King Crimson
Beat


3.5
great

Review

by Jigglypuff USER (7 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 54 replies


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist


To many King Crimson fans, Beat is the unspoken adopted child of their large array of classic albums. Rather than focusing on Mellotron-based epics or psychedelic hard rock, Beat is distinctly new wave in sound, if prog-rock in spirit. Many fans felt the songs were far too pop-ish and that King Crimson had "sold out". Happily that is not the case, as once you get past the layer of cheese you'll discover that Beat is an excellent album that kept the spirit of progressive music alive during the era of keytars and skinny ties.

Beat is unique amonst Crimson albums in that it is a concept album, though with an unusual twist. Rather than a "rock opera" that emphasizes the album as a whole, Beat's eight tracks focus on various icons of the Beatnik generation. The result is an original, enjoyable album that even pop fans can admire.

A brief synopsis of each title:

"Neal and Jack and Me" (4:22)
The album's catchy opener features Fripp on Hammond electric organ, and Belew's quirky lyrics (which are full of references to the Beatnik writer duo, Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy).

"Heartbeat" (3:54)
Undeniably cheesy, this is still a great song, and you may actually hear it on the radio from time to time (a rarity with King Crimson!). Subtle time signature changes and a moody guitar melody underscore Bill Bruford's textural drumming and the "backwards" guitar solo.

"Sartori in Tangiers" (3:34)
The antithesis of pop, this Stick-based instrumental is very much Tony Levin's creation. Opening with a pseudo-classical intro, it quickly moves though Hammond and guitar leads, ending only too soon. Note: The title is a clever twist on Kerouac's classic, Satori in Paris.

"Waiting Man" (4:27)
Similar to "Discipline" (from the likewise titled album), this tune reflects KC's fascination with world music. Bruford uses his Simmons electronic percussion pads to create a counterpoint to the bass line. Unfortunately, the lyrics and vocals are not Belew's finest moment.

"Neurotica" (4:48)
Now that's the freaky Crimson we know and love! With Bruford's free-form drumming supporting Belew's bizarre, paranoid lyrics (this is very much his album), this song comes off as full of demented imagery that describes the insanity of a big-city night.

"Two Hands" (3:23)
One of the album's low points, not much more than a simple pop song. No need to go into further detail.

"The Howler" (4:13)
This excellent tune name-checks Allan Ginsberg's classic poem, "Howl". Another catchy guitar figure and nice lyrics.

"Requiem" (6:38)
For all of you wondering, "Where'd Fripp go?", this song is an incredibly original display of Crimprov. Beginning with a distinctly Frippian guitar solo, Bruford's jazzy drumming and Levin's subtle additions flesh out the tune, making for one of the darker Crimson pieces. One of my personal favourites.

Beat maybe not be the best KC album, or the most inventive, but it's still worth adding to the collection of any serious fan and a great listen no matter how dated it seems today.

Adrian Belew: Guitar, Lead Vocal
Robert Fripp: Guitar, Organ, Frippertronics
Tony Levin: Stick, Bass Guitar, Support Vocal
Bill Bruford: Drumming

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars



Recent reviews by this author
John Coltrane A Love SupremeKing Crimson Red
Yes Close to the EdgeKing Crimson In the Court of the Crimson King
King Crimson The Power to BelieveKing Crimson Discipline
user ratings (341)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Matthijs van der Lee (3.5)
Crimson finally give in to the sound of a new decade... but not completely....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Zappa
December 23rd 2003


355 Comments


I agree with most of what you said, except I think 4/5 is being really generous. A 3/5 does it fine. Not a bad album by any means.

Jigglypuff
December 23rd 2003


31 Comments


Maybe 3.5, as I had originally intended.

Feel free to comment, everybody!

Storm In A Teacup
November 27th 2005


13228 Comments


Get the KC-Three of a Perfect Pair DVD and watch Fripps solo on Sartori In Tangier. Prepare to be amazed!

Kage
September 2nd 2006


1172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really like this album, if not in a bit of a different way than the other KC stuff. It's incredibly unique, and I love the 80s sound of it. But that's the only flaw in it, that it does appear to be slightly stuck in its time period, very much unlike most of KC's material, which is timeless.

Just a thought, but perhaps Sartori in Tangiers also alludes to William Burroughs' (a beat author) Naked Lunch, which takes place (sort of) in Interzone, a falsified version of the city of Tangeirs?

Arock
November 29th 2006


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i give it a 4 as well. i really like this album. every song is way more complex than it sounds and they all make a great use of polyrhythms. In a way i think that it sounds very 80's but that very exceptable in relation to the musicianship.

My fave was the track "waiting Man" i mean first off you may not think Belew's lyrics are very good but i for one like them a lot, and second he is also singing in polyrhythm. They are such weighted words. Bruford does excellent on the drums and the percussion done over that is incredible. This is my fav use of the stick ever, this song is both happy and sad. Great solo by belew

Kage
December 29th 2006


1172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Waiting Man is awesome, I love when they have instrumental section in the middle and then they go back into the vocal chorus.

Two Hands is a frustrating song. It really brings down the album and is boring. The lyrics are terrible; they were written by Belew's wife and they sound like pseudo-peotic, trying-too-hard-to-be-artsy tripe. Anyway, everything else on here is great.

joshuatree
Emeritus
June 7th 2009


3742 Comments


this is actually pretty dec don't know why it's so hated by crimson fans

a couple songs really suck tho there's a bit of filler but it's not that bad

shindip
October 25th 2009


3536 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Not as bad as Islands, but still not too great.

Chumley
January 30th 2011


14 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not too great compared to Discipline, but but there's some terrific stuff on here. Compared to how Yes handled the 80s...

krig9412
April 12th 2011


794 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Even so, Waiting Man is a awesome song. The live version you can find on Youtube is a great remix that the band did.

Betacra
March 6th 2012


307 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album is at least a 3.5, I feel maybe some people have been a little harsh on it.

eggsvonsatan
March 6th 2012


1087 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Love KC, hate this album.

Betacra
March 6th 2012


307 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well, if you hate it you might want to change your rating to something that signifies such a strong word?

KILL
April 27th 2012


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

neurotica

exotica

oooooooooooooooo

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

Parallels
June 7th 2012


6643 Comments


IIM WHEELS
IIIIIIIIM MOVING WHEELS
IM A 1952 Studebaker Coupe

Chortles
September 7th 2012


18102 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

pretty good album

Digging: Cocteau Twins - Treasure

Snooze00
December 26th 2012


245 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ill give it a pass. It has all the awfullness that was the 80's sound but potrayed in such a well thought out and interesting way. I like the review too. Definately not there worst album.

Minus.
December 28th 2012


2680 Comments


"Ill give it a pass. It has all the awfullness that was the 80's sound but potrayed in such a well
thought out and interesting way"


I just lost brain cells

Snooze00
December 30th 2012


245 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Plz stop stalking me.

ButteryBiscuitBass
February 15th 2013


10349 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sartori in Tangiers is epic.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy