Ever since I first listened to “Finger Back” by Vampire Weekend, this opening drum beat struck me. It reappears throughout the whole song and never loses that intensity. I tried to somehow get behind why it is so special and I came up with a possible way of explaining it.
Vampire Weekend, Finger Back
So in detail, the Pool, created with the Pool Tool:
Pool Phenomenon Explanation
Fast Hardcore drum beat. 170-210 bpm. Bass drum on beat 1 and 3. Snare on 2 and 4. Each Bass drum/Snare hit on beats as either single or double (as eighth notes). No or unremarkable Hi-hat.
The National, Brainy 0:07-0:22
Billy Talent, Red Flag 0:00-0:13
(This is an example of how not-so-great music can still work as an excerpt to make a point..)
Jamie T., Operation 0:15-0:35 (live recording)
So when it comes to the “Finger Back” drum beat, I listen to it in the same way than I do to the three examples of the pool. But there is that tiny difference to them which creates all the magic:
Same drum beat, but with a change in every second out of four bars. There, the expected two snare eights notes are replaced by Hi-hat hits. This is the difference to the original Pool phenomenon.
As a result, the high-energy Hardcore beat is distracted regularly by a Reggaeton-like insertion (Hi-hat hits), which creates a slowing, half-time feel. And as an effect, the Hardcore beat gets even more momentum every time it reenters.
Anyone listening to it differently?
Vampire Weekend, Finger Back 0:00-0:25