Van Halen took its own leap of faith in 1984 when its hard core metal changed direction to pop rock. Whilst Argentina was invading the Falkland Islands and the Berlin Wall demolished, Van Halen was building new musical bridges that lead to its own revolution. Despite the heady Eddie Van Halen guitar solo that stayed in keeping with the band’s original identity; it was the innovative synth-pop digital piano motif that shuffled the Van Halen identity into this new pop niche. The 80’s marriage was one made in heaven and the result was a perfect synthesis of the Van Halen love child that culminated in pop rock seconded only by the sale of Cabbage Patch kids!
Van Halen – Leap Of Faith
‘’Jump’’ was an outright success that was anchored around its new wave digital piano hook, The sound was embedded from the onset and the Van Halen signatory electric guitar solo gave way to the synthesised header that featured prominently from the onset:
Digital piano motif: D’ E’ C’ C’ D’ D’ E’ C’ A G G x 2
The dominance of the motif was enforced by its chordal characteristics and repetitious nature. Widely spread across the octaves and together with a hefty vocal line and counter guitar part ‘’Jump’’ produced a persuasive argument:
C F G
‘’I get up, and nothing gets me down’’
The digital piano leads unabated into the chorus, sharing the same 3-chord trick as the verse material: ‘’’ Might as well jump. Might as well jump’’.
The middle eight beholds a vocal reprieve and where both guitar and electric piano share their rolling waves of arpeggios and arabesque decoration that spars and compliments ‘til the repeat of the intro motif is sounded.
Digital Piano Part Borrowed?
Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates pointed out that Van Halen took the digital piano part from his ‘’Kiss On My List’’ for ‘’Jump’’. Though this was a pop rock band of the same era with their sights keenly set on the new wave sound, Halls and Oates music was a whole new ball game and the possibilities were coincidental rather than purposeful. Firstly, ‘’Kiss On My List’’ has a much more complex chord patterning than ‘’Jump’’; the former of which goes into a minor key close to the onset whilst the latter stays in the major. Van Galen’s ‘’Jump’’ message is heady and forceful rather than the suggestive nature of Hall and Oates’ single.
Certainly, this leap of faith from Van Halen was never a bridge too far and the showcasing of ‘’Jump’’ was to sustain the band into a new era of sound.