Technotronic’s Pump Up the Jam – Reprise (Opening act: Weird Al)

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I’m sharing an email from Henry (see picture below for visual reference) that does far more in analyzing a critical juncture in the music of our youth than I did yesterday. Henry, an ER doctor, should probably have a blog of his own, but what with the time consumed saving lives and raising two boys, I think he feels that time might be an issue. But I dunno, I for one would be interested in reading about some of the stories from inside the Emergency Room. Anyway, enjoy his thoughts:

As far as weird al goes, I have lots of fond memories of “Dare To Be Stupid,” but I feel a deeper, and more important album was Weird Al in 3-D. It came at the exact time that popular music was segueing into a resurgence by riding the burgeoning technology of music video, and syngergizing with the worldwide fame of Michael Jackson. It was a turning point, not only in the career of one man, but in the sub-genre of parody rock, and, if I may, in the general direction of our world.

Pump Up the Jam, on the other hand, I feel had much less impact than it could have. Although there were five separate hits off the album (listed by track number),

1. Pump Up The Jam
2. Get Up! (Before The Night Is Over)
6. This Beat Is Technotronic
7. Move This
9. Rockin’ Over The Beat

the first and introductory hit was “Pump up the Jam”. The video featured a woman named, I believe, Felly, and did NOT feature Technotronic’s MC, Ya Kid K. You know, because Felly was some random hot chick, and Ya Kid K looked like a man. An ugly man.

The album went on to sell well, and launched the other four songs onto the charts, but the group never made it. After that album, Ya Kid K went out on (her) own, and quickly faded into total obscurity, with a quick side-trip to voice the feature single from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze.

I can’t help but think that if Technotronic had the balls to put Ya Kid K up front on the original “Pump Up the Jam” video, they would have garnered enough respect—street cred, if you will—to bolster their group into their next phase.

Oh, the humanity.

-h

I read Henry’s email and immediately realized I had to post it – with his permission of course. Just for posterity’s sake, here’s a picture of the old high school gang posing triumphantly on one of our camping trips. We’ve come to call ourselves the F.O.G., or Friends of Gary. But perhaps that’s too much information. I fear I’ve exposed us for the dorks we were/are.

Starting on the top right and moving down clockwise: me, Alex, Pinto (facing right with arm extended), Henry, Sanjay (laying on the ground), Gary (THE Gary with whom we’re all friends), Ed, and Dave (gazing stoically out toward the future).

So if this picture doesn’t pretty much sum up the reason we still have conversations about Weird Al and Technotronic at the age of 30, well then I’m not sure what would.

Stacks of wax to get the party goin’ on the dance floor

After having a brief email conversation with Dave, Sanjay, and Henry (old friends from the high school days) about which Beatles album is the best (Sanjay is currently on a Beatles for Sale kick while Dave and I agree that Abbey Road is our favorite. Though I have a tremendous love for Beatles for Sale I’d rank it behind HELP! as my favorite of the pre-Revolver albums. The movie HELP!, by the way, might be one of the more underrated motion pictures ever, let alone of its time.)

But in that conversation, I had to point out the significance of one album in particular as far as life changing albums go. That’s right, I’m talking about Pump Up the Jam – The Album by Technotronic.
Released in November of 1989, this album was the precursor to grunge, and opened the door for such bands as C&C Music Factory, Musto and Bones, and Alice In Chains. Well, maybe not Alice In Chains, but whatever.

In addition to its title track, Pump Up the Jam – The Album also had such classics as “Get Up! (Before the Night is Over),” “This Beat Is Technotronic,” and my favorite, “Move This,” the hauntingly melodic dance piece that taught me the meaning of the phrase “shake dat booty.”

Who could forget this lyric:

Can you feel the mellow crawling fast
drum oh baby
rhythms blast
pump it pump it pump it up
bet you cant make this one stop

You may think I’m writing this in jest, but really it’s only about 30% in jest. It’s a good freakin’ album, honkies.

As it happens, I have this record on vinyl. Come on over and we’ll have a dance party. I’ll also play you my Mills Brothers records.