“Maps” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs – 2003 – Brian Chase – 120 bpm
This month’s groove is an interesting take on the 3-3-2 that comes to us from Brian Chase and Yeah Yeah Yeahs 2003 hit “Maps.” A 3-3-2 is a 4/4 groove that instead of dividing the pulse into four quarters or a faster two halfs feel, divides the measure into two pulses of three and one of two. 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +. What makes this one different than what one usually hears, other than the interesting orchestrational choice around the kit, is the downplay of the downbeat. In a 3-3-2 the 1 is normally accented the same if not more than the the other two strong pulses. Chase delays that feel, giving a strong backbeat to a groove that usually downplays having one.
Maps is a two measure groove with it’s foundation being running eighth notes on the kick drum. Snares fall on the 2+ and 4 of each measure. The beginning of the first measure has a 1 e + on the floor tom, which then turns to syncing with the bass drum. The second measure starts with the first three eighth notes played on the high tom as well as the floor tom.
As the song ramps up a bit for the second half of the verse, Chase adds in hihat stomps with his foot on the first four eighth notes of each measure. He then improvs this adding more hihats to up the anticipation of the chorus.
While we’re focusing on the verse for our article, there is no reason to not take your students through the whole song. The chorus and bridge have relatively simple parts compared to the rest of the song, while maintaining that displaced 3-3-2 feel. As a whole Maps is a great lesson on how to write beats that support building excitement in a song. The parts are interesting and hooky in their own right, but do not get in the way of anything else in the song.
What would you choose for groove of the month. Let us know in the comments below or send us a tweet @musiciansnotes with the hashtag #gotm. As always you can practice the previous grooves of the month with our spotify playlist, embedded below. Make sure to check back often for new content, including our current series on four mallet grips, and as always, make sure to like, comment, subscribe, all that stuff. Let’s hit it.
Groove of the month is a monthly column dedicated to drumset beats that generally do not fall into my standard teaching patterns. They tend to be interesting beats that function on a few different levels, that way the beat can be used with many different students for many different reasons