There is a certain irony in inducting this gem of a record into the Hall of Fame. I just returned from a 10 day trip to Australia and it was only yesterday that I realized Sheppard is an Australian group. The song has been in constant rotation on my iPhone for the past several months and I had always assumed they were American. Shame on me! Given that the word Geronimo originates from North American history, I’m sure I can be forgiven.
What strikes me most about this record is the percussion. There’s a constant sense of urgency and relentless energy. It makes me want to get on a treadmill and run until my feet hurt. It’s the 4/4 beat, use of tom fills, light clapping on the wings, and other miscellaneous percussion that fills in the space. It’s really well done with each section of the song flowing smoothly into the next, ensuring that you stay on this ride until the very end.
Emotionally, this is a song that embodies pop at its best — fun, playfulness, and joy. You can picture kids running through a waterfall, shouting Geronimo, and jumping down into a big pool of water. The backing ad-libs “bombs away” adds nicely to the effect. It’s an original theme that doesn’t feel borrowed from any tracks that I’ve heard in the recent past.
Is jumping through a waterfall all that the song is about? What pushes a good song up a notch is having layers to an already great theme. Underneath the idea of jumping through a waterfall is a story of love and love lost, as described in the verses and bridge. It’s a topic that isn’t necessarily all fun and joy, but the song takes it there effortlessly.
While checking the credits, I looked at the song’s chart action and I am a little surprised that the record didn’t do better in the US. I have always been curious as to why a record might do incredibly well in 1 english-speaking territory (Australia) but not have a similar level of traction in another. Is it cultural? Was there less marketing dollars in the US? Were other simultanous releases crowding out the record? Inquiring minds want to know!! (hit me up if you have experience in this area with some knowledge to share)
No matter what the charts may say, it’s a fun record. It’ll make your heart beat a little faster and your head feel a little lighter. The perfect record to relieve the winter doldrums.