The Jump (A Nifty Thing to Put in a Song)

Ever since the first time I heard it, I’ve loved “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World. It’s a great pop-punk tune with a chugging beat and a positive message, but one thing that really makes it stand out for me is what I call the “jump” in the chorus. There’s probably a technical term for it, but if you watch the video below and listen carefully between 00:38 and 00:40, you’ll hear it — a quick roll on the toms, the tiniest pause, and then the song resumes with a cymbal crash and a ringing guitar. Every time I hear it, I imagine riding a bike and jumping of a curb when I was a kid — pedal faster, pedal faster — JUMP! — and down.

Once I noticed the jump in “The Middle,” I started hearing it in other songs, too. Think about the Johnny Mathis classic Christmas carol “Sleigh Ride.” The song is popping with jumps — especially on the line that goes “At the fireplace where watch the chestnuts pop [JUMP!] POP, pop, pop!” But the one that really sticks out for me (and that stays in my head long after the holiday season has ended) is “There’s a happy feeling nothing in the world [JUMP!] can buy when they pass around the coffee and the pump- [JUMP!] -kin pie.” To me, putting that jump in the middle of the word “pumpkin” is what really makes that song stick.

Anyway, here’s the video for “The Middle.” It’s a little racy, but if you stick it through to the end, you’ll see there’s a story being told and it’s actually pretty wholesome. And if you listen closely between 00:38 and 00:40 (and other places throughout the song), you’ll hear the jump. If you know other songs with jumps in them or if you know the technical term for what I’m talking about, please let me know!