Last month, my computer decided to retire. It was a bold move considering it was not yet eligible for Social Security, being only two rather than the necessary sixty-five, but it made its decision and stuck to it. I attempted to talk the Dell-made bastard out of it, but it just remained unresponsive every time I hit the on button. Normally, I’d happily part ways and start a new liaison with a sexier computer, but I’m a dumbass and didn’t back up any of my music. This isn’t a huge problem since all of it is contained on CDs about ten feet from where I’m typing this, but removing two hundred different discs from their packaging and placing them in a hard drive is an annoyance on par with getting a physical or eating burnt eggs.
Yesterday, I mustered up some will-power and began going through the CDs. Most people would probably chose alphabetical order, but some things are just more imperative concerns (thus I began with Sgt. Pepper’s and will end with Big City Nights by The Scorpions). Eventually, I got to Van Halen’s mega-album 1984. As is my standard procedure with adding new music to the computer, I began listening to the album as soon as it finished transferring, and I couldn’t help being struck by something: “Jump” is fucking horrible.
For some reason, this exercise-endorsing train wreck is hailed by critics and fans alike as a pop-rock-synch masterpiece, but in actuality, it’s a pathetic, overly catchy, caricature of everything that was wrong with late Roth-era Van Halen. With terrible lyrics (“Aaa-Ohhh/Who Said That?/Baby, How You Been?”), mediocre vocals, and way to much keyboards, the song is arguably the worst track on 1984, but due to unexplainable happenings I will never figure out, it’s the only Van Halen song my generation seems to remember.
I once had this exact conversation with a girl...
Her: Put on that Van Halen song.
Her: No, I don’t know what that is.
Me: “Panama”? “Hot For Teacher”? The cover of “You Really Got Me”?
Her: I’ve never heard of those. It has like keyboards I think.
Her: YES! Oh my God, I love that song. It’s so retro.
What the hell makes “Jump” so much better than everything else released by Van Halen? It’s certainly not the solo that is impressive but no more so than any of Eddie’s other ones. Is it David Lee Roth’s ridiculous spandex in the video? Does that inspire lots of fond memories? Even if we’re going on music videos, “Hot For Teacher” is clearly superior in every single way. If anyone knows, please shoot me an email and explain why. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to listen to “Eruption”, a song that is worth remembering.