As an aggressively mediocre high school athlete, one of my favorite pre-game rituals was listening to pump-up mixes the seniors made. Even more fun was when the infomercial for Jock Jams came on TV at 3:00 AM when I was probably watching some Saved by the Bell marathon. That got me thinking about pump-up albums, and I settled on two as the all-time best: Jock Jams and Jock Rock. Let’s explore what makes them awesome and crown one king of all pump-up albums.
In 1994, Jock Rock, Volume 1 was born, and the sports world rejoiced. Never before had we seen such a collection of heart-pounding sports anthems in a generic sports stock photo-laced cover. The name’s aight, but I feel like we could’ve done more than just rhyme here. The fact that there’s an interlude called “Who Wants a Hot Dog” is pretty amazing, though.
The music on the album is game changing. Not only do we have universal sports anthems like “We Will Rock You” and “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” (ah, Remember the Titans), but we have surprising deep tracks like “Tequila” and “Bang the Drum All Day,” which have nothing to do with sports. One of my few concerns is that this album features what in my opinion is the lesser of two versions of “Mony Mony.” Billy Idol was snubbed!
The name alone is amazing. Alliterative, concise, ESPN’s marketing department knew what it was doing back in ’95! Let’s also discuss the album cover, which features pre-Bring it On cheerleaders who are for some reason wearing knee pads. Pure gold, as are the random shouting interludes. Ugh, I heart the 90s.
As for the track listings, this little gem is littered with classics, like “Whoomp! (There It Is)” and “Tootsie Roll.” The sleeper hit on this album has got to be K7’s 1993 beauty, “Come Baby Come.” The music video even features a street basketball game and synchronized 90s man dancing! It’s like White Men Can’t Jump meets Backstreet Boys!
Oh, and let’s not forget that Gary Glitter makes his second cameo on this record. But seriously, what is “Unbelievable” doing on here? That’s not a jam. At least this album redeems itself with the original version of the Mortal Kombat song, “Twilight Zone.”
In the battle of Jock Rock vs. Jock Jams for pump-up album supremacy, I’d have to give a slight nod to Jock Jams for its infectious beats and eclectic mix. I mean, where else are you going to find the Village People, 69 Boyz and 2 Unlimited on the same record? It’s the little things in life that matter. As much as the rocker in me loves Jock Rock, Jock Jams brings the heat relentlessly. Now let’s go listen to The All-Star Jock Jams!
We want to hear from you. Who are you declaring the champ, Jock Rock or Jock Jams? Hit us up on Twitter @BaconSports and let us know.