Music Monday: Best Basslines

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! Today we're gonna talk about basslines, those things you never notice unless they're very, very, very good. But when they are, boy do they improve a song, right? Scott's picked five good ones but overlooked several on purpose, in hopes you might call him out on what he's missed. Go on, start taking notes so you can put him in his place. Here's the first one:

The Smiths - The Queen is Dead

 

Go find someone who likes The Smiths, and they'll talk for hours about the band. Go find someone who doesn't like The Smiths, and they'll probably say, "I would, if it wasn't for their lead singer." But when this song comes on, it's almost enough to make both sides agree. Andy Rourke knows when to get out of the way of the guitar, and when to make a bold move for control of the song. He might be standing behind Morrissey and Marr, but this song wouldn't be this song without him.

Off to a good start already! Grab your favorite Jaco Pastorius photo and meet Scott after the jump, he's got four more low and ready.

Hey! Remember our Spotify playlist will be featuring a great selection from last week's Music Monday comments. The theme of the mix this time is Political Songs so you can fondly remember those long-ago days when Barack Obama was still the president! But, anyway, before you start cheering/swearing, check out our current Music Monday below.

Marvin Gaye - Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holla)

 

I had to limit each artist on this list to one song only, otherwise What's Going On would have taken five slots by itself. But since I could only pick one, this song won. The mix of smooth street-soundin' vocals over that jazzy bass pretty much set the standard for soul music immediately, and the record still holds up even today. If you've never heard it, fix that as soon as you can. And notice how good the basslines are.

 

Aerosmith - Sweet Emotion

 

There aren't very many times a bass player gets to do a solo as an intro, so that should help illustrate how beloved the low end of "Sweet Emotion" has become. Of course, the original was a hit well before videos were standard, but didn't that help add to the mystery? You might be sick of "Love In An Elevator" but "Sweet Emotion" still sounds fresh every time it sneaks onto your radio.

 

The Who - Boris The Spider

 

Yes, I've skipped a few great ones. No, I couldn't skip John Entwistle. This song might not have the smartest Who lyrics, but it certainly has one of the best basslines. Even over computer speakers you can still feel your lungs shaking, can't you?

 

Muse - Hysteria

 

Bass tracks normally aren't paced like guitar solos. That's part of the beauty of this Muse song. By just letting Christopher Wolstenholme just open it up, Muse creates something that's instantly recognizable and showcases just how hard a bassist can rock, when needed.

 

Scott would also like to add that that first person to post a Stranglers song in the comments will get his undying love and affection. Other than that, go nuts! Post what he missed! Then visit our Turntable.fm room for the regular Music Monday enjoyment, probably with much less bass… but you never know with them. Also, let us just remind you once again: some images come from the corresponding Wikipedia page and are here under fair use.