Is “Beat It” The Best Rock Song Of 2008?
As already noted, the top debut on the Billboard’s singles chart this week was “Beat It,” Fall Out Boy and John Mayer’s energetic cover of the Michael Jackson megahit. It may be a bit premature to declare this the best rock song of the year, but “Beat It”–and its success–could signify several promising developments for the state of rock.
• If Guitar Hero has inspired Fall Out Boy and John Mayer to rock hard and fast, imagine what it will do to musicians who already kind of do?
• Emo kids already dress hair-metal; this cover may inspire them to play it.
• Fall Out Boy now has three hits that aren’t ballads. Perhaps established rock bands will realize there is actual commercial potential for songs that aren’t slow, turgid, or any other quality we associate with Nickelback.
• This song’s success might keep Fall Out Boy from putting out so many damn ballads themselves.
• Patrick Stump can sing pretty well, and he avoids that anonymous, butt-cleching nasal tone we associate with most emo acts. Hell, in the world of emo this kid is Teddy Pendergrass or something.
• The return of the instrumental solo to pop music. Today the guitar, tomorrow the saxophone!