An Ode to the Beat

14 Jan

As long as I can remember, I’ve never liked a song without a good beat- gouging my eyes out in the doctor’s office listening to soft rock; even the best slowjams (think: All My Life KC and Jojo?) bore me to tears. For me, good music inspires life- whether it’s a catchy drum riff, a Motown bass line or a kickin’ house beat, a good song’s gotta get my blood moving and my fingers tapping.

Driving home from Vermont earlier this week, my iPod died- a tragedy forcing your fearless writer to brave the uncharted territories of the FM waves… while I cruised through the stations, though, I got into a regular music groove- something I’m only used to on my favorite playlists. I realized, then, speeding on snowy mountain roads and fearing for my life, that good beats are what makes me (and most people I know) tick.

It’s history- tribes around the world use drum beats to tell stories, hold rituals, or signal war. Revolution-era Americans used drums for rowing large ships, or ordering troops on the front lines to fire. Even university bands (re: Drum Line, if I must) use beats to rouse the crowds: built in metronomes and added acoustic power.

So, dear readers, please enjoy: an ode to head bobblingly, toe tappingly genre-spanning beats inspired by my long drive and worthy of noting right here.

Motown was created for mass appeal- and for good reason, since crossing cultural and racial barriers in the early 90’s was a Sisyphean task in all arenas. But the “Motown sound”- heavy back beats, rich vocals and bass lines that make you shake your bootay- caught the ears of record labels everywhere, and took off like wildfire. Stevie Wonder- bring the soul.
Superstition- Stevie Wonder || download

Just… the drum breaks. That is all.

I’m Glad You’re Mine-Al Green || download
Of note: Robin Thicke samples this in his Mahogany, which is really worth listening to if you’re a Robin Thicke fan- the guy is practically the Al Green of our time; toss him on a playlist with a little Musiq Soulchild and you got yourself some all night grooves.

I think it’s safe to say that blues and rock guitar and heavy, stable drum beats pretty much define 70’s and 80’s rock. Bonzo kills the bass drum on Ramble On– and that plastic whatever he plays throughout the whole background is addicting….brings Robert Plant’s Lord of the Rings ramblings right back down to earth.

Ramble On- Led Zeppelin || download

Also featuring:
Legs- ZZ Top
We Won’t Get Fooled Again- The Who

Aerosmith’s Walk This Way has the simplest drum beat ever- yet it’s one of the most famous of its time. Run DMC’s stripped down vocals and innovative (to the 90’s) straightforward beats are decidedly their own. Throw in some turntable dubovers of the drum beat, Joe Perry’s bluesy guitar riff and the occasional Steven Tyler scream and ya got yourself an early mashup and a fusion of hip hop and rock plastered all over Billboard charts. Why, you ask? Because I believe who says they don’t groove to this song even a little, including my 93 year old grandmother. Plus, when Steven Tyler tells you to walk this way… you do.
Walk This Way- Run DMC (Aerosmith)download

Also featuring:

Heart of the City- Jay-Z || download
Side note: arguably one of Jay-Z’s top… 10 songs.

On My Block-Scarface
Ms. Jackson- Outkast

I’ve always been a huge fan of the beat drop. I’m not sure if it’s the build up and then the concurrent breakdown- but the anticipation gets me going every time. Shouts to @kirbstompp– because you know the beat drop connects us deep girlfren. Rocket in the Sky holds a special meaning for me- each and every beat drop. Don’t ask me why… Dance accordingly.

Rocket in the Sky- Benny Benassi || download

Also featuring:
This Time (Klaas Remix)- DJ Antoine
Until I Die- September
Calabria 2007-Enur feat Natasja

And as always, gotta keep it

Maybe it’s Snoop Dogg and his old school education, or maybe it’s The Dream’s massive sex appeal, but either way, this track is booty-shakingly catchy– plus the vid is bizarre.

Also featuring:

Carry Out- Timbaland feat. Justin Timberlake || download

A Milli- Lil Wayne
Somebody Told Me- The Killers
On to the Next One- Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz

I’d love to hear your favorite beats of all time- feel free to add to the list!


One Response to “An Ode to the Beat”

  1. thekidc January 15, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    I don’t know about of all time, but I’ll pull some out of the vault from wayyyyy back in the day:

    Less Than Jake- Help Save the Youth of America | Nervous in the Alley
    (socal punk/ska/pop punk/teen angst shit used to getting me walking on the ceiling and shit)

    See Also: The Berlin Project- Gin and Juice cover, Goldfinger- Superman (Yeeeeahhh Tony Hawk Pro Skater/Kingpin), Reel Big Fish- Take On Me, Mest- What’s the Dillio, Blink 182- Josie

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