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Artist: Jump5
URL: <>
Label: Sparrow Records
Time: 11 tracks/39:18 minutes

There's definitely nothing pretentious about Jump5. Take a look at the cover, and the "tweenagers" are jumping. In order of age, Jump5 is comprised of Chris (15), Brandon (14), Lesley (14) Libby (14) and Brittany (12). Reminiscent of Stacie Orrico's publicity photos, all three girls from the group sport big smiles -- complete with braces -- on the inside photograph.

The music is far from pretentious as well, since "Spinnin' Around" has been all over the radio. If you've heard this one and truly enjoy it, go ahead and get this project, as this track is an excellent representative. Jump5's debut reminds me just slightly of Stacie Orrico's Genuine or ZOEgirl's debut but is more in line with the musical style of Aurora (conversely, if you don't like that style, stay away). There's plenty of producer Mark Harmond-programmed electronica and dance beats on each song, and the harmonies from the Jump5 kids work quite nicely.

There are two major strengths from Jump5: wonderful harmonies and outstanding lyrics. Let's face it, though, there is very little stylistic variety (one ballad, "Love Ya Too Much," is the variety), as I wish Jump5 would have been more influenced by a dance troupe such as The Tribe (formerly World Wide Message Tribe) or ZOEgirl or Raze. All the backing vocals are not supplied by Jump5; some noticeable names included are Chris Rodriguez and Leigh Cappilino (the latter, of the Women of Faith worship team).

Don't let the hit's dance theme and beat fool you. These songs are incredibly Jesus-based. In fact, I'll be bold enough to say that this project is dance praise and worship. I've heard of prayer-walking; now Jump5 has introduced prayer-dancing! Yes, you'll hear "J5 in the house! jump! jump! jump!" but the second person that is used here? It's not to Jump5's peers (with a few visible and pertinent exceptions, including the assurance that "God loves you so"), but to Jesus Christ.

A concern about this debut project is that it's under 40 minutes. I'd like to think that a good house party should last for about an hour. Jump5 calls its "Start Jumpin'," the "bonus track" perhaps because it's the closest to "secular."

I contend Jump5 is indeed "what you see is what you get." The music leaves much to be desired due to lack of originality, but the "tweens" have turned in a debut project with strong lyrics and a beat that's just fine for its intended audience.

Olin Jenkins  August 19, 2001


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