to the power of the song.