Aug 07


FT28 comments • 3,363 views

2. House of Pain – Jump Around

Is this the most ubiquitous student disco song ever recorded? Having DJed at the odd student disco in my time I can confirm that this song polarises dancefloor crowds into a) drunk people b) sober people who have attended at least one student disco in their time*. The split between the two factions is clearly visible: the sudden rush to the bar from contingent b), who clearly feel the need to quickly join the ranks of contingent a) in order to successfully endure the relentless bombardment of Everlast and his Irish-American chums.

For this is a drinking song – slam those empty flagons on to the bar and order another seventeen pints of Guinness! It symbolises rowdiness, arrogance and shoving into people. So what is this song, that appears directly opposed to the fluffy-friendly rave scene, doing on Rave ’92? To sell units, is the obvious answer. But perhaps it is symbolic of the rave end-times? A drop in quality of happy drugs in the nineties saw ravers increasingly turning to coke, booze and speed for their kicks, all of which increased the general air of aggression and paranoia (Jane Bussman describes all this very well in Once In A Lifetime: The Crazy Days Of Acid House).

Of course none of this encroached on eleven-year-old Kat’s enjoyment of the record. I loved trying to decipher the near-unintelligible lyrics (in the same way as I had done for ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It’, on the pink notepaper). It wasn’t the speed of the lyrics that baffled me so much as the strange words themselves. “I’ll serve your ass like John MacEnroe” – no problems there, I had watched plenty of  tennis and appreciated the metaphor. But “If your girl steps up, I’m smacking the ho” – what on earth could that mean? I found the above lyric just now via Google search, but the pink notepaper had it down as “If the girl steps up, I’ll sock in the hole“. A practical solution to plugging a leaky dam before the nice lady in the white coat comes to inspect it! In any case, ‘Jump Around’ was merely a catchy song full of words to be learned, in order to show off. I had no idea what House Of Pain even looked like until I saw one of Everlast’s solo gigs in 2001**. 

This sort of bragging rap plus hands-in-the-air chorus is by no means a bad thing in itself (see ‘Boom! Shake The Room’), so what makes ‘Jump Around’ so grating compared to its peers? Incessant sampled screams? Permanent association with oversized St.Patrick’s Day hats? A few years ago I was driving around the North Circular listening to late night Xfm. The DJ announced a listener vote, whereby listeners could ring up and state their preference for either ‘Jump Around’ or ‘Insane In The Membrane‘ by Cypress Hill. Every single caller requested the latter, stating they had heard the former one too many times. At one too many student discos.

Watch the video to ‘Jump Around’ on Youtube

*Of course it is assumed that at one’s first student disco drunkenness is mandatory.
**Yes, he played ‘Jump Around’ for an encore and yes, everyone went bonkers – possibly out of relief that the set had ended. Don’t worry, I didn’t pay to get in or anything!


  1. 1
    Steve on 29 Aug 2007 #

    Between it’s re-release and around four years after that I jumped around like a mentalist to this whenever it was played at a party. The ‘Baggy Trousers’ of the 90s in that respect, for me at least. Consequently got sick to death of it and haven’t danced to it ONCE in the last ten years. But I still like it I suppose – on my ’92 Ultramix it’s terrific sampled brass intro is segued with Kriss Kross’ preceding ‘Jump’. A more ‘credible’ pairing at the time would probably have been with ‘Insane In The Brain’ or earlier Cypress Hill tracks like ‘Real Estate’ or ‘How I Could Just Kill A Man’ – a DJ friend of mine at college did this live with vinyl a few times – wuh-hooo…although as I said I had become rather bored of it by then.

    As to why ‘Jump Around’ is included on this comp, could be a bit of a can of worms (why not the aforementioned ‘Jump’ or ‘Insane In The Brain’ for example, more ‘commercial’ and ‘hardcore’ equivalents respectively?). ‘Jump Around’ being the first big rap hit in the UK by white artists since Vanilla Ice MAY have been a factor (although before I saw the video and without paying much attention to the lyrics I had assumed they were black…can’t help but wonder if this was why the single originally only reached #32 originally) – and House Of Pain held a certain credibility with their rugged authenticity (as working class Irish-Americans) that appealed to people like me and other white teenagers including those who may not necessarily been all that into hip-hop previously. Make of all this what you will.

    It’s a fine track let down purely by a few cliched token couplets (aforementioned misogyny) and just being overplayed at the expense of a lot of other just as good hip-hop singles lacking quite the same USP.

  2. 2
    Ben on 29 Aug 2007 #

    I’ve always had a soft spot for ‘Jump Around’. On hearing that instantly-recognisable intro, you just know that whatever the venue, whatever the occasion, the atmosphere is about to improve drastically. Yes, it’s overplayed, yes it’s a tune for lager-swilling “lads” to jump up and down and bash into people a lot, but it remains one of the most sure-fire ways for a DJ to fill a dancefloor, even 15 years on.

    Not quite sure what qualifies it for Rave ’92 though!

    And congrats Kat for managing to not mention that Caffreys advert!

  3. 3
    Ben on 29 Aug 2007 #

    Goddam, my comment just vanished. Anyway, what I was saying was that all of what you say is true, but it’s still a guaranteed floor-filler 15 years on, it’s still guaranteed to improve the atmosphere whatever the venue or the occasion.

    But I have no idea why it deserved to be on Rave ’92.

    I also wanted to compliment/scold Kat for not mentioning THAT Caffreys ad.

  4. 4
    katstevens on 29 Aug 2007 #

    There’s definitely a place for rap in the rave sphere (just ask Ray from 2 Unlimited!) but this is firmly in the hip-hop sphere. Kriss Kross and Cypress would be equally weird inclusions I think.

    I have a feeling that House Of Pain are the only non-European artists on this compilation. Yet another reason why they feel so out of place?

  5. 5
    katstevens on 29 Aug 2007 #

    Ben – I guess that depends on whether your definition of ‘improve the atmosphere’ includes ‘makes people get more drunk’!

  6. 6
    Steve on 29 Aug 2007 #

    ‘There’s definitely a place for rap in the rave sphere (just ask Ray from 2 Unlimited!)’

    But 2 Unlimited’s UK label clearly didn’t think so! We never heard his full length raps on TV/radio here (absurd decision – it wasn’t as if he was hard to understand).

  7. 7
    katstevens on 30 Aug 2007 #

    That puzzled me for ages too. Perhaps they didn’t want to scare off bosh fans by making it too ‘hip-hop’.

    More on the Tlimited later, anyway. Does anyone think that House Of Pain deserve a place on a rave compilation? What if they were further down the tracklisting?

  8. 8
    Steve on 30 Aug 2007 #

    ‘Perhaps they didn’t want to scare off bosh fans by making it too ‘hip-hop’.’

    Strange tho because this hadn’t affected Technotronic (whether it was Ya Kid K or MC Eric) – you would think this Euro take on hip-house would’ve endured a little longer.
    I don’t think H.O.P. should’ve been on this at all because of the disconnection from ideas of what ‘Rave’ term represented. It’s seemingly not being used as a catch-all just to replace Dance here because there’s only one other (much ‘cheesier’) rap-based hit on this comp – everything else is much closer to House, Techno/Trance and Ardkore blueprints. It’s just weird really. Mind you I used to have a comp called ‘Essential Hardcore’ on the Dino label which featured Simply Read (‘Something Got Me Started’)!

    I’ve only just noticed the vinyl edition of this comp features more tracks! All seem quite obscure. Have you heard any of these Kat?

  9. 9
    Pete on 30 Aug 2007 #

    The question of if it should be on Rave ’92 can be answered in two ways.
    a) Would you have heard it at a Rave in ’92?

    A. Possibly. A lot of the Rave’s were not just nosebleed acid house, and a crowd pleasing pop hit would occasionally get thrown into the mix. Actually, less so by ’92 admittedly. That said smaller (illegal) Rave’s often had chancier DJ’s with less of a collection of white labels.

    b) Does it have a thematic place in this collection.
    A. Yes, almost as a counterpoint to the kind of collective dancing that Rave was about. JUMP is a song about excess energy, and ways of getting rid of it. It is explicit about what it wants you to do. Rave was a lot less so, it took all of that as a given.

    I think it fits.

  10. 10
    CarsmileSteve on 30 Aug 2007 #

    On hearing that instantly-recognisable intro

    um, isn’t it a sample?

  11. 11
    Pete on 30 Aug 2007 #

    Yes it is a sample (Harlem Shuffle intro?) but for our generation I know what it is ushering on to the dancefloor.

    Apparently a picture taken during a wedding spin of Jump Around:

  12. 12
    Kat on 30 Aug 2007 #

    I vaguely recognise the artist names but am not familiar with the tracks. Interesting! I shall have to track these down.

  13. 13
    Steve on 30 Aug 2007 #

    Pete’s defence of ‘Jump Around’s inclusion could be applied to any number of rap hits still, and this compilation came out a few months before ‘Jump Around’ became a top ten hit and an established crowd pleaser. The compiler could’ve been cannily pre-emptive here! A lot of rave scenesters were also into hip-hop tho, having got into that first.

  14. 14
    james on 30 Aug 2007 #

    Re: “Jump Around” vs “Insane in the Brain”

    Well, they’re both produced by DJ Muggs. He was the reason Cypress Hill were so surprisingly consistent (he produced their first 3 albums) and also the reason House of Pain only had the one good track (it was the only one he produced for them, I believe).

    Consequently, I can only love “Jump Around” because I imagine that it is a song from an alternate reality in which Cypress Hill were Irish. Once I remember that it’s also the same guy who is Everlast, my excitement of it is temporarily diminished. (for the record, the thing that always brings me back is the line “Word to your Moms / I came to drop bombs / I’ve got more rhymes than the Bible’s got psalms” which is just plain irresistable.)

  15. 15
    james on 30 Aug 2007 #

    Also, for us Americans: the association of this song with Rave culture is nonexistant, whereas the association of this song with school dances is unavoidable and immediate.

    Actually, I’ve always preferred “Jump” by Kris Kross, which is also from ’92.

  16. 16
    henry s on 30 Aug 2007 #

    I saw House Of Pain and Cypress Hill on the same bill once, the audience being 95% white boys with backwards baseball caps shoving each other…now there’s a good time!

  17. 17
    emmersonladypalma on 30 Aug 2007 #

    Is the word Jump in the title of a song a guaranteed floor filler?

  18. 18
    henry s on 31 Aug 2007 #

    absolutely…(“Jump They Say” being the exception that proves the rule)…

  19. 19
    Mark M on 31 Aug 2007 #

    I graduated in June, 1992, and thus am relatively fond of this song, which probably wouldn’t be the case if I were a year younger…

  20. 20
    Marcello Carlin on 31 Aug 2007 #

    Not sure if it works with Mungo Jerry’s “Baby Jump” these days.

  21. 21
    henry s on 31 Aug 2007 #

    Come to think of it, it is only the most drunken of wedding parties that would jump to the dance floor when/if the DJ drops Montrose’s “Jump On It”.

  22. 22
    stevem on 2 Sep 2007 #

    B*Witched ‘Jump Down’ under-rated.

  23. 23
    Billy Smart on 2 Sep 2007 #

    The best jump song of them all is the Aztec Camera version of Van Halen’s Jump, which exposes the inherent vulnerability behind the tumescence of the original. Probably wouldn’t go down too well at a rave, though.

  24. 24
    Kat on 3 Sep 2007 #

    I wonder if this theory can be extended to any phrase containing the letters JUMP? I know I’m wandering into dangerous Sultans Of Ping territory here…

  25. 25
    Marcello Carlin on 4 Sep 2007 #

    Other jumpist records unlikely to get a dancefloor moving:
    – Jump They Say by David Bowie;
    – Jump In The River by Sinead O’Connor;
    – Jump In My Car by David Hasselhoff.

  26. 26
    Lena on 4 Sep 2007 #

    “Jump (For My Love)” by either The Pointer Sisters or Girls Aloud, on the other hand…

  27. 27
    Marcello Carlin on 4 Sep 2007 #

    “how high, ladies?” ;-)

  28. 28
    Gareth Parker on 10 Dec 2021 #

    Like this but don’t love it. I’ll go with a 6/10 here.

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