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WMBR’s Top Five Songs With Handclaps

Handclaps: the most primitive of percussions. Today, they are used in rock and pop music to add a sense of authenticity (or an air of naiveté, in the case of twee bands). When used poorly, they are a disaster, but in the right hands (get it?), the claps are a powerful tool. It was tough to distill out a top five, and many worthy candidates were passed over, but here are five great songs where handclaps make a prominent appearance.

Disclaimer: Neither The Tech nor WMBR is responsible for any injuries which should occur as a result of listening to these songs while operating a motor vehicle.

5. The Knife: “Heartbeats” – The handclaps are synthetic, but the emotion is real. Everyone knows this song because of the Sony Bravia ad with all the bouncy balls and the José González cover of this song. It’s a shame so few people realize The Knife had the original version, because, well, it’s better. Way better. But these guys are gods in Sweden, so I guess thats some consolation – plus, they get health care.

4. The Mountain Goats: “This Year” – Subtle but pervasive, these are handclaps of necessity – the kind of handclaps that push a 17-year-old not to let his stepfather get the best of him.

3. The Magnetic Fields: “The Death of Ferdinand de Saussure” – In the run for my favorite track off of 69 Love Songs, a contest which my brain will never resolve. There are exactly four handclaps in this song, all at once, and they may be the four most glorious in all of music.

2. Broken Social Scene: “Stars and Sons” – I’m pretty sure this song is responsible for a full-on explosion of handclapping in indie rock. This is genuinely one of the best uses of the claps I’ve ever heard, taking the song’s (incredible) bassline and drilling it straight into your head.

1. Eddie Murphy: “Party all the Time” – My girl likes to party all the time, partyallthetime, party alllll the time, clap clap. This song is everything that is wrong with the 80’s. It is like watching a car accident happen – you know it’s awful, but you can’t look away.

Show: Breakfast of Champions

DJ: Ben Shanks

Time slot: Wednesday morning, 8 - 10

Listen by air at 88.1FM or online at wmbr.org. Think you know a thing or two about handclaps? Join the WMBR Staff! E-mail membership@wmbr.org