Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.
Swayze’s album The Beginning combines his trademark funky feeling, strong singing and solid lyric writing skills into a package that is slickly produced. It has lots of fun moments on it, but I also felt there were some hidden depths in some of the songs that were a nice touch. Everything comes together to make up some of the grooviest synth-based music out there right now.
No discussion of Swayze's music can begin without talking about his voice. It’s sharp, clear and full of expression. He can add some nice growl to it or make it slide smoothly, and all that energy he pours into it only lifts the overall energy level of the music to even greater heights. I am pretty sure his music would be less engaging if he didn’t have as strong a voice.
The mixture of a strong groove, funky bass and guitar and some jazz influence in the synth sounds really does add up to some tasty stuff on The Beginning. The music sits in that pocket and makes some hip-rotating, butt-shaking vibes happen while there’s lot of character in the funkified musical elements that ends up being infectious.
The Beginning is an album that also shows off Swayze’s songwriting abilities. He has some super entertaining rhymes on the album, along with moments where I realize that some deeper comments about bigger issues are being made. He’s never even close to preachy or anything of that nature, but there’s still a message there if one listens out for it. I like how subtle it is and how it integrates itself into the fun nature of the rest of the album.
This is also really nicely produced album. It has a clarity and flow to it that allows all of the other elements within it to shine. Swayze’s voice is front and center, but all of the other parts of the music have their space too and it all makes a cohesive-sounding recording.
My Favorite Tracks Analyzed
“Overdrive” has a nice mixture of pulsing waves of bass, a driving beat with glowing synths dancing over top of it. There’s some fun drum fills and an oscillating bass line with a funky quality that kicks in. I am drawn to Swayze’s strong, expressive voice that adds a punch to the lyrics as the rising melody hits hard. There’s a great segment with some funky guitar and then a ripping, shimmering synth solo dances into the music.
I like the storytelling in this song as a tale of love on the run unfolds. It begins with the declaration, “I've got no problem with that backseat loving, as long as its with you. We're on the run from everyone: The Crazy Six and the men with guns and they won't rest until we're through.”
As our narrator says, “But I'm alright, 'cause here tonight We're living it up, won't ever give up, one goal in mind.” The love interest in the story tells our narrator to, “push down the pedal and put our love in overdrive!” and adds, “the need for each other is all that we have.”
The images and sensations in the final lines are descriptive as in this lyric, “The neon skyline ends when we see coastline. Prophecy's come true.” Ultimately our narrator says, “ Hold my hand girl, we'll get through this There's nothing else that we can do.”
The jazzy organ and fun percussion in “Sidewalk” adds a nice vibe to everything. I really get into the disco beat and the super cool sounding synth line over it. There’s an exuberant energy to Swayze’s singing here and the beat is energizing and moves the whole track, creating booty shake as it goes. I also enjoy the electric bass breakdown and the slap bass that moves through. The guitar solo has a cool feeling and a nice tone as it flies and zings along, adding more layers to the track.
This song tells the tale of an uncertain relationship. In the song, our narrator says, “You know it's on my mind, frankly it's all the time. Wondering if you are mine Won't ya just give me some kind of sign?!” I like how Swayze plays and has fun with rhyming in lines like, “True love is on the left. Heartbreak is on the right. I don't even care this time, so come on baby and pick a side.”
The way the chorus is phrased is entertaining as our narrator wants a decision. He says, “Don't you try to walk all over my Sunday. You just got gotta go! (If you're nothing but talk than use the sidewalk.) I won't be frowning waking up on my Monday, knowing we're both alone!"
His friends tell him to be careful but, “then you show up on a Friday night and you're wearing that dress, oh dear. And I can't think straight 'cause your body's moving…” before the sting in the tail of the line, “You whisper into my ear: ‘Hey, come here, meet my boyfriend.’ “
The song bounces back and forth between the narrator saying “I think she might be the one” before jumping to “Well this just might fall apart. You're as hard to read as a book at night.” Again lots of fun is being had here.
The words that best capture the relationship in this song are, “Well you know it ain't right, but you know it ain't quite wrong” as our narrator thinks she might the the right one, but all she does is “turn and run.”
I also got a laugh out of this little set of lines, “Get out of my lane if you think I'm insane. If you wanna carpool, that’s cool. But if you're acting like a child, I'm gonna drop you off at school.”
“Oh Jenni” has an an ease and a smoothness to it that I enjoy from the nice jazz inflected synths to the gentle glide of the beat along with Swayze’s passionate, warm voice. I can really get into the cool jazz organ-like synth on the track. I also like how all of the musical elements support Swayze’s singing especially the way in which his vocals are doubled by the electric guitar.
Here we have a Hollywood love story involving Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen and Jennifer Grey. I enjoy the tale that this song spins out, true or not. There’s a rather deep expression of emotion in lines like, “I don't know what to say about it, there seems to be excitement in the air. Thought I knew how I felt about ya, but now I'm sure I don't know much at all.”
The sense of being unsure comes through in the words, “When you sit beside me during those long table readings or when we practice lifts down in the pond, I get the feeling it's not just my heart that's beating. I wanna tell you, but how will you respond?”
The chorus asks, “Oh Jenni! You don't know what to say to me say, you don't know what to say to me now do you do you do you, baby?”
The character of Patrick Swayze in the song says to Jennifer Grey, “Just can't believe this is happening to us, It's our characters that are supposed to fall in love” and he aches with sincerity as he says, “Just give me a sign, and let me know you're my lady, And all of that gossip about you and Charlie is through.”
“I Don’t Believe in Love”
There’s a deeply funky feeling to “I Don’t Believe in Love” from the groovy guitar sounds to the wandering, jazzy lead synth and from the energetic percussion to the “in the pocket” way that the drums and bass interlock. I find the beat infectious and I really dig the guitar tone on this song. There’s also a fun, shimmering synth solo on it that fit in well. I think the best way to describe every element of this track is that it’s tasty.
This is another classic song about the idea of true love and its existence. There’s some fun rhyming going on in lines like, “Full stop. Nice top. Hang around 'till the hook drops” and “Last call. Free for all. To ride this you must be this tall.”
The song’s narrator has one thing on his mind as he says, “Well it's been nice just sitting here chatting, But is it me or have we got things to do. We could just let the night pass gums a'flapping. But I think there might be a better way to get to know you.”
Everything’s fine when they’re back at his place and “there’s a flame” but then, “you say that word and it spoils all the fun.”
After that, it all changes. As the chorus says, “Well I'm sorry babe but I don't believe in love. Once you get you some, you just can't get enough” and adds, “I do believe we'd all be better off, If we all agreed there's just no such thing as love."
The song proceeds to explain that “Murder, heartache, death, war. Love can be the cause, don't you gimme what for” and then cleverly, “Caesar, Antony, Cleopatra. How many tragedies must I throw at ya?”
No matter what happens, the narrator’s having none of it. As the lyrics say, “Your efforts to convert me, just a waste of time. Seen enough of this old world, to plainly see—love it just ain't all it's cracked up to be.”
The resolve cracks a little in the lines as he wonders why he’s “thinking about it” and adds, “ Ooooh well it does seem appealing now doesn't it? And I'm thinking: ‘Huh...Nah haha!” The chorus hits again to take us out.
“The Beginning” has an interesting mixture of minor key melancholy, energetic movement and howling electric guitar. Swayze’s voice hits hard, full of expression, while the solid drums thunder over the impassioned notes of the electric guitar. I like how the funkier sound of the guitar moves in and solos intricately over that relentless beat which drives the track onward.
There’s a message of unity and connection in this song that’s more powerful than one might first think. The sense of disruption and danger comes through as “Patrick” says, “I see the lightning, hear the thunder. That's not the way things used to be.”
The plea for coming together is clear in the lines, “There is a current in the water to restore the way things were back then, before The Fake came down and got us before we split into us and them.” There’s hope in the words, “I believe it's coming back this way. And I can feel it on its way back here. You may not like it, but you'll face your fear ‘cause I believe it's coming back.”
Hope rises in the words of “The Kid” who says, “I believe that I can't fight this funky feeling, I've got to be believing, I've got to know. I said I believe that I can unite the minds of reason with a heart and soul of feeling.” I enjoy the sincerity in the lines of The Kid that say, “Are you sure that I'm the guy!? If you say it's true, if you say that it is so...then you know that I'll try."
Final Thoughts (What's the Verdict?)
In summary, Swayze brings the funk with The Beginning and keeps the groove going. He’s a slick vocalist, has musical chops for days and also seems to really enjoy what he does. I get the sense of passion from every part of the album and that kind of passion is infectious, especially when attached to great music.