In the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary music, few bands blend rhythm and melody as compellingly as The Smile. “Read The Room by The Smile,” the latest track from this group, is a masterclass in rhythmic complexity and innovation.

Tom Skinner: The Jazz-Infused Backbone of The Smile

Tom Skinner, whose drumming prowess anchors The Smile, brings a rich history of musical experiences to the table. Known for his work with the acclaimed jazz band Sons of Kemet, Skinner’s foray into the world of alternative rock is marked by his intricate and dynamic drumming style. His collaboration with Greenwood dates back to the 2012 film soundtrack for “The Master,” laying the foundation for their future musical endeavors.

In “Read The Room,” Skinner’s contribution is pivotal. The track’s rhythmic complexity, featuring time signatures like 4/4, 5/4, 11/8, 12/8, and culminating in 11/4, showcases Skinner’s versatility and finesse. For fans of Radiohead and exploratory music, Skinner’s drumming is a gateway to understanding the fusion of rock’s intensity with jazz’s rhythmic sophistication.

My Journey of Deciphering the Beat

Inspired by the rhythmic intricacy of “Read The Room,” I embarked on a quest to unravel its time signatures. This isn’t just an analytical exercise; it’s a deep dive into the creative genius of The Smile, particularly the rhythmic innovations driven by Skinner.

The Process: Counting Beats on a Notepad

I created a simple yet effective video to guide viewers through the song’s rhythm. In the video, which I’ll share below, I have a notepad with numbers representing the beats in each measure. As the song plays, I tap along with a pencil, visually and audibly marking the tempo and time signature changes. This method allows viewers to follow along and understand the complex timing of the song.

Watch and Learn: The Video Breakdown

Breaking Down “Read The Room” by The Smile

“Read The Room” is a rhythmic tapestry woven with intricate time signatures. Here’s a detailed breakdown of each section, accompanied by images from my notepad that I used in the YouTube video, to help you visualize and understand the song’s structure.

1. A Section: Intro and Verse

Half-time feel, approximately 60 bpm

  • INTRO:
    • Time Signature: Alternates between 4/4, 6/4, and 5/4.
    • Structure: 4 6 4 4 | 4 5 4 4
  • VERSE:
    • Time Signature: Mainly in 5/4.
    • Structure: 4 5 4 4 (repeated 4 times)

2. B Section: The Shift to 11/8

  • The rhythm transitions to an 11/8 time signature, marked by an accented pattern: 2 2 2 2 3, repeated 9 times. This section ends with a measure in 12/8, seamlessly transitioning back to the A section’s half-time feel.

3. A Section: Instrumental Jam

  • This section showcases Tom Skinner’s improvisational prowess.
  • Time Signature: Fluctuates between 4/4 and 5/4.
  • Structure: 4 4 5 | 4 4 5 | 4 4

4. Return to B Section

  • Mirrors the first B section with its distinctive 11/8 time signature.
  • Like the previous B section, ending with a measure in 12/8
  • Followed by a single measure of the A section’s 4/4 half-time feel.

5. C Section: Culmination in 11/4

  • The song culminates in an 11/4 time signature, where the quarter note drives the beat to the end.
  • Structure: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 (continues to the end)
  • The opening to this section starts with a fantastic guitar riff beginning the 11/4 ending

Each section of “Read The Room” reflects The Smile’s innovative approach to rhythm, blending the unpredictable nature of jazz with the emotive power of alternative rock. Through this song, the band invites us on a journey through complex rhythms and time signatures, challenging and captivating listeners with every beat.

Exploring Rhythmic Foundations: The Perfect Drum Set for Kids

As we delve into the complexities of rhythm and time signatures in “Read The Room,” it’s essential to remember the foundations. For young music enthusiasts aspiring to understand such complexities, starting with the right instruments is crucial. If you’re in search of the ideal drum set for your budding drummer, check out our guide on finding the best drum sets for kids. This guide will help you navigate the choices and find a drum set that’s not only kid-friendly but also conducive to learning the intricacies of rhythm.

Conclusion: The Rhythmic Journey in ‘Read The Room’

In conclusion, our exploration of “Read The Room by The Smile” reveals a fascinating world of rhythmic complexity. Firstly, we ventured through the alternating time signatures in the A section, showcasing a blend of conventional and unconventional beats. Following that, the B section’s shift to 11/8 offered a glimpse into the song’s creative depth. Furthermore, the instrumental jam in the second A section highlighted Tom Skinner’s exceptional skills, while the return to the B section and the final 11/4 C section culminated this rhythmic odyssey.

This track stands as a testament to the innovative spirit of Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, and Tom Skinner. It challenges listeners and musicians alike to think beyond traditional structures. Additionally, for those starting their musical journey, it emphasizes the importance of understanding rhythm’s fundamentals, as explored in our guide to selecting the best drum sets for kids.

Ultimately, “Read The Room” is more than just a song; it’s a masterclass in rhythmic ingenuity. It encourages us to listen actively and appreciate the nuances that make music a boundless form of expression. Whether you’re a seasoned musician or a curious listener, the journey through its time signatures is sure to leave you inspired and eager to explore more.