It’s time again for my silly little game where I compare a bunch of different songs with the same name. This current edition crosses genre lines and is a true cross-section of music from several parts of the soundscape. It also has a blatantly obvious winner before I even begin typing so I’ll just save that one for the end. Lazy content is still content, remember that.
Today’s song is Jump. Again, I’m sure most everyone can guess who I’ve already handed the award to. But in the interest of fairness, let’s review a handful of other acts who’ve recorded songs called Jump. There are a few hit-makers here and also a few legacy acts who I wasn’t aware had songs called Jump. I stumbled into a list of nine major artists who’ve done a song called Jump, and a cursory Spotify search turns up about a trillion results, so I’ll cull this down to five other acts and our winner. Let’s have at it.
The first contestant offers up a noteworthy entry into the contest. Kriss Kross’s Jump was a massive smash hit in 1992. It topped charts in many different countries and was the best-selling single of that year with over 2 million copies moved. It was the the first rap song ever to spend 8 weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100, and the first song since The Police’s Every Breath You Take to accomplish that feat.
And fair play to Kriss Kross – this was a justified smash hit. The two Chris’ who comprised the group were a year or so younger than me when they delivered this magnum opus. Even in the sea of grunge and Metallica in 1992, this song was all over the place. There’s no arguing with success and this was a total masterstroke.
Speaking of massive hits, we have one of the world’s biggest hitmakers in Kylie Minogue right here. She did that “loco-motion” song in the 80’s and then did that one song in the early 00’s that literally took over every chart on the planet. I’d be here until next week running down her accolades.
And this isn’t one of them. Her version of Jump is a deep cut off of a 1997 album – it wasn’t released as a single and it’s nothing to write home about. It is some kind of nice electro-pop slow jam, the song isn’t bad by any stretch, but it’s also not winning any awards.
This cut comes from the group’s 1981 breakout album Get Lucky. The album features Loverboy’s signature song Working For The Weekend and was a big seller. Loverboy’s Jump was the final single from the record and also features an interesting collaboration – the track was co-written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. That duo were slinging songs left and right for any takers before Adams’ big breakout in 1983. I don’t know the history behind this, if it was an Adams/Vallance song that the band decided to use or if that writing pair and Loverboy collaborated on the song, but here we have it.
It’s a pretty cool song, certainly fitting of Loverboy. It doesn’t outdo what we know is coming, and honestly I wouldn’t rank it ahead of Kriss Kross either, but it’s a fun song. Honestly I’m more curious about the specifics behind Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance being involved with it than anything.
Our most recent entry to the series is from the Barbados superstar’s 2012 album Unapologetic. It was a single from the record and apparently a well-regarded song by critics, though for Rihanna standards it lags behind many other songs in streaming numbers (a paltry 43 million compared to her busting a billion twice and being close to that with several more tracks).
It is a cool song that samples Ginuwine’s 1996 mega-hit Pony, which was everywhere in Europe for the few years I spent there. Rihanna’s Jump hasn’t lived up to her usual measure, but in fairness she is often the gold standard of modern music releases and I guess everyone has to have other songs besides mega-hits.
One more song before we get to where we all know we’re going. This from a Canadian pop-punk act who have been around for quite awhile but I’m not really familiar with. Simple Plan’s Jump comes from their 2004 album Still Not Getting Any (2004 me hears you, bro).
I almost feel obligated to talk shit about this since it’s pop punk, but truthfully I have no problem with it. It’s a fine song, not one I’m going to race to write a massive essay about, but still solid. I never really listened to much pop punk but I never had any real issue with it either. I still have a bigger death metal and black metal collection than a lot of other people so it doesn’t matter what I think about pop punk anyway.
Out of these five entries, I’d easily give the award to Kriss Kross. Their Jump was iconic, massive and essentially ruled the world for an extended time on its release. None of the other songs here really measure up to it.
But, of course, there’s one more Jump out there. And it’s my obvious winner.
Jump was the lead single to Van Halen’s 1984, their final album from the initial run with David Lee Roth and a massive success. Jump itself shot to the top of the Billboard charts and stands as VH’s biggest single from their career span.
Though some VH fans do poo-poo the synth and pop direction of Jump, I’m not one of them. I was 6 years old when I first heard the song, it wasn’t going to deter me that they might not have the same edge as their debut. Nothing in the years since has changed my mind that it’s a fantastic song from a masterpiece of a record.
And nothing any other musical act did could topple Van Halen from the “Who did the best Jump?” contest. It’s time to hand the trophy to VH and call it a day on this edition of the game.