Monday, September 27, 2010


My strongest association with the song "Jump" is an argument my friend Julie and I had the summer after our senior year of high school. It was about six years after the song's release in 1984, and thus, well into its influence on the rock radio canon. I had argued that the song paled in comparison to the brilliant music of Phil Collins. Julie contended that "Jump" was a better song from a musical standpoint than any Phil Collins song, hands-down.

I wouldn't argue that a Phil Collins song could beat up a Van Halen song behind the bleachers after school; my argument contended that Phil Collins's songs, including, naturally, the Genesis repertoire, were more robust from a sort of quasi-intellectual standpoint. I was basically just arguing against butt rock in favor of art rock. My argument, of course, was dashed from its inception, since by 1990, Phil Collins had long abandoned unconventional prog for soulless pop like Sussudio and insultingly vague altruism like Another Day in Paradise.*

Julie's argument, however, contained actual substance. A student of voice and music theory, she lectured me on the musicality of "Jump," the complexity of the arrangement, the layered instrumental elements, and the tonality of the entire composition. From her words emerged the grey scale picture of Collins's work placed next to the dynamically technicolored break out single on Van Halen's diamond-certified 1984 album.

I was bested.

Either that year, or a couple years on, Julie and I found ourselves at the same New Year's Eve party (at our friend Jen's place). We were listening to our local rock station's New Year's countdown of the "Top 100 Songs of All Time" (or perhaps the Top 105 Songs, or the Top 1,045 Songs). Imagine the cosmic comeuppance Julie felt when Van Halen's "Jump" was announced as the Number One song.

Julie was right: my esteem for Phil Collins only plummeted with the passing decades, and although I couldn't call it the Number One song of All Time, "Jump" has serious staying power. In my head.

Artist: Van Halen
Year: 1984
Rating: Luke Hot

* (Note to the earworm gods: please don't put either of those songs in my head now. Thank you.)


  1. "Jump" is a great song but it's no "One More Night..." Come on! You can't swoon to "Jump."

  2. Earlier Genesis is more complex than Van Halen but yes later Collins is sappy and gross. Even though I do love the song Suisidio (sp?) I used to read a comic book that had a miniature Abe Lincoln that would pop up and sing that song and that was damn funny.