Review

Buried Treasure: The Rampage – Jump (Van Halen cover)

The Rampage - JumpI think we can safely mark January 25th, 2022 as the date our current 80’s revival trend officially hit its zenith. Jr.Exile unit The Rampage refuse to pussy-foot around the excesses of the genre. They go straight to the source with a cover of Van Halen’s 1984 classic Jump.

First, a little about Jump itself: This song was popular around the time I was born. If it’s true that a person’s early years of sensory input go on to form their taste, this song might as well be part of my musical DNA. Its iconic synth riff is the best of its ilk. I love its melody and texture so much that I often describe similar efforts as “the Van Halen synth.” It’s pretty much the blueprint. Yet as much as I adore the song, I feel no real connection to Van Halen themselves. This makes the song ripe for cover versions.

Exile Tribe units have previously covered hits of this era, but Jump feels targeted directly to my musical preferences. All The Rampage had to do was not mess it up. They give the song a more modern, EDM-informed makeover and translate much of the lyrics to Japanese. But, they maintain everything that made the original so spectacular. If anything, they lean into its cheesy bombast. I love every second of this nostalgic headrush.

Jump’s mammoth synth riff feels super-charged, especially when it makes a triumphant appearance at the climax of a breathless instrumental build during the bridge. The producers add dancefloor drive to the beat, transferring the intensity of rock music to an electronic soundscape. The group’s trio of vocalists relish the chance to belt out the anthemic hooks, with my personal favorite Kazuma Kawamura taking lead throughout much of the track. I love how they transform the pre-chorus into a series of vocal trade-offs. I could have done with one huge power note near the conclusion, but that’s not really the spirit of the original song.

Also, I’m happy to report that the group’s new album is very, very good. In fact, most of its weakest tracks are those underwhelming 2021 singles. Off The Wall and Top Of The Top will satisfy fans of the group’s rock-influenced tracks (Swag & Pride, Fullmetal Trigger). Moon And Back has gorgeous melody and atmosphere. Stampede is a great hip-hop track with production that feels like updated Timbaland. And, Your Life Your Game and All About Tonight are full of funky synth grooves.

Now… when it comes to rating a track like this, I’ve got a bit of a dilemma. I don’t often review straight-up covers. Van Halen’s Jump is a legendary track, no doubt. And by putting their own stamp on it without sacrificing any of the musical glory, I guess I’ll have to treat The Rampage’s version the same. They get an ultra-rare “10” rating right out of the gate.

 Hooks 10
 Production 10
 Longevity 10
 Bias 10
 RATING 10

15 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: The Rampage – Jump (Van Halen cover)

  1. Did not expect a whole ass 10/10 on this fine Sunday night. Especially not from Rampage of all groups. I haven’t listened yet but excited to do so.

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  2. I love how the synth riff retains the same character from the original song! I usually have an issue with covers or remakes on how they change what makes the original song so good so the cover ends up feeling like a condensed modernized version of a song. This one is fantastic and I can see why it got a 10 rating right off the bat 🥳

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  3. So its a fine cover, and they didn’t screw it up, much. It is essentially a hyperpop cheerleader hype routine polishing of the song, as WM says above. If Jpop were made of that obtanium material, I may even buy a copy to add to my workout list.

    But it adds nothing to the song, only subtracts.
    AND especially, as kpopalypse says, it subtracts out a blistering guitar solo and a fairly straight forward keyboard solo. This song reveals Eddie’s classical music training with those solos; its all Bach invention voicings on the fingers and its brilliant. Was there no Jungmo-type from a brother group to borrow for a few hours in the studio?

    Also, as a child of the 80’s, I will add that this song was an important part of my formative years. The video was in super heavy rotation on MTV, and when you are 13 years old or so, there is nothing like watching a band high as a kite goofing off for the camera, with far cleaner lyrics than most other rock songs of the time songs. This song is all (no sex) drugs and rock n roll.

    So let’s talk about those lyrics for a moment. They shouldn’t work, they were probably written on hotel bedside notepad after an evening bender, and yet they WORK with the super lighthearted intent of the song. Oh oh, hey you who said that baby how you been, you say you don’t kno-oh-woah you do-ohn’t know until you begeeen. The damn dumb ass lyrics are short but sweet and actually rhyme.

    8.5 at best for me here. The original is a 10.

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    • The last part keyboard part of the solo is *kind of* there in places if you listen for it, it’s just buried way at the back of the mix. The guitar solo is completely gone. Unforgivable especially given the recent death of Eddie, it basically sounds like what “Jump” would have sounded like in 1984 if he really was dead.

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  4. i was quite a bit older when I encountered Jump back in the day. it was a difficult songs to dislike. Jump and Hot for Teacher live among my obscure Australian garage-rock and the Fall singles. Even the crustiest punk rockers were grooving to it. It’s not the most robust song, but DLR and Eddie just yanked it by its shirt collar up to their level. I have similar thoughts, but I like it better. The burpy synth solo was hilarious, and I was buying it by the end of the song. 8.75-9.

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    • I can’t play too much of the DLR era at this time because of the naughty lyrics, but Darling Daughter’s favorite is “Love Walks In” and Sonny boy loves “Dreams”, the latter because of the famous video of US Navy Blue Angels stunt flying squad. We haven’t seen the Blue Angels, but when we visit Gramps and Nana in the UK we get to see the Red Arrows practicing over the fields of Lincolnshire, just doing loop de loops on repeat.

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