What Makes This Song Great (youtube series)

There is a wonderful Youtube series that’s been out for a few years where Beato breaks down a specific song, goes through a ton of details, recording process, theory, etc.

Aside from his knowledge and passion, what really makes it unique is that artists and labels supply him with iso tracks so he can play things separately and discuss different aspects that you might never notice in the mixed track. Probably 95% of what he breaks down is way over my head, but it is addictive listening to this concept. Put on headphones and dive in!

Really cool to hear bass parts separately- and see what a difference the bass brings to the table when you hear the full mix.

Word of warning though, it is easy to fall in the rabbit hole and not emerge until several hours later. He has enough of a cataloge now that you are sure to find an artist/song that you are into- although I have also gained new respect for songs that I really never cared about until watching an episode.

Based on the success of this series, he is starting to interview artists now as well. I’ve only seen one so far, Sting- and it was really good.

Here is the latest What Makes This Song Great- Blink 182.


This series is fantastic and makes me want to learn more theory just so I can have an idea of what he’s talking about.


Yep knowing theory opens up a whole new realm but unfortunately a lot of people are not willing to put in the time and effort required :slightly_smiling_face:

I got more involved in learning more about music theory many years ago because of the song City of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie. No matter where I looked I could not find an accurate lead sheet. So I decided I would just make my own. I discovered very quickly that most songs can be broken down into simple versions using just 3 or 4 chords, assuming there are no key changes to muddy the waters. Take a look at this Axis of Awesome video and you will get the idea. :+1:



Rabbit hole for sure! I started with that series then got into looking at his top 20 lists and am diving into the comments of bass rock intros for more songs…


The big thing I learned from this series was about how orchestral most songs are. Meaning, when you look at the individual parts, each one may not sound like something special but when you put them all together, they create musical magic.

I used to focus so heavily on the individual elements I have been prone to missing the interactions between them. Which is a shame since a lot of what bass does is based on those interactions.

I don’t know if this is strange or not, but I didn’t want to learn this. I love a bass line that can stand on its own but that’s not how most songs work.

It forced me to come to terms with how truly difficult it is to master playing the bass, despite what so many people think.

It started with Rick Beato, then Adam Neely spelled it out for me, then @JoshFossgreen taught me how it works. Not that I get it all yet but I’m working on it.

Dang, there is so much I could say on just the topic of learning what I don’t even know that I don’t know. Not enough time in the day.


@eric.kiser Wow, Eric… getting deep with this topic, I love it. Yeah, I know what you mean about hearing individual elements- my brain sometimes locks in to certain things on some songs, maybe a cool guitar riff or drum pattern, and then I’m not always aware of everything as a whole. (and may not even pay attention to other parts) I may hear that same song at a different time on a different sound system, in the car, etc and suddenly hear bass or keys or backing vocals and be blown away as if I’m hearing it for the first time.

But yeah, when I hear iso tracks that can often sound stark and bare- once you hear everything mixed in and working together, it somehow becomes magic! In a weird way, it has helped me gain confidence in my bass playing. The things I hear while practicing at home can over-emphasize imperfections and makes me more self conscious- but once I am rehearsing with a full band, with all the various elements coming together, its much easier to convince myself I am in fact almost a rock star. :rofl:

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Another really nice episode. Put on some headphones :headphones: and enjoy the brilliance of Colin Moulding’s bass work.

XTC, one of my top 3 favorite bands of all time.