Friday, November 22, 2013

Jump Up Jump Up and Get Down - Jump by Van Halen

I told my boss that I used to be in a band. He asked as a joke, "Was it creative differences?" Let me tell you, creative differences are no joke. If everyone in a band does not agree on their goals as a band, creatively or not, then there is a serious problem. If half the group wants to play local bars while the other half wants to be famous there will be conflicts. Creatively, if half the band wants to make fun party music and the other half wants to be compared to Mozart there will be serious conflicts.

How, you ask, your left eyebrow rising inquisitively while your right buttock instantly falls asleep, could a band stay together for more than two weeks with those types of creative differences? Who knows? Van Halen did it for ten years, though.

See creative differences in action. Jump by Van Halen:

There are two distinct groups in the band. The first consists of the singer and bassist/golden-throated background singer Michael Anthony.

They represent the values of a traditional rock band, mainly having fun and making fun music.

The second contingent consists of these two assholes.

They represent the values of showing off, unnecessary complexity, and general boring-ness.

Just take a look at the drummer's kit. He has such a bewildering array of drums and cymbals that there is no way he uses them all. He is trying to make it seem like he is such a technical genius that he carefully selects from one of 12 differently tuned tom-toms. The truth is that he just hits which ever one is closest at hand when he needs it.

Wait, is that a gong behind him? God, that's terrible.

The singer and Michael Anthony, though, don't need a huge amount of fancy equipment. The most advanced thing they have is the singer's hair.

During the first half of the video the forces of good hold sway. Everyone is having fun and everything looks traditional.

The singer does the splits.

Also, even though the whole song is basically all keyboard no one is playing the keyboard. Why? Because rock bands don't have keyboards. That's why! This video is all live-without-an-audience and it is probably one of the least appropriate Van Halen songs for this treatment because it is very much not live.

See how much fun they are having! I'm having fun too.

The fun is infectious. Even the guitar player is roped in temporarily.


There's a great set of lines at the beginning of the second verse that are kind of funny where the singer converses with himself. It starts with his face upside down.

Then he looks around, confused.


There is also a huge amount of jumping. The singer is extremely flexible.

More jumping.

Even more jumping.

At this point I am having a lot of fun, but the fun is about to end. The four bass drums in the drummer's kit portend doom. Why would he have four bass drums? It is the stupidest thing I or anyone else has ever heard of. Or will ever hear of.

The fun truly dies when the guitar solo starts.

The guitar player in Van Halen is terrible at guitar. Oh, he is proficient, but he has no musical sense whatsoever. The guitar solo has no melody and consists entirely of fast playing for no reason. It isn't interesting to listen to at all. I think the audience is supposed to be impressed with how fast he can play, but I don't find it particularly impressive.

We finally get to see who is playing the keyboard and it turns out to be the guitar player.

He looks so smug.

Rather than playing the catchy riff of the song he plays repetitive arpeggios at high speeds.

So you can appreciate just how fast he is playing we get an extreme close up of his right hand.

This part of the song is painfully boring. The singer and Michael Anthony understand this. They try desperately to be interesting for us.

They are interesting but it can't save us from this man:

His drum kit is stultifying. Why would you ruin a fun song with your stupidly enormous drum kit? Why?

Luckily the video ends with another jump.

According to Wookieepedia, "Rodian culture was obsessed with violence and death, due to behaviors and practices that were ingrained since their earliest ancestry." This doesn't explain Van Halen. According to Wikipedia, the album containing Jump, 1984, was Van Halen's last album as a regular rock band. After that they switched to being a Sammy Hagar-based band. (Fun fact: Sammy Hagar literally cannot drive 55 miles an hour. His car goes straight from 54 to 56.) This video shows why. Creative differences.


No comments:

Post a Comment