High 5 (Rock the Catskills)
by Beck

Album: Odelay (1996)
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Songfacts®:

  • This samples Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony." Beck explained to Q magazine July 1997: "We'd started talking about classical music. Grabbed that off the shelf. Nobody was sure if they liked it, but it ended up staying on there. A lot of things we'd just throw into the soup. A lot of times we'd get rid of it later."
  • Beck recalled to Rolling Stone magazine February 21, 2008: "The only people using Moog synthesizers were Stereolab and a couple of Indie bands, so you could go to pawn shops and get them for sixty bucks. I had a pile of them and I'd bring one in and use it until it broke, and then go get another one. There's a lot of that in there. We spent at least three weeks on 'High 5.' I remember people hearing it and they were a little bit confused."
  • This also samples a designer jeans rap, which was taken from a live rap tape done in the early '80s, in which the crowd is admonished to scream out, "ooh, la, la, Sassoon."
  • Beck explained to Mojo that his debut album Mellow Gold "had been recorded altogether in about two weeks, and really it was like demos. I didn't get to take the songs as far as I wanted to." He added that for Odelay "I wanted to use different sounds and instruments. It had been a couple of years, so I had a lot of ideas fermenting. That's what 'High Five' is all about - having too many ideas and throwing them together and watching them just kind of explode." (This interview is available at Rock's Backpages.)
  • Mike Simpson of the Dust Brothers production duo recalled working on this with partner John King and Beck. He told MusicRadar: "This track was just a classic example of what happens when three crazy people get together in one room [Laughs]. Those are the kinds of song that are my favorites. There's no real commercial potential there. But for me who's just a fan of music… I like those the best.

    "A lot of songs you hear now, you hear the first ten seconds of the song and you don't need to listen to any more because it's just the same thing over and over again for about three and a half minutes. 'High 5 (Rock the Catskills)' is one of those songs where it was the ultimate goal to end up with something that's designed for someone with Attention Deficit Disorder. It just keeps you on your toes and really engages you as a listener.

    It's one of those songs you can hear over and over again and find different things every time you listen. To me that's just one of the best songs on the record."

Comments: 1

  • Karl from Ingatestone, United KingdomI played myself the Beck Odelay album last night and wondered how this 1996 hit samples Schubert. i loved it, thanks for letting me buy Odelay
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