I had a revelation the other day about the music that I tend to like, and that is that a very large majority of the bands that I truly enjoy don’t keep their bass guitar in the background; they put it out front, and in many case, they even feature it over the other instruments in the band.
Tool, for instance, has been doing this since before they were even a known quantity, and their breakout hit “Sober” is a perfect example of putting the bass out front.
But they didn’t stop there. On the same album, think about the song “intolerance” and just listen to that bass guitar banging away alongside of, not behind or supporting, the guitar riffs.
This carries through to their more recent stuff, too. If you’ve never listened to their song “Reflection” you really need to. Trust me on this one – even if you’re not a rock fan, this song will still catch your fancy.
So I started going through my playlist looking for songs that featured bass, or at least didn’t subordinate it to the other instruments, and found a bunch.
Kidneytheives “Glitter Girl”
Anything Rage Against the Machine ever made, but here’s a good one
Sometimes the bass doesn’t even have to be “out front” to be totally integral to the song, and make it absolutely necessary to making it what it is. A Perfect Circle’s “Gravity” is good example.
But dude, if you want to experience the ultime non-Primus bass guitar experience, try Muse’s “Hysteria” on for size. Yes, that is the bass player doing all that.
Puscifer’s “Lighten up Francis!”
Depeche Mode “Useless”
Even the non-rock songs that I really dig all seem to put the bass out front.
Massive Attack’s “Dissolved Girl” is a great one.
Android Lust’s “Intimate Stranger” is one of my favorites. The vocals in this song are both visceral and almost primeval, in a way that makes them both unpalatable, and yet beautiful at the same time. There’s dissonance in the harmony, and feeling in the way that the vocals leave her body almost as if against her will that wouldn’t be there if she’d just sung it straight up.
Android Lust also does a song called “Stained” that I like. It is a highly stylized and synthesized bass, but whatever, the point still stands.
MGMT “Electric Feel.” Come on, don’t deny it, you know you like it. It’s one of those things no one wants to admit to…
Okay, continuing on the “guilty pleasure’s” front, how about Goldfrapp’s “Strict Machine”?
Okay, so you’ve gotten a view into my playlist a bit today. But the overriding point I was trying to make with this post is that I need more songs, and was wondering if anyone has any recommendations for “bass out front” music that I haven’t heard yet.
Other than Primus.