Go ahead and jump, poodle!

A musicological socio-sexual gender-fluid analysis of a poodle-rock classic: ‘Jump’ by Van Halen.

If you are not pissing yourself laughing at this video within 45 seconds, you’re missing the point.

First observation: oestrogen or testosterone?

It doesn’t matter. Socioologists and endocrinologists and shagnologists will tell you that human sexual response is incredibly complex and that in part the female sex drive is governed, suprisingly, by male hormones and something complicated about blokes here also, whatever.

Let’s be more blunt – is this video gay? Now, to be clear, I don’t mean this in a homophobic way, I mean “are there aspects of this performative behavioural episode* which might be related to the sorts of performance traditionally embraced by the gay community, characterised by the extremes of anguished emotionality of such divas as Piaf, Mercury or Judy? 

Hell, yes.

Is this video camp?

Does the Pope shit in the woods?

Hegel** memorably said “All opposites shade ineluctably into their opposites”

“Ineluctably”, brilliant word. Very gay word. “early 17th century: from Latin ineluctabilis, from in- ‘not’ + eluctari ‘struggle out’.” As in ‘impossible not to fight its way out’.  How gay is that?

But we’re not here to mince words —LOL, I said mince— we’re here to discuss this song and the video. 

OK I lied. If you want all that arpeggiated B flat minor over the root in G, on F and G which gives it a Lydian feel, then this rather RAWK dude has all the muso-malarkey you desire. Did you know that part of the guitar solo was punched in? No? Well’ you do now. Don’t know what ‘punched in’ means? googlit, biatch. 

Rick Beato explains all here:

What Makes This Song Great? Ep.61 VAN HALEN (#2)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XhKSXeT2OI

We’re actually here to discuss the video. WTF is it? For me it is a bunch of extremely heterosexual white males adopting the performative language of a southern Californian thirteen year old girl posing in her bedroom mirror.  Is that gay? Fucktifiknow.

Is David Lee Roth, sexually threatening? Yes. Is that a good thing? Depends, I’m not answering that.  Is he really sexually threatening? Nah. It’s too much of a parody of a parody to be that. Does he know what he is doing? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe at some level, whatever 

Check out the ‘hair-muss’ and head toss at 0:17.  Compare and contrast with a handy 13 year old girl.  (I haven’t actually done this, officer, so don’t call social services, thank you very much.) 100% the total self absorption of a teen gazing full-on into their bedroom mirror. slightly disconcerting. Meant to be. Gotcha!

At 0:34, the turn away – total teen girl.  The first of many, then at 0:37, MCU, and we see what he is wearing in detail for the first time. Are those leather chaps? I fear so, m’lud. Possibly rubber or vinyl, as if that makes a difference. A black mesh slip over a sleveless orange vest.  An outfit which a mere ten years earlier, if worn on Top of The Pops would cause every dad in the UK to splutter into his cocoa., and, when emulated by a teenage girl (or boy) would inelucatbly elicit the expostulation: “YOU ARE NOT GOING OUT DRESSED LIKE THAT, YOUNG LADY!!!”

Then the hands on the lower rib cage. Need I say more?

On the other hand, here’s the infamous Aztec Camera cover, in which a Devon fudge-toned Roddy Frame, takes the piss right back at the Halen’s for their their ‘twee guitar playing’ comment in the NME. Totally devoid of machismo, it’s a song to brighten any shoe-gazing indie boy’ bedroom.  Lot of ‘Sweet Jane’ in there, and a dash of ’Waiting for a Friend’ by the Glimmer twins.  you have to listen to the full long version with the ‘fuck you, I can rock’ guitar solo… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bzKzbucdnE

Hello! Hey you! Just found this. Boy in a band who looks like a girl ripping the piss out of a bloke in a band that looks like a girl for looking like a girl. Nice one, Rodders – live version: https://youtu.be/RvCYMeY0CEE  At 2:16 is that a bit of Stairway? Or the intro to Layla?

But I digress…

At 0:59, some obligatory puppyish “we’re not gay”  male bonding

At 1:02 a drumkit so huge that it has its own postcode, constructed entirely from the ruins of vanquished T-800 Terminators. This is actually irrelevant, but I don’t care.

There is some debate about the origins of this song “”I heard this song was about some woman who sent David a letter saying “marry me or i jump off a bridge.”  see comments below the video. Is the song a response to her?  Search me guv. 

Others claim that the song has provoked suicide. When we say others, I probably mean Newt Gingrich or Nancy ‘Parental Advisory just say no’ Reagan. Whatever. Nice joke in response to that moral kerfuffle: from SMAXZO, 4 months ago “ “Your call to the Suicide Prevention Hotline is very important to us. Our crisis counselors are busy at the moment, please hold” this song is played while you’re on hold”. Find their comment, and the next one, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bq-potK_7Ts

“There’s so many comments about suicide here, funny this is— most of those commenters may not know that David was inspired by a news coverage of someone jumping off of a building. However, the song is more “jump into love/life” rather than, well, kill yourself.”, opined one Keith Gunshot, probably not the name on his birth certificate.

If you believe official band websites, you can find the ‘fun facts’ here.http://www.vhnd.com/jump/ 

Interestingly, they allegedly knocked ‘Karma Chameleon’   off the Billboard Number#1 position , a track that featured the massively gay but weirdly non-threatening, liked by your nan, cross-dressing, Boy George and Culture Club.  You have to feel for dads watching TOTP back then. Confused.com.

Where was I? Ah yes, ‘pouty stare’. At 1:24, the uber pouty stare. At this exact moment in time, Mick Jagger’s crown and cheekbones were passed to the next generation.

OMG! What’s this? At 1:57, Lap dancer pose! Don’t want to get too David Attenborough narrating mating dingos in the Outback, but this is classic female mating behaviour – the open mouth and all-fours pose, back slightly arched, signalling oestrus to  nearby males. We won’t mention anal glands, mainly because humans don’t have any, thankfully. 

“The estrous cycle or oestrus cycle (derived from Latin oestrus “frenzy”, originally from Greek οἶστρος oîstros “gadfly”) is the set of recurring physiological changes that are induced by reproductive hormones in most mammalian therian females. Estrous cycles start after sexual maturity in females and are interrupted by anestrous phases or by pregnancies. Typically, estrous cycles continue until death. Some animals may display bloody vaginal discharge, often mistaken for menstruation.”  Thanks for that, Wikipedia. 

Moving on, thankfully,  it gets traditionally rockist for the solo. At 2:19, what a nice smiley young man, says your mum. Followed by the Oberheim OB-Xa keyboard solo. Me want. Me wanna OB-Xa.

Followed by a reprise featuring aerobics and silly walks.

“All opposites shade ineluctably into their opposites”, said Hegel. The song has a reprise, so I can too. Whatever. How anyone could think this song encourages suicide is a fucking moron. 

Up, doesn’t begin to describe it. High on life maybe. 

Are we having fun yet?




(like a proper academic tosser)

*I made that up.

** Hegel. Bloody googlit yourself, I’m not doing all the work for you, jeez.

One thought on “Go ahead and jump, poodle!

  1. As a massive Aztec Camera fan, I endorse those links! The correct second link though is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvCYMeY0CEE – I like the live Spanish translation

    Rodders is indeed a significant Velvets fan, though IIRC it’s ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ which is his fave. And – especially alongside Mick Jones – he really can rock.

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