“Got to believe somebody”
A 1993 Top Ten single in the UK, Jump They Say was a taster for the upcoming David Bowie/Nile Rodgers produced Black Tie White Noise album.
According to Bowie, the song tackled his feelings about his schizophrenic half-brother Terry, who had taken his own life in January 1985. The lyrics tell of a desperate man driven to a terrible act by the pressures put upon him. Bowie also cited his own feelings about jumping into the unknown metaphysically. Musically, the influence of Nile Rodgers led to a funk-based sound, though the track was also influenced by contemporary jazz, with a solo from Avant-jazz trumpeter Lester Bowie.
As the first single from the album, Jump They Say received a considerable promotional push with widespread press advertising and a slew of promotional 12" singles. The following year Jump: The David Bowie Interactive CD-ROM was released, wherein endless mixes of the song and versions of the video could be created.
The promotion also included a darkly stylish video shot by Mark Romanek, depicting Bowie as a businessman paranoid of his colleagues, who seemingly conduct experiments on him and force him to jump from the roof of the corporate building.
The video was influenced by Jean-Luc Godard's 1965 film Alphaville, Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971), as well as Chris Marker's film La jetée and Orson Welles' The Trial - both from 1962. The uniformed women shown monitoring Bowie through high powered telescopes are an homage to the stewardesses in the Pan-Am space plane in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The video was praised by Entertainment Weekly after Bowie passed in 2016, saying “Bowie is an excellent actor, and this video may be his best character performance in a music video.”
We happen to agree, but you can make up your own mind about that here.