Where It's At
by Beck

Album: Odelay (1996)
Charted: 35 61
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Songfacts®:

  • Much of this song makes reference to early hip-hop when DJs would loop drum breaks (using two turntables) and hype the crowd (with a microphone). It also relates to Beck's early years as a musician, as the line, "Pulling out jobs and jamboree handouts" is about his years touring wherever he could and taking odd jobs to get by. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Zach - Oklahoma City, OK
  • Parts of the song are based on a 1969 middle-school sex education album called "Sex For Teens (Where It's At)." Samples from the album appear throughout the song, for instance: "What about those who swing both ways: AC-DC." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ryan - Grand Rapids, MN
  • Beck (from Rolling Stone magazine): "I came up with that little riff on the Wurlitzer organ, and said I gotta remember this. (The producers) The Dust Brothers were like-minded. We were drawn to the way drums had been recorded in the Sixties and early Seventies: sort of a heavy, dry, thick, soulful sound."
  • The "That was a good drum break" sample comes from a 1989 song by The Frogs called "I Don't Care if U Disrespect Me (Just So You Love Me)." The Frogs were an outrageous and often subversive rock band from Milwaukee led by the brothers Jimmy and Dennis Flemion (Dennis died in 2012 after drowning). Their high profile admirers included Beck, Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Meat Puppets.
  • The spoken lyrics "let's make it out, baby" came from a guy named Eddy who would hang around the studio. Mike Simpson, one of the Dust Brothers who produced the album, recalled in a MusicRadar interview: "He was this crazy guy who builds custom cars like the Batmobile and stuff like that. He was just another of these nutty characters who hung out with us. He was a jovial guy who spoke broken English. So Beck would ask him to talk about stuff, and we'd just plug in the mic and Eddy would just go crazy."
  • Because most thought Beck was destined to be a one-hit-wonder after "Loser," the Dust Brothers took their time perfecting Odelay without the pressure to produce a hit. "It was great to make a record with nobody looking over our shoulders, nobody anticipating what we were going to do, so we were freed up," said Simpson.

    But that's not to say there wasn't any pressure, particularly with this track. Simpson explained: "Beck had a concept in mind for Odelay and kind of wanted to make a different record to one he'd made before. But at the same time he didn't want to alienate the fans that he already had, especially after the success of 'Loser'. So we kind of had this idea that 'Where It's At' would be this kind of bridge to connect his previous work with the rest of the album.

    I thought it was a nice blend of Beck sounding really good rapping, but then lots of nice musical elements. The horns and the keyboard riff just takes you back to shows like The Wonder Years. It's one of those riffs that makes you reminisce back to your childhood."
  • This was featured in the 1998 thriller Fallen, starring Denzel Washington and in the 2011 dramedy Young Adult, starring Charlize Theron. It was also used in the TV shows Daria ("College Bored," 1997), Gilmore Girls ("The Breakup: Part 2," 2001), and Futurama ("Bendin' in the Wind," 2001).

Comments: 6

  • Jamboree Handoot from UsI always thought he said "let's make it our baby"
  • Cornflakes from Bfe, TnAnd yes, it was Bowie's "Diamond Dogs" that Beck covered.
  • Cornflakes from Bfe, TnYou can credit Mantronix for this one; Beck samples "Needle On The Groove" which contains the essential "Two turntables and a microphone" line that this song revolves around.
  • Justin from Green Bay, Wigreat song by beck. this was the second music video i saw of him after loser. he uses great imagery in all of his songs and i have total respect for him as a songwriter. his style is always changing and i see him as the present day david bowie. (i believe he did a cover of a bowie song)
  • Eddie from Philadelphia, WaNice song, but I'm a huge Beck fan so of course I dig it. We need to get Lost Cause up here. And we need to find out the names of the girls in the Loser video so we can do image searches of them. Did I sound creepy just then. Oops, I'm normal...really
  • Paul from Cincinnati, Oh"Where it's at" is not bad grammar...Anyway, my favorite line in the song is "Members Only hypnotizers move through the room like ambulance drivers." It's odd that I'm the first one to comment on this song whereas all his other songs have been commented on at least three songs...I've always liked this song- the organ part and the chorus line are the best parts. Also, it has extensive sampling in it and many random non-sequiters thrown in to keep it interesting. It is a little bit long for a single though. Another song I was surprised was not a bigger hit was Sexx Laws, which I thought was a cool song when it came out at the time. That was actually the first music video by Beck that I actually saw at the time it came out. There really were a ton of cool videos at that time...another one was Take A Picture by Filter..somebody needs to set up a SongFacts page for that classic. Anyway, that is all.
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