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“Jump Into the River” Playlist


I first wrote “Jump Into the River” back in 1999 or 2000 or 2001 -- I honestly can’t recall which year, although I’m fairly certain it was in the early autumn, and I know it was for a songwriting contest with the theme “the river.” “Hotel By The River” was the pensive, thoughtful piece; “Jump into the River” was the caustically humorous fraternal twin borne of that labor. I’ve always been proud of the fact that this is the only song I know to use the word “obsequious,” and I’ve always given myself a pat on the back for the verse lines: Well, I held you to a mirror and you went crying home to your mama cuz you didn’t like all the misery it showed. Just about the time the deal queered on your precious psychodrama, debris washed up in its own ebb and flow.

The original demo had this trip-hop beat that was common to several Aimee Mann songs from her mid-to-late 90s work, most notably “That’s Just What You Are,” featured in this playlist (as well as “Long Shot” and “Could Have Been Anyone”). However, I wrote it with Susan Tedeschi in mind for those crazy, bluesy vocals of hers (her “Evidence” and “Tired of My Tears” both appear in this play list). At the same time, I though that if a pop singer were ever to cover it, P!nk -- who was just emerging at the time -- would be the only pop singer who could do it justice, as she had the best, ballsiest break-up songs I’d ever heard in pop music. Her classic kiss-off “There You Go” makes this list.

The album version wound up featuring an arrangement that vaguely reminded me of The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil,” included, and guitar work by Tom Briant that heavily channeled George Harrison, whose “Try Some Buy Some” and “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace)” are also on this playlist. Of course, you can’t have one of The Beatles without inviting the rest: John Lennon’s “Nobody Told Me” and “Mind Games,” Ringo Starr’s “It Don’t Come Easy,” and Paul McCartney’s “Press” and “Nineteen Hundred and Eight-Five” are all in this playlist. So are the Beatles with “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and the almost-Beatles (Oasis with “Wonderwall” and The Bee Gees with “All This Making Love” and “Edge of the Universe”). Beatlesque music from The Bangles, Wilco, Semisonic, and New Radicals -- “Going Down to Liverpool,” “I Can’t Stand It,” “Who’s Stopping You?,” and “You Get What You Give” respectively -- fills out much of the remainder of the playlist. Finally, a little hyperliterate music from Paul Simon (“Heart and Bones”), Ben Folds (“Julianne”), and Stevie Nicks (“Think About It”) provides the final bits of narrative as the story unfolds.

And here, of course, is the Spotify Playlist Link which you can listen to for free, over and over, until I’m all you think about!

JUMP INTO THE RIVER LYRICS

It could happen to anyone. Well, okay. I lied. The experience was totally unique. Cuz you’re the king of the originals and I guess I never tried to be all that you expected me to be. You said I sold you down the river without so much as an oar or the slightest idea of what you’re paddling for. Well, I can’t keep current with the drift of your whim and you can’t just jump into the river and swim. You can’t just jump into the river and swim.

Well, I held you to a mirror and you went crying home to your mama cuz you didn’t like all the misery it showed. Just about the time the deal queered on your precious psychodrama, debris washed up in its own ebb and flow. You say I sold you down the river without so much as a guide, and I could never comprehend the depths of what you feel inside. Well, you’re free now from the millstone you say was dragging you in, so why don’t you jump into the river and swim? Why don’t you jump into the river and swim?

God only knows how hard you tried, and God knows how much it showed. Anyone could read between the self-conscious lines you always toed. From the obsequious handshake to each self-righteous dictum, you’ve perfected the art of the well-rehearsed victim. You’ve been bartered. You’ve been martyred. Baby, you’re the patron saint of all the cruel injustices that really simply ain’t!

 

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