The Rhythm Thief

Album: Lil' Beethoven (2002)

Songfacts®:

  • The first track on Lil' Beethoven, "The Rhythm Thief" signifies the theme of the album: classical music with none of the techno beats Sparks had used in the past. Ron Mael did the orchestrations.
  • There is a furious string section on this track, but the only percussion on the track comes from kettle drums, creating a powerful contrast.
  • Regarding the line, "Auf wiedersehen to the beat," auf wiedersehen means goodbye in German. This is a reference to the many famous composers who came from Germany, including Beethoven, Mozart and Bach.
  • This was a very important song for Sparks, as it got them over a creative hump. "It came at a time when we had written a whole album worth of songs and we weren't 100 percent enthused," Ron Mael said in a Songfacts interview. "We had good songs, but it seemed like just doing good songs at that point wasn't enough to inspire us. So, it was really attempting to start from zero.

    The song 'Rhythm Thief' was working in a way that had worked before and it really pushed us to do a whole album that felt more motivated. I really like that song, and really what it meant creatively to what came after that."
  • Near the end of the song, a synthesized vocal comes in, but gradually fades into the distance, stolen away by the rhythm thief.

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