'Jump Up!'

July 2, 2019

Title: "Jump Up!"

Artist: Elton John

Release date: 1982

Favorite track: “Where Have All the Good Times Gone"

 

I have many Elton John albums in my collection — as you probably noticed in my last few columns — but I’d never listened to this one.

With the title, “Jump Up!,” I wasn’t quite sure what to expect — presumably something upbeat. It does have an exclamation point.

The semi-tacky cover design and usage of punctuation in the album title made me think this album might be a bit gimmicky. And it was.

I don’t really like “Jump Up!,” but I don’t hate it. I’ll probably let this record collect dust.

 

MUSIC

“Dear John” makes me laugh a bit because so many other things bear the same title — a Nicholas Sparks book, a movie based on the book and a Taylor Swift song — none of which really has anything in common with the Elton song.

Like Swift’s song of the same name, this opening track is about the end of a romantic relationship. But, in contrast, Elton’s song is fast-paced and playful, and it seems like neither party has regrets about parting ways. I dig the use of “c’est la vie” in the lyrics, which is French for “such is life.”

Despite the negative connotation in its title, “Spiteful Child” has the same cheery, “c’est la vie” vibes as the first track. I don’t mind either, but I found myself skipping to the next song in the last 45 seconds.

“Ball & Chain” is a little too country western for my taste. I’m also not a huge fan of the metaphor.

I was relieved when the album switched pace on “Legal Boys.” The music is more cinematic indie-rock than awkward '80s pop. The final lyric is my favorite.

 

I would rather call you darling

Than defendant in the case

But lovers left here long ago

And clients took their place

— “Legal Boys”

 

“I Am Your Robot” starts extremely cheesy with electronic, robotic sounds, but transforms into a fine mid-tempo listen. After listening to so many 1970s and 1980s albums for this column, the robot theme is a bit tired, but I actually like this song. I think it suits Elton’s natural vocal range.

“Blue Eyes” is the first slow song. It’s moody and drawn out, reminiscent of Elvis Presley, but with a classic pop chorus. This was one of the more popular tracks.

“Empty Garden” is a tribute to John Lennon, one of Elton’s close friends. It’s an emotional one, which is likely why he rarely performed it live.

Normally, I’d be drawn to a romantic gesture like “Princess,” but not this time. Nothing about it intrigues me.

I like the music most in “Where Have All the Good Times Gone.” It’s unpredictable, which kept me engaged in the song. If I were a better person, the Lennon tribute would be my favorite song on the album, but it's not; “Where Have All the Good Times Gone" is. It's underrated if you ask me.

I don’t think it’s necessary, but it seems all albums made in this era end with a ballad. In this case, it’s “All Quiet on the Western Front,” an anti-war song about World War I.

 

DESIGN

There is so much 1980s packed into this album cover design. It’s almost too nostalgic. The typography reminds me so much of the graphics for the early '90s TV program, “Saved by the Bell.” The art matches the music.
 

 

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