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King Crimson

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King Crimson Beat album cover
3.09 | 1421 ratings | 88 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Neal and Jack and Me (4:21)
2. Heartbeat (3:54)
3. Sartori in Tangier (4:22)
4. Waiting Man (4:22)
5. Neurotica (4:47)
6. Two Hands (3:22)
7. The Howler (4:10)
8. Requiem (6:30)

Total Time 35:48

Line-up / Musicians

- Adrian Belew / guitar, lead vocals, percussion (3)
- Robert Fripp / guitar, organ, Frippertronics
- Tony Levin / Chapman Stick, bass, backing vocals
- Bill Bruford / drums & percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Rob O'Connor

LP EG ‎- EGLP 51 (1982, UK)

CD EG ‎- 821 194-2 (1984, Germany)
CD EG ‎- EGCD 51 (1991, US) Remastered by Robert Fripp & Tony Arnold
CD Virgin ‎- CDVKC9 (2001, Europe) 30th Anniv. remaster by Robert Fripp & Simon Heyworth

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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KING CRIMSON Beat ratings distribution

(1421 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (16%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

KING CRIMSON Beat reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars 2,5 stars for this one max!!

Although there are some tracks on this album that are maybe better written and executed than on the previous Discipline album, I rate this album rather lower than its predecessor, and in some ways, it's much less essential, because I get a "carbon-copy" feeling about this album. The blue artwork is also uninviting, whereas Discipline's was at least somewhat interesting.

Certainly the instrumental Sartori In Tangier and Requiem are good enough tracks to have fitted on Discipline, but the rest of the tracks are simply too poppy-prog. Don't get me wrong the music is anything but "dumb 80's pop", but it does have a lot of poppy characteristics, mostly in the structure: Rather short tracks with plenty of verse-chorus repetition and a very pop/new wavish profile that makes the music so 80's-typed/dated to my liking (thinking of Waiting Man's "loops" or Heartbeat, here). It also has that very cold technical pop feeling and its utter professional feel that stops me from liking it as an artist statement: it simply sounds to calculated and too business-like for my tastes. The opening track N,J&M is, I suppose, based on Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy (notable beatnicks or beat poets if you wish), but the music always failed to arouse my interest. Nuff'said!!

Now only was this noticeable musically (listen to any three record of the era), but this was also the case in the appearance and concert. Check out the Neal, Jack and Me DVD for a double concert and see the very 80's artsy-fartsy looks, acts and of course that horrendous electronics pads percussion kit, even reaching as far as duplicating gongs. Yuk!!

Only my respect for Crimson stops me from rating this album lower.

Review by loserboy
5 stars "Beat", "Three Of A Perfect Pair" & "Discipline"... 3 Of the classic CRIMSON prog albums which are too hard to distinguish for me. All 3 albums remain a highlight in my progressive rock collecting years and a milestone in the genre. Each album contain brilliant and highly sophisticated prog music with amazing musicianship. If you are not amazed with Fripp's Frippertronics, or Levin's commanding bass lines, or Belew's talents (too many to mention) or Brufords Jazz like complex drumming then there is something wrong with your head!. At times songs border on the line of Industrial genre, but are careful to never go over the edge. Highly conceptual and highly recommended!
Review by daveconn
4 stars Another dose of "Discipline", this time favoring the languid, dreamy side of the quartet's combined powers. "Beat" isn't much different from their last album, so the shock value associated with "Discipline" is lost. "Neal And Jack And Me" won't surprise anyone who's heard "Frame By Frame", "Heartbeat" doesn't hold any magical treats that "North Star" didn't already unlock years ago, "Neurotica" is a familiar indulgence of indiscipline, etc. However, "Discipline" was an album that cried for an encore, so unique was its approach, so deep its reservoir of musical possibilities. If "Beat"'s a repeat, it still beats the alternatives. And over time, individual songs begin to take on their own personalities; remember, at first a lot of "Discipline" sounded the same, right? There are some new ideas at work here, treading into STEVE HACKETT's dark forest on "Sartori In Tangier", showcasing Frippertronics on the closing "Requiem", exploring "Beat" imagery on "The Howler" and "Neal And Jack And Me" (hence the title). The superlative, mathematical approach of this KING CRIMSON attracted a whole new audience of younger listeners who viewed the band as champions of instrumental envelope pushing. I have to chuckle every time a young sales clerk feels compelled to validate my music purchases by repeating the words "KING CRIMSON" in a low reverent tone as they ring it up on the register, as if I've just been ushered into some exotic brotherhood. I suppose that's the power of music, and few bands (literally, just a few) have been able to harness music's power like KING CRIMSON.
Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The middle book in a trilogy is always the hardest to love; neither the newness of the opener nor the closure of the final act, it serves mainly to deepen and complicate the plot. Hopefully by the time you listen to "Beat", the previous album will have convinced you that this is very much a different band- much more so than the "Lark's Tongue" era was from the "Court of the Crimson King". It's not that they have a harder edge (what could be harder than "Red" or "Fracture"?), or are any less melodic or experimental. The structure of the songs is much tighter- fewer of these songs feel like the kind of inspired jamming that sat between favorite tracks on the 70's releases, and each player seems to have a better idea of what they are going for than on "Discipline". As always, there are moments of unexpected beauty- "Neal and Jack and me" is appropriately melancholy at times- and moments of menacing fear, in "Nerotica" and "The Howler" especially. Still, the individual songs are not as strikingly memorable as those on the albums that bookend the trio, even if the playing is slightly more focused. Ultimately this release ( and "Three of a Perfect Pair" to a lesser extent) still pales when compared to the unique achievement on "Discipline", but will really only disappoint you if you cannot see past the 70s' version of the band.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another great album from KC in the early eighties which made much around at the time somewhat inferior. ' Neal and Jack and me' is a very very clever arrangement and I have to say Belew's vocals work a treat for KC. ' Neurotica' is another fine example even with the babbling narrative. Yes they were possibly at their most commercial ( joke) but Beat was and still is solid as a rock musically.
Review by Guillermo
2 stars I bought this album in late 1982, and I expected to hear something good from this band like "Larks Tongues in Aspic" or "Starless and Bible Black", as I didn`t buy "Discipline" which was released before this album. I also expected to hear good drums by Bill Bruford. But I was disappointed. This new version of King Crimson was for me like The Talking Heads, as Adrian Belew, who I consider a good singer, sounds like David Byrne (and Belew also have played with The Talking Heads, as I knew years later). Bruford `s drums only sound interesting for me in some places ("Neurotica", "Heartbeat"). The best songs for me in this album are the more accessible ("Heartbeat" and "Two Hands"). I don`t know if "Heartbeat" was released as a single, but it sounds as it could have been released as the single from this album. Tony Levin`s stick and bass guitar playing is very good, and the guitars sometimes do interesting things, but this album made me feel "neurotic" sometimes, because the music sometimes was disturbing for me.I also don`t like the lack of keyboards (apart from Fripp`s almost absent organ playing) . For fans only of this line-up and of Fripp`s "eternal" experiments. I don`t listen to all the songs of this album anymore, with the exception of "Heartbeat" and "Two Hands".
Review by The Owl
2 stars After the newness and brilliance of "Discipline", this one was a huge letdown for me, or rather, it hasn't aged well for me. I remember liking a fair amount of it when it first came out but yet someting just didn't quite work for me.

In retrospect I can now identify why:

1) It seemed very claustrophobic and straitjacketed, it just seems the musicians were on a tight leash that threatened to strangle them at any second. Overall, the music tends to be a bit sterile and calculated compared to much of the Crimson canon.

2) It was for the most part trying too danged hard to be likeable and poppy. That sort of thing ALWAYS chases me off. "Songs like "Heartbeat" sounded like a very calculated bid for airplay with its corny lyrics and seemingly desparate delivery. "Two Hands" wasn't as forced though.

3) Thr heavily processed, cold, sterile 80's production and sound of the disc was no help either. Plus those obnoxious Simmons drums. Man, I'm glad Bruford dumped those abominable things (at best, they sound like amplified pizza boxes). Plus, the rather stiff rhythms of a lot of the pieces (which was de' rigeur in the 80's) tended to grate on me.

It wasn't a complete loss though. "The Howler" started to allow breathing room and Belew let forth some pretty off-kilter sounds here. "Neurotica" for my money was the best track of the bunch, with Belews many guitar sounds,sirens and the like plus those wacky lyrics and Bruford just getting to cut loose and be himself. "Requiem" closes the disc on a disturbing note, a sort of soundtrack for the end of the world with nothing left but the hum of the universe.

If you have to have this one, save it for the lower eschelons of your list and glean the gems.

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
3 stars Beat- Part II in the 80's crimson trliogy. Not the best of albums, but still not bad. This is the KC album that is most influenced by pop music, but there is still plenty of prog on this album (even if its infused with pop). Even though there is some weaker material here, there are still great pieces and a few essential ones. Neal and Jack and Me is a very good song, showing what they all can do. Waiting Man is the best on here. The guitar "pounding" away, the superb percussion by Mr. Bruford, makes for one of the best songs recorded by them (taking into account all the styles and time-periods of Crimson). Neurotica is another top notch piece. Another run in with the neuroticness of Belews mind. Also, Requium is fantastic. This album reminds me of ITWOP, in the respect that it was close(in sound and song structure) to Discipline, just like ITWOP was to ITCOTCK. Obviously, not as much, but still, the comparison can be made. Not the best starting point in the world of the Crimson King, but overall, a good album that should not be missed by KC fans.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars At least I found this album wonderful! The 80's aestethics work as basis for a strange adventures in polyrhythmics and methodical chaos. For me the album's music is full of mystery, and it listening to it creates a very strong sense of wonder. The best tracks are the opener (which verse I believe refers to the beat writers), hypnotic instrumental "Sartori in Tangier", emotionally deep "Waiting Man" which is probably the best track here, "Neurotica" which studies the straits of "Indiscipline" and the haunting ballad "Two Hands". The others songs are good as well, and I would recommend this to any listener with open ears.
Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After the masterpiece album Discipline, the King Crimson line up of Belew/Bruford/Levin/Fripp returned to the studio and created another effort. This one, however, seems to pull the same thing as ITWOP pulled against ITCOTCK in that this album is structured and sounds very similar to its predecessor).

With this one, there is a lot more of an electronic presence to their music in that Bill Bruford's percussion has become very synth oriented. The riffing is impeccable, and overall it has the same quality of Discipline, but I feel I've heard them all before. Belew's lyrics in this one are a lot more straightforward and lack that abstractness of the last album. But what they lost in abstractness, they gained in commercial approach. With such songs as Heartbeat and Waiting Man, King Crimson seemed to be going into a more poppy approach, but the music was still none the less amazing. Stand out tracks are Neal and Jack and Me, Waiting Man, Heartbeat, and Satori in Tangier, which comprises the first half of the album. Neal and Jack and Me has lyrics that are remnicient of Beat poets and has some great riffs and percussion, as well as a great bass line from Levin. Heartbeat begins with a great riff, and features some emotional vocals from Belew. Waiting Man is easily the best song on the album with a great synth percussion intro (extended and played in duet form live from Bruford and Belew) and some great vocals and lyrics from Belew. Satori in Tangier is a Tony Levin show piece, beginning with some shy stick swells and then turns into an aggressive stick beat that is overlayed by the great guitar and drum interplay.

Overall, the King Crimson "pop" album is still good in craft, but it feels too similar to Discipline and thus it gets a less of a score because of the creative discrepancy. 3/5.

Review by el böthy
3 stars This is the first time I give a Crimson album less than 4 stars...but whats right is right! This album for me is a solid 3, very solid, which is not bad! The songs are still as complex as in Discipline but something is missing...they arent really as exciting as the ones form the previous album...but there are still some good songs. "Neal and Jack and me" is my favorite track from the album and is also one of the best of this period of KC. All in all the album is good, there are some weak tracks like "Two hands" and "Waiting man" (but dont trust me on this one, it seems like Im the only one who doesn´t like the song), still the album is pretty important if you are into Crimson.

3 stars...a solid 3 star review!

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One thing very obvious with the music of New Crimson is its repetitive rhythm section that sometimes intensify in volume or moves in crescendo. This might reflect the sounds that I have been familiar with in my country through the sounds of traditional instruments we call it as gamelan. Most of you who have visited Bali, an island in my country, might be familiar with Balinese gamelan. That kind of sound that I'm referring to. It's not a matter of the gamelan is used down here with "Beat" but it reminds me to that.

The repetitive Gamelan-like patterns appeared quite strong at "Discipline" album but it is now softer with "Beat". The opening track "Neal and Jack and Me," might represent the album title theme as it resembles the "beat" era at the time. There are quite a lot of improvisational work in this album like those spanning from "Neurotica" to the ominous "Requiem." Belew has matured in this album and he brings his best talent for his pop background. Say, "Heartbeat" in particular. It's probably the most pop stuff which was composed artistically and makes this song is interesting. Gradually, people would accept the new King Crimson music they started venturing from "Discipline" album. Some people might question the musical quality of this album as it seemed like it was released in a hurry. "Beat" was released in June 1982 or 8 months after the New Crimson lineup debut album "Discipline". This might be a strange thing for the band as it kept the same line-up in two albums.

It was funny the first time I bought this album in cassette format where there was Adrian Belew's solo album was used to fill up the leftover of Side 2. I liked one song of his solo: "Adidas in Heat". Oh yeah, it's a pop music but it's nice and funny. I then appreciated Belew's work with King Crimson. My version is the 30th Anniversary Remastered CD. If you love the band, you should have this one. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild.- GW

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars What was it about the eighties that turned seventies prog greats into commercial sounding bands. That may not be a fair statement, but it seemed to infect them all. Even RUSH who started the eighties so well, went from "Moving Pictures" to "Signals" to "Grace Under Pressure" quite a change of style in a short period of time. And so here we are with KING CRIMSON who also started the eighties so well with "Discipline" before changing to a more pop style with "Beat". I still think this is a good release, but I actually think it would be better if it was an all instumental record. Not that I dislike Adrian's singing, I just keep finding myself focusing on Fripp's guitar playing and being so amazed and impressed.

Adrian's vocals are certainly the focus on "Neal And Jack And Me". I like the brief intrumental section before 3 minutes. "Heartbeat" just seems so eighties to me. Hey I was there ! Catchy though. "Sartori In Tangier" has some atmosphere to open before we get a beat with other intricate sounds. More atmosphere after 2 minutes with lots of percussion. "Waiting Man" is again filled with intricate sounds as Belew starts to sing. I like what Bruford's doing before 2 1/2 minutes. Check out Fripp after 3 minutes.

"Neurotica" has sirens, whistles and lots of other sounds as Belew comes in speaking the lyrics at a fast pace. Interesting track. "Two Hands" is a tough one for me to get into. "The Howler" sounds great to open with guitars, bass and drums all working together. "Requiem" is spacey as guitar comes in with some relaxed angular sounds. The guitar does speed up as Bruford and Levin join in. Experimental yes, and the best song on here.

I like this record enough to say it's good, but essential ? No way !

Review by 1800iareyay
2 stars After the reemergence of the Crimson King for the wonderful Discipline, Robert Fripp moved boldly ahead without changing his lineup at all, unusual for him. This lineup would prove to be his most stable, lasting a whopping three albums (four if you count the double trio lineup of the 90s reforming). Expectation was high for Fripp, Bruford, and KC newcomers Levin and Belew. Sadly, this album just doesn't deliver. Beat is a rather disappointing album, and it's one of Crimson's low points. Satori in Tangier and Requiem are great tracks, and Heartbeat is addictive, but the rest of the album lacks the uniqueness that made King Crimson so enjoyable. They did nothing to expand on the formula of Discipline. Even Starless was a step away from Larks' Tongue. This album sticks to the pop- prog that worked for Discipline and the following Three of a Perfect Pair, but here it lacks any of the fun and groove. Even the prescence of my idol, Tony Levin, can't redeem this.

This one of KC's two albums I would give less than three stars to (the other being the absolute low point ConstruKtion of Light). The group would go out on a higher note with Three of a Perfect Pair, but it would THRAK to really bring back Crimson.

Review by OpethGuitarist
1 stars A letdown.

This follows in a similar style to Discipline (read: not 70's Crimson) but is much worse off, being far too poppy and stale. The songwriting seems restrained, unfit, and forced. The style of KC that many have come to know and love seems nearly gone, and replaced is one stiff album.

The 80's production lends its effects as well, which is detrimental to the sound. It sounds distant, sterile, and unwelcome. This would be the band's lowest point, but they would recover (there are actually some very good KC albums of the 90's and 00's). Some of this is almost shameful that it's the same set of composers who produced some of the best and most groundbreaking albums of the late 60's and early 70's.

This just comes off as a poor record in whole. I'd like to say it's better, but unfortunately, despite my admiration for KC, it's essentially a boring and dull set of songs. To be avoided unless you feel the need to have it.

Review by Tom Ozric
4 stars Unfortunately I'm of a minority group which stands by this release of the 80's model King Crimson. Surely it would be quite difficult to better 'Discipline' in this version of the Crimson King, but the album itself (Beat) is full of inspired and innovative arrangements. The musicianship is TOP NOTCH and mega-complex, and the tracks themselves are fully exciting. Yes, they tried their take on commercial music, ('Heartbeat', and perhaps 'Two Hands') but they are enjoyable tracks never-the-less and full of atmosphere which is a lot deeper than any 'stock-standard' pop group. With this album, we have incredible pieces of music like ; 'Sartori in Tangier', which is a dynamic instrumental, the manic 'Neurotica', which rivals 'Indiscipline' off 'Discipline', complete which totally insane verses and catchy chorus (actually, the track 'Dig Me', from the forthcoming album comes to mind regarding this schizophrenic structure) and surely must be something unique and truly progressive, regardless of electronic drumming - it's Bruford, for crying out loud !!! Tony Levin's Stick work is still the best in the business....

'Neal and Jack and Me' is a very credible rocker and great choice for opening track, 'The Howler' is pretty good, and 'Waiting Man' is an interesting track, but maybe the weakest track (if there really is one) on the album, and, finally, what I consider a totally outrageous 'Rock In Opposition' (or 'Avant-Garde') composition, 'Requiem', which presents a slow building track with almost ambient startings, slow build to a cacophonous climax with shredding guitar work and intense off-beat jamming, finally chilling out with the calming ambience it began with, possibly an 'instant composition', recalling their improvisatory roots from the early days. A 4 * album without question.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars After a very long break (seven years) KC (or Discipline) released "Discipline", a not so intersting album IMO. Too much funky oriented. The same line-up is at work for this record. Even if one can, very briefly, find some bits and bites from earlier Krimson work we have to admit that, again, the funk-rock a la Talking Heads is very much there.

Most of the album will sound the same again. "Heartbeat" though is quite good. It will pave the way for the next album, which will sound even more poppish. Can you imagine. KC sounding poppish ?

With "Sartori In Tangier" KC is flirting with electro-pop sounds. Still, this instrumental piece with some Oriental flavour (Tangier is a Moroccan city) is also one of the good number of "Beat".

I do not know whether it is natural or an imitation but in "Waiting Man" Belew sounds really as Byrne (TH). Almost a clone. Having been a huge fan of this interesting New York band (a new-wave pioneer since 1975), I am quite disturbed with this. It is the poorest number so far. A complete waste. It is very difficult to praise such songs. They are different from KC before their split (which could have been interesting) but also totally boring. Nothing inventive nor creative here. Just repetitive stuff.

Same feeling prevails with "Neurotica". Actually several numbers could have been linked the one with the other to form a lenghty and dull number. It is almost impossible to distinguish one piece from another. I even start to regret the jazzy-improv KC style which I almost hated in earlier releases. At least it was instantly recognizable. These type of songs on "Beat" are soulless, impersonal. I'm glad to see that some die-hard fans or more knowlegeable reviewers than I am about this band think about the same as I do.

Very short format of the songs as well. It is also an indication on how short of inspiration they were. Not able to develop an "idea" for more than 4'47" (with "Neurotica") for almost the whole of this effort.

The longest track, and my preferred one (that beats all when you know that the Crimson style I prefer is the symphonic one !) is "Requiem". At least this one can be considered as prog (which is not the case of most of the other songs). Complex guitar intro and weird atmosphere. Finally a true Crimson track. But it is the last song of this album !

I'm afraid that two stars is the maximum rating I can give (thanks to "Requiem" really).

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

I was so disapointed back then by DISCIPLINE that for thr first time in my life , i didn't bother to buy a new KING CRIMSON album when it came out. Same kind of cover design and same band, The Belew guy i couldn't stand back then is still present. ( but i will have a better opinion of him a decade later when King Crimson will come back-again- with this great album THRAK, but that's a different story)

So like all the Crimson CDs, I bought BEAT 2-3 years ago in this beautiful 30th anniversary collection. But i will be honest: i never listen to it.

I am trying again now while reviewing it: there are some pleasant pop tunes, nothing wrong with good pop, i am not that elitist; I bought the ASIA cds, you know, even enjoying them (sometimes), but hitting the dance floor with KING CRIMSON !!!!! I never knew such things could happen .But, hey, we are in the 80s. everybody changes and King Crimson has every right to do so, bt it doesn't mean i have to like it.

I enjoy REQUIEM and some other tracks like 'NEAL and JACK and ME ' but we are really in an other world than CIRKUS or EXILES. King Crimson in name , that's it!!

I guess i can't give more than 2 stars on this one!

Review by fuxi
3 stars After only one album (the astonishing DISCIPLINE), King Crimson's much-vaunted "drive to 1984" already was in trouble. The sense of excitement and discovery that pervaded tracks like 'Frame by Frame' and 'Thela Hun Ginjeet' had disappeared; a mood of weariness and despair set in. I can't really bring myself to recommend BEAT, since three of its best songs are performed more convincingly on FOR ABSENT LOVERS, a wonderful double live CD no Crimsonite should be without.

'Heartbeat' and 'Waiting Man', for example, are sophisticated and gripping tunes. Not only do they feature some of Adrian Belew's most heartfelt vocals, the former piece is also accompanied superbly on twinned guitars, and the latter is based on a fascinating, marimba-like pattern, executed on electronic drums by Bruford. 'Satori in Tangier', BEAT's most bizarre and ecstatic instrumental, can also be found on the live album.

In my opinion, this leaves us with just two studio tracks worth caring about. 'Requiem' is one of KC's best ever studio improvisations - but if you're lucky, you will already have it, since it can be found on at least two of the KC box sets Robert Fripp has released throughout the years.

Finally, 'Neurotica' is a marvellously noisy recreation of mayhem in the urban jungle, featuring some of this band's most exhilerating playing. You often hear rock critics complain that KC's improvisations aren't up to scratch, since the band's members lack the virtuosity of true jazz musicians. We now know that this is untrue about at least one of them, and we even have an excellent opportunity to investigate some of those 'virtuosity claims'. In 1985, the gorgeous Dave Holland Quintet (featuring acoustic bass, drums, sax, fluegelhorn and trombone) released SEEDS OF TIME, one of their best albums - the most surprising track of which was 'Gridlock (Opus 8)', a musical recreation of mayhem in the urban jungle! There can be little doubt that Dave Holland & Co were inspired by 'Neurotica', since they copied many of its features (screaming police sirens and all), but believe me, folks, much as I love Holland, King Crimson's big city chaos is more intense, and far more fluently played! Just like 'Requiem', 'Neurotica' is undoubtedly worth hearing, but it too can be found in several box sets, and there is also a first-rate live performance on (another must!) the live-album VROOOM VROOOM.

Taken as a whole, BEAT will leave the listener unsatisfied. As with many other Crimso albums, this gathering of parts (brilliant though some of them are) does not make for a convincing listening experience.

Review by Prog Leviathan
2 stars This album really does deserve the low rating-- the songs may have some of the complex twists and turns as seen (much more interestingly) in "Discipline", they have a decisively pop stink to them which gives the whole album a very un-Crimson sound. They sound like outtakes from their previous album, and Belew's vocals throughout tend to repulse more than they attract. However, I can't say that "Beat" is a total failure. The few purely instrumental moments are almost all blissfully dynamic and intriguing... but they aren't numerous or lengthy enough to redeem the muddled outcome. Only for serious fans, but certainly fun for the occasional listen.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of the few low points in the Crimson King of Prog's career, "Beat" isn't really a disastrous item despite lacking the majesty and peculiar genius of the band's best works. And the set of the best works includes the preceding album, "Discipline", so "Beat" didn't need to be the manifestation of irregular musical inspiration that it turned out to be in the middle of an era of decay. No, KC wasn't undergoing a decaying phase. It's just that the fresh air that Belew had brought with him were too dominant to allow the challenging scheme so successfully portrayed on "Discipline" to keep on evolving into the new art-rock territories that KC was set to explore. Talking heads was a major reference in Belew's writing, and so the first two tracks show was would have been some of the best songs ever penned by David Byrne, only that they came to be some of the most mediocre KC songs ever. Even though KC had managed to avoid the pop trappings of other illustrious contemporaries (the pathetic art-pop of a Genesis turned into some sort of Ultravox wannabe, the artsy AOR of Rabin-era Yes, the plain AOR of Asia and The Moody Blues, the inconsistent refurbishment of Camel as a mere extension of Latimer), these tracks are definite samples of KC is not and should not be about. The first instrumental 'Sartori in Tangier' finds the band partially returning to the ethnic-infected excursions that had worked so well in "Discipline" (only that the live versions set more ballsy expansions). The same happens with 'Waiting Man', the apex of the album's first half (again, the live renditions infinitely surpass this overall amazing studio version), a beautiful exercise on renewing the typical Crimsonian neurosis under a modernized Gamelan guise. Here's a reason not to hate electronic percussion as if they were something bad per se. Later on, 'The Howler' follows this ethnic- flavored art-rock approach with energy but without matching the exquisiteness of 'Waiting Man'. On the other hand, 'Neurotica' is pure rock magnificence KC-style, one of the heaviest tracks of 80s KC. The complex jamming and cleverly shifting tempos are managed with pristine skill through all the loudness. The ballad 'Two Hands' brings a beautiful moment of serenity (inc. a spine shivering guitar-synth solo in the middle), although the annoyingly patent Byrne-thing stops it from equaling the magic that had been created in what's arguably the definite Belew-era KC ballad, 'Matte Kudasai'. The album's instrumental closure is a portrait of Crimson's postmodernist ventures: Frippertronics layers, disturbing guitar leads wrapped in an eerie mood, a free-form jazz-inflicted rhythm work - all of it gathered together to bring an excellent ending to a not-so-excellent album. Very good, not really essential, this was the beat of the moment for Fripp & co., headlong for a follow-up album that would state a more cohesive repertoire... but that's a matter for another review.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Beat is the second eighties studio album from King Crimson and the ninth album in all. Beat is the first King Crimson album to feature the same lineup as the previous album and it´s the first King Crimson album to be produced by someone else than a member of the band. Their previous studio album Discipline which was released in 1981 was a great comeback for the band after a seven year hiatus. Discipline is one of my favorite King Crimson albums so Beat had a lot to live up to.

The music on Beat is a continuation of the style that King Crimson started on Discipline which means that they have incorporated lots of eighties sounds into their style. This doesn´t mean that King Crimson´s music is drenched in plastic keyboard sounds though as there are practically no keyboards on Discipline and likewise on Beat. The music is very focused around the polyrythmic and sometimes odd sounding guitar attack from Adrian Belew and Robert Fripp. The rythm section is worth mentioning as well though as it consists of Bill Bruford on drums and Tony Levin on bass and Chapman stick which is used frequently on both Discipline and Beat.

There are some really good songs on Beat. Neal and Jack and Me, Heartbeat ( I enjoy Heartbeat even though it´s very AOR eighties sounding), Waiting Man and especially the instrumental Sartori in Tangier. Neurotica also has some great psychotic moments but the quality drops towards the end of the album on Two Hands, The Howler and Requiem.

Producer Rhett Davies ( the man behind Selling England By the Pound by Genesis and The Snow Goose and Moonmadness by Camel) has created a good sound but not impressive. I much prefer the sound on Discipline.

Beat suffers a bit because Discipline was such a fantastic album. As such the style and the mood on Beat is the same as it was on Discipline. Beat just isn´t as sharp or groundbreaking as Discipline and comes out a bit weak compared to that album. I gave Discipline a big 4 star rating and Beat is a big 3 star rating. King Crimson is still a unique force on Beat but lacks the edge of previous releases.

Review by TGM: Orb
3 stars Review whichwhatways, Beat, King Crimson, 1982 StarStarStar

Beat is sometimes considered the worst of King Crimson's efforts, and looking at some of the negative reviews here, I have to admit there's some justification for that. The rhythm section is much more restrained than elsewhere, not providing the textural backdrop of Discipline. Belew's prominent lyrics and delivery might chagrin some, even if they do work for me. I suppose the question is whether you view these things as flaws, or merely as features. Sure, Bruford is the storm of percussion he was on SABB, but that gives a much greater chance for the guitar interplay to be heard. Yes, the lyrics and vocals are a key feature, but they are well-written shots of ambiguity, and they mark an attempt of Crimson to move themselves on rather than merely re-doing Discipline.

This is also quite odd as a Crimson album since it contains a genuine concept, but I don't know enough about the subject matter to say anything other than that it gives the album a coherent feel, and the music matches up neatly with the lyrical ideas. The other really significant feature of the album is the significant reliance on the twin lead guitars. Fripp and Belew provide a range of fiery textures and solos, extended and brief, and they, with the vocals, make the mood of just about every song. That might be a bit too lacking in diversity for some, but it does add interest for me.

Neil And Jack And Me opens the album with a series of guitar loops, Belew's shouted, whispered and sung, distorted and clean, often repeated vocals and a supportive rhythm section. Bruford saves up his cymbal crashes to make maximum impact, and Levin's gritty stabs on bass punctuate the piece. The guitars, however, are the real highlight, with a brief background soundscape, a unique solo from Fripp and maddened screeches from Belew. A classy opening, establishing the feel of the album.

Heartbeat follows this well, with two absolutely beautiful guitar tones, a restrained bass part evoking the heartbeat, tolerable lyrics and vocals from Belew. Bruford puts a relatively limited percussion range to extensive use, and the song as a whole is quite neatly arranged. It has a 'pop' feel, but I think this more derives from the limited instrumental choices and vocals than a lack of unusual and creative input.

The instrumental Sartori In Tangier provides a little more material to look at, from Fripp's organ work and soprano-sax-on-guitar-solo to a compulsive bass throb from Levin, which is taken up by Bruford later on. All sorts of weird textures feature fluidly, creating a sort of continuous musical image. Very accomplished, even if it is basically Mr. Fripp's three minute playground.

Waiting Man continues the very textural feel, with Belew's calling (needs a better word, but lacks one) vocal overlaying a static worldish rhythm under which Levin subtly shifts bass tones. A very intricate guitar-drums-guitar interplay section followed by a scraily (screechy+waily, but in a good way) Fripp solo features, allowing for a much fuller re-working of the opening texture.

The bizarre Neurotica is perhaps the highlight of the album, with the first true breakout of the rhythm section. Levin and Bruford are playing constantly, always providing something interesting in the background, while Belew's mostly-nonsensical vocals act don't really feel like a lead instrument, taking the back spot a bit more except in the weaker 'chorus'. Again, the guitars are on good form, providing all sorts of lunatic scrails for good measure.

Two Hands is the one piece from the album that simply doesn't do a lot for me. The boobam rhythm section and guitar touches all sound nice, and the sort of decadent romanticism is perfectly evoked. The guitar solo is sublime. The only problem is that I don't like the lyrics (they're not bad, just not my style at all), and the delivery doesn't do a lot for me either, and they make it harder for me to really enjoy the fleeting perfection encapsulated in the middle of the song.

The Howler is a faster-paced piece, with a generally wailing band accompanying a quite interesting sort of side-spoken vocal from Belew and some rather vicious lyrical touches. Levin especially provides a lot of grit for the song, as does Fripp's sirens-esque solo. Good stuff, though the guitar loops grate a little.

Requiem is a real opportunity for Fripp to illustrate his creativity on scraily guitar very prominently, with an extended, fast-paced and moving solo. Belew provides creaky touches towards the end, while the rhythm section works around the guitar textures with thunderous rolls. I swear one of the more cleverly-veiled guitar parts is reprising something, but I can't work out what. A neat, textural, showcase conclusion, and one that does work for the album.

So, all in all, the songs are not individually at all weak, the guitar-work is an especial highlight throughout. On the other hand, those who aren't already big fans of Belew and Fripp's menagerie of sounds will not really find that much to enjoy. Consequently, if you aren't a fan of King Crimson (Discipline and Red in particular), this isn't an enormous gap in your collection, but if you are, or simply love unusual guitar-work, this is a very worthwhile purchase. Three stars, good, but not entirely essential.

Rating: Three Stars. Favourite Track: Requiem, I think, but it's a pretty even album, and could be Neal and Jack and Me or Neurotica on different days.

Review by LiquidEternity
2 stars This is, like many have said, a big step down from Discipline.

It's still an interesting album, with a couple of good songs, but in truth, it seems the 80s ideas of pop and cheese really caught up to King Crimson for this release. Instead of the highly complicated depth of Discipline, we have a much more straightforward and static release that would be Crimson's weakest album were ConstruKction of Light not in the running. The songs are nice usually, some almost bringing some energy forward, but on the whole, the album is uninspiring and unmemorable. The sparkling production and sound dynamics of the previous release, also, are missing. Tony Levin doesn't really get to explode like he usually does, and in the end, Beat is just a flat album by the band, the first one that's in the exact same vein as the one before it.

Few of the songs really stand out. Sartori in Tangier has a pretty cool bass beat and a neat melodic sound effect over it. Waiting Man features the classic Discipline style of complex music, but on the whole it really fails to do anything new or go anywhere very exciting. Two Hands is a pretty cool sort of love song. Though this song is not really progressive (in fact, I'm feeling 80s Genesis on this one), it really is nice and the mood of the song can be pretty refreshing. The Howler is more aggressive, in the vein of Discipline, though for some reason the whole song fails to take off. Requiem is reminiscent of earlier King Crimson improvisational work, though it suffers from a bit much noodly guitar and not enough structure.

Truth be told, if you love Discipline and just can't get enough of that sound, check here. It won't be the same or nearly as good, but it's not all bad. Just a fair bit subpar. If you aren't familiar with King Crimson at all, let alone simply 80s King Crimson, steer clear until you get your feet wet with another release of theirs, like Red or Discipline.

Review by ProgBagel
2 stars King Crimson - 'Beat' 2 stars

Take everything that Discipline had, and make it annoying.

The more poppish approach gave this one that oh so ill feeling, of a band doing something intricate and complicated, but then trying to intentionally throw in some pop that just does not integrate well at all. All of the spoken word dialogues in Discipline also took a deep plunge, making me want to squeeze the air out of Adrian Belew. Shorter songs, and more focuses on the chorus made this an anti-King Crimson album, things just weren't calculated as well.

Two possible tracks that stick out are 'Sartori in Tangier' and 'Requiem'. 'Requiem' was a bunch of beautiful 'Frippertronics', but you could find those on plenty of Fripp's solo albums, and those are where the best are really at.

I think this is a pretty bad work, avoid unless you are a big fan. 'Discipline' is enough.

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As reflected by its current rating, Beat seems to be unanimously considered as the mighty Crimso's weakest effort. Because of this poor reputation, it took me a while to take the plunge and buy it - but, when I listened to it in its entirety for the first time, I could not help wondering. A bad album? Think twice... Though, just like In the Wake of Poseidon, it may suffer from comparisons with its predecessor, the ground-breaking Discipline, the more I listen to Beat the more I think it is one of the most underrated albums in prog, and one of the most unfairly judged.

Discipline #2? Maybe.... There are a lot of undeniable similarities in the two albums, though I would say that Beat can definitely harder to get into - which makes allegations of its being 'poppy' somewhat hard to explain. With the exception of Heartbeat (the best-known track on the album by far) and Two Hands, there is very little about Beat that can be termed poppy in any strict sense of the word. While Adrian Belew's vocals can undoubtedly be an acquired taste, and remind some listeners of 'new wave' singers, there is also little doubt he is someone who knows how to use his voice to great effect, and his style fits KC's sound to a T. Another factor that may put some people off can be the occasional use of that bane of prog fans, electronic drums - though here they are in the hands of one Bill Bruford, which makes all the difference.

Another accusation levelled at "Beat" is that it is somewhat cold and contrived. In my view, right from the start KC have always managed to reach the ideal balance between emotional and cerebral, as exemplified in their very first album - by the likes of "Epitaph" and "Moonchild". That said, I am aware that the band's Eighties incarnation has many aspects that set it apart from 'traditional' prog, with the exception of the inevitable technical proficiency. Belew's slightly neurotic, NY-style vocals are miles apart from Lake's smooth tones, or Wetton's warmly rough ones, and the uncanny precision of the rhythm section can sound almost inhuman. However, there is something profoundly fascinating about the atmospheres conjured by Fripp's and Belew's duelling guitars, something that in a way seems to reflect the whole mood of the decade. KC in the Eighties may not be your cup of tea, but they were clearly, authentically PROGRESSING, as they have never stopped doing.

As I said earlier, most of the tracks on "Beat" somewhat parallel those in "Discipline" - with "Neurotica" reprising the concept of "Indiscipline", and "Two Hands" reminiscent of "Matte Kudasai". Opener "Neal and Jack and Me" is not as immediate as "Elephant Talk", but offers a stunning vocal performance from Belew, and complex instrumental interaction; while album closer "Requiem", heavier and darker (as per its title) than the scintillating, razor-sharp "Discipline", allows Bruford some room for his dazzling drum antics. Another highlight is "Sartori in Tangier", a brooding, haunting instrumental in the style of "The Sheltering Sky", though definitely more electrified.

From what I have written above you might infer this is not a very original album, and that, coupled with the other, mostly lukewarm-to-negative reviews, might convince you to give it a miss. Though my words are obviously no guarantee, I think you should approach "Beat" with an open mind, being aware of the definite similarities with its predecessor, but also receptive to its many strengths. After all, this is (at least in my opinion) the band whose output defined progressive rock - a band capable of reinventing themselves time and time again.

Whenever I add a half-star to any standard rating, I usually round the rating down. In this case, I will round it up to four stars, since I believe "Beat" does not deserve the bad press it gets. You might be pleasantly surprised when you finally listen to it - I know I was.

Review by Kazuhiro
3 stars "It would appear if the necessity was felt in the kingdom of music" KC to which it had appeared suddenly in the 80's was digested the idea till then further in the age and rode on the stream with a reformative element if it borrowed the word of Fripp. The listener might have felt the expectation and puzzled in a new creation of KC. And, a new idea and the current, the fact that two Americans had joined had been transformed to the band that caught music from a different angle in the history of KC.

The activity after Fripp dissolved the band in 1974 indeed showed the production of an energy Solo album, the repetition of thought, and shape by groping. "Discipline" that was born in the meantime was sent to the world as one result as shown by the title. I will still feel it one legend for Fripp. And, the fact where the member was fixed in KC at this time was the first attempt for KC. It is not understood whether the listener obediently accepted member's idea of course.

The influence that Belew had on the band might be large in no small way. It causes the action by the element that the idea and Belew of Fripp that takes the repetition of a primitive rhythm cultivated and is reflected in the work. KC in the 80's had making the sound consistently refined. It is based from the start to thought that to have been considered up to 1984 in 1981 by Fripp. However, they guess that they achieved the content that should surely be executed for music in the flow.

The creation of KC at this time might have been expressed in the title of the album. "Beat" might also have the listener who thinks the existence of it buried in the history of their music. However, the idea and the element that KC considered in the 80's were advanced concretely with a purpose by Fripp.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It wasn't easy to record a new album after so great and shocking "Discipline"! So we have the same situation there as happened with KC in their very beginning, with debut and the second album. "Beat" is quite a continued version of "Discipline", with some very great songs, but some average as well. The sound is a bit warmer and more commercial, and all the album is not so concentrated as previous one.

Musical construction - polirhythmics and chaotical sounds mixed with electronic background and pop-scented melodies is in fact the same as before. And if not so unusual as Discipline, the album is very strong anyway. The last composition ( Requiem) is nice excurse in past KC territories.

This album didn't open new lands for band, but confirmed changes were done in previous album. And really is pleasant listening by itself.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Beat continues the smart-pop tendencies from Discipline. While it doesn't reach the same heights, it still contains plenty of great prog-pop music (supposing such a genre would actually exist).

The album opens with two dead-catchy songs. Neil and Jack and Me is one of the highlights, a very emotive funk rock song with exceptional vocals from Belew. If you've never heard this incarnation of Crimson then Talking Heads is the obvious reference that should give you an idea of what this band sounds like. Fripp's guitar picking is the obvious prog feature here, there's no way this chromatic counter-rhythm playing could be tagged just pop music.

Heartbeat is pure pop music, but it has the essence of a great pop song, it is catchy and emotional as much as it is tasteful and sincere. The instrumental Satori In Tangier has always been my favourite from this album, the constantly impressive Tony Levin lays down a funky slap bass rhythm and Bruford rides along with the groove. He has sure learned not to 'over-drum' things, something that really flatters a virtuoso like him. Waiting Man completes this marvellous string of songs that made up the A-side of the original album.

Just like the Islands album, this is a record that I have rarely turned around to play the B-side. Neurotica isn't bad but sounds more like a style exercise on Indiscipline then like a really captivating and inspired piece of music. The smooth pop ballad Two Hands is more to my liking, it may sound trite to some people but this kind of quality pop is not something an inferior musician could accomplish. The Howler is a weak filler track. Requiem is a fascinating piece but not something I need to hear often.

Beat is an album that starts very promising but goes under halfway in. With a good 25 minutes of worthwhile music 3 stars are still deserved.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars Where Discipline was fresh, on this album the style was already becoming stale. What was interesting for the resurrected King Crimson one year previously was now becoming tired. And this album seems more like an Adrian Belew album than a King Crimson composite. Even the title, an homage to Jack Kerouac seems more apropos to Belew than the rest of the band. And there's no amazing Tony Levin stick work, a la Elephant Talk.

As far as I'm concerned, only half of the album is worth repeated listenings. Sartori In Tangier is an interesting mellow tune, with some cool guitar synth. Neurotica and The Howler are worthy for their aggressiveness. And after a slow Frippertronics start, Requiem develops into a good improv piece.

But in relation to the rest of Crimson's work, I can only give this 2.5 stars. Rounded down.

Review by Chicapah
4 stars From reading through some of the opinions about this album I half expected it to be the aural equivalent of Fripp & Co. squatting and excreting a massive, smelly, oozing turd smack dab in the middle of the ornately decorated banquet table that is their career. Not so. One of the many things I most enjoy about the reviews that get posted on this site is that, for the most part, they are honest. Sometimes brutally so. With that in mind I hope I don't stir up the ire of those who truly detest "Beat" but I'm going to be one of the few who'll be contributing an upward dent in the grading curve for it. I like this record. It's no KC masterpiece by a long shot and not even as interesting as the one that followed it but, once again, when I take into account the rapidly deteriorating health of music that was in hell- bent decline in '82 I have to give this brave group of musicians a few miles of slack.

What disco and punk rock had not demolished in the distinguished world of prog during the late 70s, new wave and the emerging MTV Ebola virus effectively ground into fine dust as the 80s began. By then most of the giants of the formerly robust prog movement had either disbanded or vainly attempted to morph into a more trendy entity (usually with embarrassingly despicable results). It was downright ugly, folks. But with "Beat" I find a plucky King Crimson that was opting to pronounce an intelligent, thought-provoking commentary on what was happening in modern music at the time. Instead of selling out, they held on to their identity and their integrity by painting an abstract work of art in their usual unorthodox style but utilizing the popular hues and gaudy colors that were in vogue at the moment. In other words, I guess they took an "if you can't join 'em, lick 'em" attitude. Having said all that, the bottom line is always whether or not I like what I'm hearing and I find "Beat" to be anything but dull, boring or insulting. As in most King Crimson product, in its own odd little way, it's good and kinda fun.

They open up with the engaging "Neal and Jack and Me," another in a long line of life-on- tour-themed songs that seem to thrive in every era of songwriting no matter the genre. Energy-filled guitar patterns give the impression of non-stop movement while Adrian Belew's somewhat plaintive voice expresses the ennui one must endure when, in the midst of stress, there's nothing to do. "Hotel room homesickness/on a fresh blue bed/and the longest-ever phone call home/no sleep, no sleep, no sleep, no sleep/and no mad video machine to eat time," he complains. Tony Levin's ever-inventive stick work is the glue that holds this track together masterfully. "Heartbeat" may well be the closest to a "normal" love song that I've ever encountered from this group. Robert and Adrian's chromium guitar tones put a bright sheen on the number and Belew's sincere vocals keep it from becoming too schmaltzy as he warbles lines like "I need to land sometime right next to you/feel your heartbeat right next to mine." It's a well-written song in which they adroitly avoid trying to do too much. They manage to restrain their customary rebellious nature and keep it simple for a change.

An instrumental, "Sartori in Tangier," follows and though the intro is effectively pensive and hypnotizing the segment that evolves out of that is quite tame despite Tony's invigorating bass thumping. For a combo that specializes in shocking the listener out of his/her shoes I find this cut to be surprisingly mediocre. The world-beat feel of "Waiting Man" is a nice change of pace. Here we finally get to hear drummer extraordinaire Bill Bruford do something other than imitate a metronome and that's a big plus. Multiple key changes and Adrian's harmonizing with himself keep the arrangement from growing stale and Fripp's strange guitar lead is uniquely creative. The repetitive, predictable lyrics about yearning to get back home are tiring, though.

"Neurotica" is the best track on the album. It's an impressionistic portrait of hectic big city life in all its discombobulating madness and it's nothing short of an amusement park thrill ride through metropolis. Belew's rapid-fire, adrenaline-fueled radio voice provides the perfect overlay as he spits out gems like "Say, isn't that an elephant fish on the corner over there look at that bush baby mud puppy noolbenger rhinodermia marmoset spring peeper shingleback skink siren skate starling sun-gazer spoonbill and suckers" with nary a glitch or pause in enunciation. The quieter bridge segment is like bending over and taking a deep breath in the midst of a marathon run and the group is as tight as the backseat of a cheap cab throughout. They then return to the fray with gusto and the bustling track gains incredible momentum as they fade into the distance at the end. "Two Hands" is next and it's another ethereal ballad from a band that rarely indulges in such blatant romanticism. It floats like a cloud atop rhythmic percussion and you're treated to an uncommonly light touch emanating from the mysterious Frippertronics here. Margaret Belew penned the almost-too-mushy words but at least they don't patronize. "I am a face in the painting on the wall/I pose and shudder/and watch from the foot of the bed/sometimes I think I can feel everything," Adrian sings with proper conviction.

"The Howler" features a more anticipated rude approach from these rambunctious guys and it arrives in the nick of time. Belew's smooth delivery stands in stark juxtaposition to the wild sounds wafting up from the complex mayhem being manufactured below his vocal lines. "Here is the sacred face of rendezvous in subway sour/whose grand delusions prey like intellect in lunatic minds," he croons. While I can appreciate the edgy intent of the tune in general it just doesn't work cohesively for me when all is said and done. "Requiem" is more along the lines of what I've come to expect from this talented foursome. This dense instrumental starts with humming guitars shimmering behind Robert's inimitable sustained and piercing fretboard riffing. Levin and Bruford slowly wade in as if testing the muddy waters before diving in head first. The two guitars of Fripp and Belew become increasingly like two wailing mourners as the whole shebang grows more and more frantic and out of control. This manic cut makes me proud to be a KC fan because, even as the powers-that-be of that age insisted that all their contracted groups churn out three-minute pop ditties and cute videos like a Skittles factory, King Crimson was not afraid of unleashing their passion for and skill at powerful improvisation. The tune's subdued and somber fade out is exquisite.

As always, I've learned to expect the unexpected from this ensemble no matter who is included in the lineup and this was no exception. They never sound like anybody else and they've taught me to keep an open mind whenever experiencing even one of their older projects for the first time. I can understand why so many find "Beat" to be a let down but I just don't share that view. This quartet was thinking outside the box when that wasn't kosher and barely tolerated by the jet set wannabes. I truly think they were doing the very best they could to survive and yet remain true to themselves in an atmosphere that had become polluted with greed and glamour. They may have bent ever so slightly but they didn't break. 3.5 stars.

Review by The Quiet One
2 stars The same Beat as in Discipline?

The brand new style of King Crimson was accepted and enjoyed by most fans, despite its weirdness, with Discipline. Its successor, however, entitled Beat, didn't have the same luck. Why? Well, it's quite the typical musical event in which a band releases a completely fresh album and the follow-up is expected to be better or simply different in a good way, though for the majority, this second release ends up being a disappointment since it pales in comparison with it's predecessor. Well, I usually don't tend to be in the majority in those cases, I've always enjoyed In the Wake of Poseidon and Starless & Bible Black, two albums that had the same destiny as Beat. This time however, Beat really doesn't do it for me.

While I find In the Wake of Poseidon and Starless & Bible Black to still have interesting and memorable compositions to offer, Beat just seems to be too similar to its predecessor stylistically, though the compositions are rather uninspired and the pop tendencies are not for better, yeah almost the same words that are to describe the previous albums I mentioned.

Like I said in my review of Discipline, I'm not really a fan of the freaky style that King Crimson developed through the 80s, but with that album they still managed to make it very enjoyable thus I gave it 4 stars, and besides it was damn original. However, Beat offers mostly the same and not in a great or fun way, thus 2 stars.

Recommended if you really are a fan of the style of music featured in Discipline. However for the rest of us, including those who like Discipline but it's not their usual cup-of-tea, this is easily something you can live without. Solid and bizarre 80s album though, which also may be of great interest for 80s fans.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars After reading a few reviews that this album had accumulated over the years it really made me wonder if anyone would actually care about this release if it wasn't under the King Crimson moniker? Since I've never been a hardcore fan of any band in particular, it makes me more critical of everything that I hear even from artists that have had solid streaks of albums in the past. This is definitely the case where my love for King Crimson's previous efforts didn't get the best of me and I managed to expose Beat for exactly what it is - a shameless stab at the mainstream market of its time.

Not only is this King Crimson's weakest studio release to date, but it also manages to feature their all-time worst composition. I rarely use the 1-star song ratings since there are very few songs that I sincerely hate. Unfortunately the song that I can't bare to call by name is such an occurrence. The first time I've heard the record I became slightly alarmed after hearing Neal And Jack And Me, but this second track made it all much clearer. There's just nothing rewarding about this experience and unless you want to see your idols crash and burn then stay away from this song. While you're at it, make sure to do the same with this entire album.

Most of the material here wouldn't even make it as bonus material on Discipline since the style is much more simplistic and lacks anything worth a while for fans of King Crimson. Bill Bruford's indulgence into the world of electronic drumming really make the record sound dated but he's not the only one who should take the blame for the failure of this release. It's clear that Robert Fripp had to be in on the whole shift of direction and, judging from the interviews that were conducted with him at the time, he clearly was! It's painfully obvious that the band was not thinking outside of the box since this is nothing more than a product of its time with an added touch of finesse. But that finesse comes from the fact that great instrumentalists waste their time with material that is clearly below them.

If you've never heard this album then hopefully my rating will make you see that this is not an album you should spend your hard earned money on. Beat is a mess of an album that should be best forgotten even by the fans of the band since it was a misstep that even the members themselves would try to avoid in their future.

**** star songs: Sartori In Tangier (4:22) Neurotica (4:47)

*** star songs: Neal And Jack And Me (4:21) Waiting Man (4:22) Two Hands (3:22) Requiem (6:30)

** star songs: The Howler (4:10)

* star songs: Heartbeat (3:54)

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When Beat came out I was in love with their previous album, Discipline, as well as all the other music albums coming out that were using (African-inspired) polyrhythms (including African music). Discipline, TALKING HEADS Remain in Light and Peter Gabriel's third and fourth albums as well as his WOMAD project were part of the spearhead for this. Beat was a let down. Until I saw the band on this tour. They were amazing! "Neal and Jack and Me" (4:26) (9/10) and "Waiting Man" (4:26) (9/10) were two of the highlights of the show. From the album, I loved the tender "Two Hands" and "Heartbeat" Adrian Belew created for his wife and "Sartori in Tangier" (3:54) (10/10) remains one of my favorite Fripp vehicles. The music of "Neal and Jack and Me" is incredible if the lyrics/singing are a bit offsetting. I always think Adrian gets a bad rap for his lyrics and singing but they are distinctive and entertaining. They don't always "fit" with the complicated, heaviness of the music. His experimental guitar play is, IMHO, breathtaking! And equally fun and entertaining as his vocals. And the dude can weave with his band mates, no question! Tony Levin needs more press--more attention. One of the hardest working and most creative and talented artists in rock music of all-time--and a super, super nice, down to Earth guy. His work with this chapter of King Crimson redefined the possible roles for bass players. If you watch in concert, his roles in the polyrhythmic weaves is often the most complicated. He is the rock. Just ask Bill Bruford. Speaking of which, I loved Bill's adventures/experiments with alternative and electrified/MIDI-ed percussion instruments. Nobody else in the percussion world has been as adventurous and experimental. The FRIPP/ENO-like "Requiem" (6:39) (8/10) is great and but "Howler" (4:!2) (7/10) feels like it should have been saved for one of Adrian's solo albums.

If there are any serious complaints about Beat, they would be 1) that the song format kind of replicates/repeats those of Discipline, 2) the sound production is too tight and quiet, and 3) it's just tough to follow up much less top an album like Discipline. But, if you look at performances, quality and adventurousness of spirit, this album stands as an amazing collection. Again, if we had never heard Discipline this would blow people away! Just hearing "Neurotica" (4:49) (10/10) again makes me appreciate the virtuosity and genius of this quartet--all four of them are masters and this is them at their peaks! With this in mind, I cannot in good conscience give this album anything less than four stars. It is a masterpiece of unequaled musicianship. It is only lacking freshness.

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
3 stars An album that doesn't get it's due respect and I know why, it's the opening tracks of Neil and Jack and Me and Heartbeat.

I got this album when it first came out and compared to Discipline, I found it disappointing on first listen, that was until Sartori In Tangier came on, then all was OK. I have since come to respect those first two tracks, but the meat of this album starts at Sartori. This song is more in the spirit of Discipline, which is to say modern progressive rock. The first two seemed to be trying way too hard to be commercial music (s)hit.

Waiting Man, maybe a little too much like Matte Kudasai, but still well crafted and damn good. Love that Adrianic feedbacky section they do towards the end before resuming the main theme. I don't know why it's there, but it always makes me smile.

Neurotica I think is trying to hearken back to 21st Century Schizoid Man in lyrical theme and being a dark hard piece. It succeeds for me. I would say I have no more to say but I've got the rest of the album to goooooo.

Two Hands, from the darkness of the previous song into the light and warmth. I love that ending guitar lick.

Weird how that last lick transitions into a more twisted and dark hard song, The Howling. Also hearkening back to the Schizoid Man. Probably should have merged the two somehow.

It wraps up with the instrumental Requiem. Kind of a Frippertronic/jammy piece. What can I say, they've had much better endings. More noodlings about in store for the next album.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars King Crimson continued their new 80s sound begun with "Discipline". "Beat" begins with 2 excellent tracks sounding similar to "Discipline"'s sound but standing alone as amazing compositions. 'Neal And Jack And Me' immediately resonated with me, with very catchy and well executed musicanship. 'Heartbeat' is radio friendly but has such an infectious melody it always stayed with me, and is my favourite on this album. Belew's vocals are excellent and the crystal clean guitars are a stunning touch by Fripp.

The rest of the album is less memorable but follows in the same vein as the other 80s KC tracks, great playing from Fripp with his polyrhythmic technique and Bruford is always a delight on percussion. The vocals of Belew are quite haunting and are successful in conveying the powerful emotions on the songs. Levin is marvellous on bass. So overall you have accomplished musicians reinventing their own sound.

'Waiting Man' and 'Neurotica' are intriguing. In 'Neurotica' we have a manic traffic jam of many sounds, a cacohony of musical pieces merged in a collage of ideas. Belew's radio commentation is nothing short of dazzlingly insane. He commentates about the frenzy of cars backed up in the jam and spouts off surreal nonsense effortlessly. It is hilarious and a bit dark at the same time, commenting on the absurd car population explosion congesting the roads. it is one of the great experimental King Crimson tracks.

'Requiem' ends the album on an instrumental, quite ethereal in places, but it is a fairly lively album overall. So "Beat" is nowhere near as good as "Discipline" but this has some shining moments and is well worth a listen.

Review by colorofmoney91
3 stars Beat is the second album of King Crimson's '80s line-up, and the music here is a bit different from the previous album. The great musicianship is still here, as are the obvious '80s influences. The main difference here is the abundance of pop-sounding tracks such as "Neil and Jack and Me", "Heartbeat", "Waiting Man", and "Two Hands" which give the album a cheesy sound that they managed to avoid on the previous release, and these tracks unfortunately make up most of the album. However, the remaining tracks are great examples of King Crimson's creativity in utilizing constructed noise and electronic effects intelligently.

This is an okay album with a few good tracks, but is mostly unimportant.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars Discipline, part 2

The early 80's is widely recognized as the darkest period in all of progressive Rock history. Most of the classic Prog and Prog-related bands released some of their worst albums ever around this time: Genesis with Abacab, Yes with 90125, Queen with Hot Space, Jethro Tull with Under Wraps, Camel with The Single Factor, Pink Floyd with The Final Cut, Rush with Power Windows, etc. King Crimson is by no means an exception to this horrific trend. After having broken up after the successful Red album in 1974, King Crimson returned seven years later with the mixed Discipline in 1981 and continued with the present one in 1982 and 1984's Three Of A Perfect Pair. The latter would be the last of three albums before the band would once again disappear from the music scene for another eleven years.

Discipline had showed us a radically different King Crimson compared to any of the earlier efforts and with new guy Adrian Belew (Talkning Heads) on lead vocals it really sounded like a completely new band. The album was indeed initially intended to be released under the Discipline moniker instead of as King Crimson, but the record label (understandably) wanted to release it as a King Crimson album. The core of the band was once again leader Robert Fripp, drummer Bill Bruford and bassist Tony Levin. Beat continued the trend set up by Discipline and in many ways it is based on the very same formula. The production is perhaps slightly more polished but there are no changes in their approach to music. The improvisational and experimental side of the band is very much alive here, but that is frankly a side of the band that I never liked very much. I am the kind of person who prefers melodies over sound-experiments and improvisation. And the present album is really dominated by the latter.

Waiting Man is the most harmonic track on Beat and it is also my favourite here. It is very much in the same vein as Frame By Frame and Matte Kudasai from the previous album. One aspect that I really cannot get into is Adrian Belew's "talking" vocal style on songs like Neurotica (and the previous album's Elephant Talk, Indiscipline and Thela Hun Ginjeet). I find his spoken musings terribly irritating and annoying and the lyrics are often silly and nonsensical. Belew can actually sing quite well when he puts his mind to it, but on this album he does not utilize this very much. While the uneven Discipline alternated between good moments and mediocre ones, Beat alternates between mediocre moments and awful ones.

A rather poor effort by a band long past its prime

Review by friso
3 stars King Crimson - Beat (1982)

With a steady line-up eighties King Crimson (Fripp, Belew, Bruford, Levin) releases it's second album with the same sound as the successful, provocative Discipline. The production is again very good for an eighties album. In this phase King Crimson sound has wave, pop and progressive elements. Fripp impresses with new, modern guitar/synth sounds and math rhythms, whilst the rhythmical section is very tight and successful in finding the right balance between pop sensibilities and technical advanced playing.

'Beat' is often seen as the weak follow-up of 'Discipline', and it can't be ignored that King Crimson didn't quite 'reinvent' itself on this album. The sound, composition style and impact are quite much the same. We get to listen to more frantic or poppy vocals by Belew, more of those mathematical guitar loops and fretless guitar sounds and more solo's with synth- guitars by Fripp. Still I came to think of Beat as a good (but not essential) album after listening to 'The Power to Believe' (2001) and 'Discipline'. The vocals of Belew have grown on me and I kind of begin to like the poppy King Crimson style with it's many ornaments of Fripp sitting in the back. However 'Beat' isn't flawless, for it has some non- interesting/irritating tracks that aren't worthwhile.

On side one 'Neal and Jack and me' and 'Heartbeat' are good poppy/catchy tracks with some nice experimentation on the background. 'Santori in Tangier' is a very strong instrumental with some of Fripp's best experimentation and great progressive atmospheres. Perhaps my favorite track of the album and maybe even of eighties King Crimson. 'Wating Man' is a less interesting song, but it doesn't hurt side one too much and I must admit I find that rhythms to be quite soothing.

On side two the quality of the music collapses when the innovative attempt that is 'Neurotica' is both irritating in it's opening section and boring in it's middle section. 'Two Hands' is a friendly ballad, but I can't bother too much about this song. 'The Howler' is another unsuccessful attempt by the band to get the listener to regain interest. This song has more of the recognizable eighties KC style, but it has no catchy moments or interesting background interventions by Fripp. The last track, 'Requim' is a very good (but heavy and avant-garde) instrumental with some sound-scapes by Fripp in the opening section and extended psychedelic 'mad-scientist-laboratory' guitar solo's. The drums of Bruford stand out as he experiments freely over the intensive atmospheres. A good ending.

Conclusion. Not a flawless album, but I did not find the drama some make of this album. In fact, only 'Neurotica' and 'The Howler' are songs that I would have rather seen replaced by more interesting compositions. Furthermore, side one is very good and listeners of vinyl (like me) are able to stop the record before the letdowns. A very good fans album, but I'll go for the big two and a halve star rating.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Beat has a somewhat controversial reputation amongst King Crimson listeners, though on balance I think it's highly underrated. I think it gets less love than its predecessor, Discipline, because whilst Discipline included a number of callbacks to the King Crimson style of the mid- 1970s, this time around the group are focused determinedly on their angular New Wave guitar- dominated style and give more prominence to Adrian Belew's off-kilter vocal performances. But pieces like Sartori in Tangier show that the band were still interested in creating intriguing, fascinating, novel and progressive music, and the handling of the beatnik concept is adept and powerful. Whilst it isn't quite as compelling and universally appealing as the classic Discipline, it's hardly an embarrassment either.
Review by tarkus1980
3 stars This album is similar in style to Discipline, but it's significantly worse. The biggest difference between this and its predecessor is that the energy that was so key to the success of Discipline is pretty much gone - it's like somebody gave the whole band Xanax before this album. The playing isn't worse or anything like that, but the sense of controlled insanity that permeated the whole album and made it sooooo cool has been replaced with .. ehn ... normalcy. Yup, the band decided for this album to focus more on "real" compositions, with some of the stylistics of the last album, and decided to go for resonance and moodiness and all that stuff. Problem is, this album shows pretty convincingly that the band functions best as mad scientists, not normal world-beat musicians, and I have to struggle to enjoy the album in a way I almost never do on Discipline.

Admittedly, some of the tracks are pretty enjoyable. Though I'm not wild about Bruford's tone in the track, "Sartori in Tangier" distinguishes itself above the rest by being dancable, complex and meditative all in one, making itself an instrumental worthy of inclusion on Discipline, even if it might not have fit in perfectly. I'm also comfortable with "Heartbeat," a moody New Wave pop ballad with a tasteful, moody backwards guitar solo, and "Waiting Man," a decent upbeat percussion-driven moody world-beat-based track. The latter would get a LOT cooler in concert, but I'm not too bothered by what's here. And hey, "Two Hands" is an ultra-pretty ballad, with some lovely echoey guitar work over a nice bassline, albeit with some slightly sappy lyrics.

Two of the other tracks are okayish, but they still border on filler. The opening "Neal and Jack and Me" is somewhat annoying for having the exact same guitar interplay that ended Discipline, and the melody is too chaotic to be memorable but too ordinary to be impressive. "Neurotica" is slightly better, but not much more than a second-rate "Thela Hun Gingeet," with rants about life in a city over chaotic jamming.

The album also closes on a relatively low note - "The Howler" is a pretty complex composition, but complexity definitely doesn't necessarily mean quality, and it just screams out filler with every note. As for "Requiem," supposedly it's a tribute to John Coltrane (I don't know why, though - Coltrane had been dead a good long time before this album), but that seems to just be an excuse for unstructured atonal jamming with lots of noise and little purpose. I like the first minute or so, but the rest, ugh ...

As much as I've more or less dissed on the album, though, I wouldn't want to give it less than *** - it's not anywhere the level of Discipline, but some of its differences from that album can (in theory) be considered improvements (e.g. the presence of "real" songs), even if they're actually a regression in practice. Regardless, this should be your last purchase of the 80's KC-trilogy, and even then you should be looking for it cheap.

Review by Blacksword
3 stars I'm very much warming to this era of King Crimson. It took me along time to appreciate the constantly changing and unpredictable approach of KC in all its different manifestations, but of course this is what makes KC the legenadary prog rock band they are. Although I've yet to explore the post 'Three of a perfect pair' era, I don't think they really put a foot badly wrong between 1969 and 1984.

These 1980's releases do seem to polarise opinion and I can understand why, but to my ears the 80's new wavey KC is quite appealing. In the case of Beat I'm going to stick my neck out and say I prefer it to 'TOAPP' and like it at least as much as 'Discipline' Although no track on Beat really matches the very best tracks on Discipline, for me it's a little more consistent throughout. Everything from 'Neal and Jack and me' right through to 'Two hands' is pushing 4 star material; consistent, melodic, well written and executed. If you're looking for long meandering passges of noodling and blinding virtuoisty then none of the 80's KC trilogy is likely to appeal. Beat has a pop edge that may completely turn off many prog rock fans, or KC 'purists' who maybe prefer the old sound. I find Belews voice irresistable. The Talking Heads edge comes through, but the Fripp guitar sound and style is still in evidence. A very polished and listenable album. Perhaps not that progressive or ground breaking, but purely as an album of its time it stands up and it entertains and pleases the ear. Possibly a good album to introduce your non prog loving friends to KC, before inflicting LTIA on them ;-)

I would also say that Beat and the albums that proceed and succeed it in this series are more true to the KC 'formula' than the 80's releases by Genesis are true to thiers. If that makes sense. The most commercial track on Beat is probably 'Heartbeat' (one of my favourite post 70's KC tracks) and despite being radio friendly and fairly formulaic in its structure, it's still not as poppy as the most poppy 80's Genesis.

Review by Lewian
5 stars Beat is the second of the early eighties KC trilogy of Discipline-Beat-Three of a Perfect Pair with Fripp on guitar and a tiny little bit of organ, Belews on guitar and vocals, Levin on bass and stick and Bruford on drums. Roughly the style is the same as on the two surrounding albums, very guitar oriented, sharp between Fripp's clean cascading sequences and Belew's howling roaring style. Bruford's drumming and the whole production are very sharp and precise as well; the absence of keyboards most of the time has taken the smoothness out and the aesthetic is rather on the leaner early 80s new wave side than proggish grandeur. Particularly Belew's singing gives the music a very worldly edge; his spontaneity and raw emotionality also provides a fascinating contrast to the precision and perfection on the instrumental side. Levin's playing is quite percussive at times,providing a solid rock element, and also, on the stick, he sometimes adds to the fine woven guitar structures. At the same time the music is very complex and multi-layered, and actually, despite being very recognisable as in the middle of the early 80s style of the group, the album also showcases the group's versatility.

As I'm writing this, Beat is the lowest rated of all King Crimson albums and stands accused of being "too poppy and commercial" in more than a handful of reviews. I don't know whether anybody ever tried to play "Neurotica" or "Requiem" to an average pop listener, but I'd certainly consider trying pretty much the whole catalog of Yes, Genesis and Pink Floyd combined to be a safer option if you don't want to risk them destroying your speakers with an axe.

That said, Beat has its catchy moments that could be played on the radio and liked by the normal guy on the streets (booh!). Heartbeat is a straight, fairly simple and emotional love song, which due to Belew's singing, the down-to-earth sound and the competence of the musicians gives you the emotions sugar-free, that is, you don't need to feel guilty if you love this (as I do). Similar things could be said of Two Hands, which is calmer and ballad-like and in fact a bit smoother and mellower (so there's some calories in this one actually) but delivers some very nice guitar work to make up for this. The other song that has a somewhat smoother feel than the rest of the album is Waiting Man, which features Fripp's typical guitar polyrhythms, and where Bruford plays some less sharp percussions and the drums only come in very late.

The Howler and Neil and Jack and Me are twisted rock songs with some similarities to Frame by Frame on Discipline. I didn't like Neil and Jack and Me much when I heard it first time but it has grown on me over time, as it evokes very convincingly a somewhat nervous feeling of disconnectedness from home. It also connects the great musicmanship of top prog music with the edginess of early 80s new wave in a good way.

Sartori in Tangier is a straight driving and very dynamic instrumental that showcases the abilities of the instrumentalists, with one of the best dynamic moments of all time when Bruford's spectacular drum rolls end the calmer interplay in the middle before going back to the sharp main theme of the song after about 3/4 of the time.

Neurotica and Requiem are the most noisy, atonal and experimental songs. Neurotica still is a conventional song, but it features stark contrasts, sudden changes between breathless jazzy and straighter but polyrhythmic rock parts, and Belew almost rapping at times. Requiem is a rather free instrumental which starts off in a fairly relaxed manner before slowly evolving into something more noisy and intense.

I started off writing this thinking that I'd give it 4 stars because, you know, Discipline came first so it has to be the really essential masterpiece of the trilogy. But listening and thinking about it while writing I realised that the musical world opened by Discipline still, even at this time, has so much unexplored space that for Beat as the second album populating it there was still plenty of room for innovation. Overall the approach taken by the band in this trilogy is so strong, with every single song on Beat still having something new and fresh and interesting to offer, that I'll settle for nothing less than 5 stars here.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Everyone knows that the line up in King Crimson was always in flux. Part of this is from musicians wanting to move on to other projects, and part of this is from Robert Fripp forming the group in different line ups to meet the sound he wanted to achieve at the time. So, with the release of "Beat", which was the 9th studio album from King Crimson, we have the very first time that the band had the exact same line up as their previous album "Discipline". This is one reason why this album is so similar to the previous one, plus there was much more room to explore this sound.

Most everyone also knows that, even though this album sold very well and was the songs were received well in concert, it is probably their weakest album. Now, as excellent of a band as KC is, their weakest album still outshines the best of a lot of other bands. I tend to think that, even though I also consider it their weakest album, it is underrated because of the high bar of material they have put out throughout their discography.

There were plenty of in-group problems throughout the recording of the album. At one point, Adrian Belew told Robert Fripp to leave during the recording of the track "Requiem". Fripp was offended, of course, and disappeared for 3 days. Belew apologized to Fripp in a long phone call and soon everything was patched up, but the group had disbanded during this time and didn't tour again until later that year. Also, even though Belew and Bill Bruford thought this album was better than "Discipline" at first, Belew later contradicted that saying that some of the songs should not have been included in the album. Fripp never did like the album much and thought it was a reflection of how far the band had wandered from their original vision.

All this being said, I still enjoy this album and consider it to be better than what most people say it is. A lot of it is focuses upon the Beat Generation, which is the real meaning to the album title. It especially was inspired by the 25th anniversary of the book "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac.

The first track takes right off where "Discipline" left off. "Neal and Jack and Me", the title of this track, refers to Jack Kerouac and his best friend Neal Cassidy. The lyrics allude to the "Me" character as the vehicles the pair toured in. It features that same industrial feeling that was prevalent on "Discipline" and has both Belew and Fripp's guitars playing in counter meters of 5 / 4 and 7 / 8. It also has that mechanical feel to it, almost like automation, helped along with Tony Levin's bass and Bruford's tricky drum patterns. It is a hard driving song that is one of the best on the album.

"Heartbeat" is inspired by Neal Cassidy's wife and her memoirs of the same name of her time with Beats. It is one of the songs that Belew claimed should have been left off the album. It is a more mellow tune, but with a changing meter throughout. Belew continues with his expressive voice as in the previous track, but a little more restrained. It follows a more standard rock structure as far as chorus/verse, but also utilizes Frippertronic style playing, as Fripp was interested in using this style in music that was more accessible, which he was actually successful in doing for various other artists.

"Sartori in Tangier" is an instrumental that starts off with Levin's bass in an atomospheric sound. Drums soon come in establishing an excellent driving rhythm along with the awesome bass. Then a really cool squealing guitar comes in providing the melody, which is probably mostly improvised. Again, you can hear Frippertronics deep in the mix on the last half of the song. The name of the track comes from Tangier, Morocco being the place of choice for the Beats for inspiration.

"Waiting Man" starts off again with that dual-guitar-face-off sound of automation and Belew's voice joins in with no other accompaniment. His vocals seem more improvised in this track with certain lyrics repeated to stress importance. Drums don't kick in until half way through when there is an instrumental break, with a continuation of the mechanical sound and other atmospheric textures being coaxed out of the guitars. When Belew's vocals return, it is in harmony, possibly with himself.

"Neurotica" takes it's name from a Beat-era magazine. Belew's vocals are spoken this time, and he sounds like someone rambling quickly with some kind of paranoia or something. The beginning of the track is actually taken from one of Fripp's solo albums where he is experimenting with Frippertronics. Later, Belew sings a few short passages, but the industrial sound of the guitars is also apparent. Just when you think Belew has reached some level of sanity, he goes off raving again.

"Two Hands" is the other song Belew wished they had left off the album. It starts off with a metallic sounding riff, but this is soon replaced with a soft percussive noise and a more mellow track. Belew takes on the same vocal Beatnick style as on "Waiting Man". While I find the guitar work very interesting, I don't care for Belew's delivery or the lyrics on this one, and I find it one of my least favorite KC tracks.

"The Howler" is inspired by the Beat poem "Howl" by Alan Ginsburg. The vocals are not as annoying as the last one, but has Belew utilizing his voice in a strange way, but it works here. Throughout the song, there is a 15 / 8 guitar riff that is similar to one Belew used for "Tom Tom Club"s song "Genius of Love".

The last track is an instrumental called "Requiem" which starts out using Frippertronics to build atmosphere. There is a drone in the background, and those are the only sounds utilized until about 2 minutes in when you hear bass and percussion thrown in. Belew also adds some tortured guitar sounds throughout. This one is entirely experimental and improvised, but just listen to the sounds these two geniuses get out of their guitars. Simply amazing. The 40th anniversary edition has a longer version of this which is twice as long, but I haven't heard it, so I can't really say how it is. But this version of the avant- prog track is quite intriguing.

The album, overall, is way too short, and that proves to be to its detriment. But I continue to believe that the album just gets a bad rap, mostly because it comes from a band that has such a high bar. Yes there are a few weak songs here, and because of the shortness of the album, these songs work against it to a higher degree than normal. Nevertheless, I still consider this a 4 star album that I like to return to on occasion when I feel like "Discipline" just isn't long enough. The two of them together would have made an amazing album.

Review by patrickq
3 stars "Heartbeat" might be the most maligned King Crimson song of any era. According to Wikipedia, the group's drummer Bill Buford and singer-guitarist Adrian Belew are among its critics. Naturally, the problem with the song varies from one listener to the next, but the fact that "Heartbeat" is an accessible pop song probably has something to do with a majority of the complaints.

Perhaps I'm overstating it, but there seems to be an idea that the song, or perhaps the album, or even King Crimson's entire 1980s output, represents some degree of "selling out" by the group. I'll certainly grant that "Heartbeat," among several of the group's songs from the era, has clear new-wave influences. But regarding the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Paul McCartney said "the mood of the album was in the spirit of the age, because we ourselves were fitting into the mood of the time... and it wasn't just the general mood of the time that influenced us... We were only doing what the kids in the art schools were all doing." Just because the Beatles did it doesn't make it right, I suppose, but this quote is a reminder that some of what we call "selling out" is common practice.

Anyway, Beat isn't as bad as you'd think from the reviews here, but compared to the other two 1980s King Crimson albums (Discipline (1981) and Three of a Perfect Pair (1984)) it comes across as a somewhat uninspired project. Apparently, at some point in the creation of this album, Belew and group leader and guitarist Robert Fripp were unable to be in the same room together; maybe it was decided then that whatever had been committed to tape would have to be sufficient. Or it may simply be that the band believed that the non-sequitur/stream-of-consciousnesses artistry of the concept would atone for a shortage of quality ideas. (The theme was the Beat Generation, whose exemplars were known for unorthodoxy.)

Most of the best moments on Beat are on Side One; to me, "Neurotica" and "Requiem," which open and close the flip side, are the weakest. Nonetheless, Side Two gets points for conceptual purity; even the relatively poppy "Two Hearts" is sufficiently off-kilter to fit the theme. On the other hand, side-one songs "Sartori in Tangier," and especially "Heartbeat," seem off-topic, but not sufficiently off-topic to make their off-topicness clever. (I do acknowledge, though, that the title "Heartbeat" does contain the word "beat," and thus might've fit an abandoned theme around the word itself.)

Like its predecessor Discipline, Beat is a good album, but far from a great one. Three stars.

Review by Wicket
3 stars When standards are set too high, disappointment is sure to follow.

"Discipline" was a breath of fresh air for the members of King Crimson, and indeed the prog world in general (especially considering prog music was basically either comatose, swept under the rug or just plain dead as a doornail). The "rock gamelan", Bruford's inspired drumming, Belew and Fripp's interlocking guitar harmonies. And on top of all that, some memorable and catchy tunes actually emerged thanks to Belew's pop-rock songwriting sensibilities.

But I feel like that pop-rock songwriting went a bit too far on "Beat".

Sure, "Neal and Jack and Me" and "Heartbeat" sound fine. The verses are a bit unorthadox, as well as the lyrics in general (inspired by the Beat Generation), and it only takes a few minutes before the chorus comes in on the former, the most pleasant part of the song, and even that only lasts a minute or so. All these songs are short compared to the goliath tracks that Crimson is known for in the past, but of course this is the 80's we're talking about now. Even Yes went commercial.

And to be fair, none of the songs are truly appalling. "Sartori in Tangier" is a cool African rhythm-inspired jam, Levin shreds on "Waiting Man", where even more African influences are prevalent, and yet it still feels like the same old same old. Is it because this is the same excuse we've been using to criticize Crimson since the beginning, or is it just because the songs off "Discipline" were just plain better? "Neurotica" actually would've been a better had it stayed schizophrenic, but roughly two minutes in, the same synth click beat returns and the hypnotic double guitars once again suck the life out of the track.

And this sort of uninspired feeling continues. "Two Hands" continues with a soft minimalism and African-styled drumming, but nothing pops out. No singular chorus or chord, no interesting noodling or groundbreaking sounds.

Only "Requiem" stands out, really. It's the closest thing to an homage of the classic Crimson schizophrenic sound. Bruford goes nuts while Belew and Fripp distort the hell out of their guitars. It's one of the highlights on the album, even though sonically it's going backwards, which is basically the exact opposite of King Crimson's MO.

So in reality, this album is about as average as average can get. Not bad, but not good. Same sounds as "Discipline", but bad songwriting and lackluster instrumental exposure. Even though I consider it a middle of the road album, I don't think even King Crimson fans should bother with it, especially since "Discipline" and "Three of a Perfect Pair" have the same 80's Crimson style, and "Three" lacks a significant African influence the previous two albums share. My advice is to just stick with "Discipline" and not bother with the others.

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nş 306

In my humble opinion, King Crimson, Gentle Giant and Van Der Graaf Generator are the three best eclectic progressive rock bands in the progressive rock history. The bigest differences between these bands is that King Crimson always has been a much respected band by a large number of fans of progressive rock world, while Gentle Giant and Van Der Graaf Generator have always been bands less checked. However, they always had a small but loyal cult of fans. But, above all, those three progressive rock bands belong to some of the best and most influential prog rock bands ever.

'Beat' is the ninth studio album of King Crimson and was released in 1982. The album does several references to the 'Beat Generation', what can perfectly have to do with its own name. It was focused on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of the novel 'On The Road' by Jack Kerouac, a pioneer of the 'Beat Generation'. So, 'Beat' is almost a unique album in all King Crimson's discography because it's, in a certain way, a sole conceptual album that deals with various icons of the 'Beat Generation'. All its eight tracks are focused on some of the various icons of that generation.

The line up of the album is Robert Fripp (guitar, organ and Frippertronics), Adrian Belew (lead vocals, guitar and drums), Tony Levin (backing vocals, bass guitar and Chapman stick) and Bill Bruford (drums).

'Beat' has eight tracks. The lyrics are from Belew and the music is from Fripp, Belew, Levin and Bruford, except 'Two Hands' wich has lyrics by Belew and Margaret Belew. The first track 'Neal And Jack And Me' has a clear overt reference to the Beatnick write duo Neal Cassidy and Jack Kerouac. It's a song filled with a driving beat and opens the album with a series of guitar loops. Belew's is shouted, whispered and sung, distorted and clean, wrapped in interlocking guitars, which are the real highlight all over the track. The second track 'Heartbeat' is the song taken to be released as their single from this album. The song was also recorded by Belew for his 1990 solo album 'Young Lions'. It has beautiful guitar tones, a good bass line and nice lyrics and vocals. This is undeniably a cheesy and pop song, but this is still a great song. Probably, you may actually heard it on the radio from time to time, which is a real rarity with King Crimson. The third track 'Sartori In Tangier' is an instrumental track and represents the antithesis of a pop song. It opens with a pseudo classical intro that quickly moves through Hammond and guitar leads. This is an excellent track with all sorts and weird musical textures creating a very impressive musical image. The title is a clever twist of Kerouac's classic 'Satori In Paris'. The fourth track 'Waiting Man' is very similar to 'Discipline'. This song reflects King Crimson's fascination with the world music. It's a very nice song where Bruford uses his electronic percussion to create a real counterpoint to the bass line. The final result is a very intricate guitar rhythm section interplay, very interesting and good. The fifth track 'Neurotica' is a very freaky and bizarre song, even in King Crimson's style, with paranoid lyrics and full of demented imagery that describes perfectly well the complete insanity of a big city at night. All band's members make a very impressive musical performance providing all sorts of lunatic scrails, for a good final result and a great break on the album. The sixth track 'Two Hands' is no more than a simple pop song. The rhythm section and the guitar touches sound nice and evoke a kind of a certain decadent romanticism. However, it has nothing to do with the quality level of the rest of the album. It's the album's lower point and represents its Achilles' heel. The seventh track 'The Howler' is a clear reference to Allan Ginsberg's classic poem, 'Howl'. It's a pretty complex musical composition and it just screams out filler with every note. This is a faster paced piece of music that picks up where the madness of 'Neurotica' left off. It doesn't hold up nearly as well as 'Neurotica', but it still refreshingly very weird too. The eighth track 'Requiem' is the second instrumental on the album and it was chosen to be the B side of their album's single, 'Heartbeat'. This song has an incredible original display that begins with a very distinctive Fripp's guitar solo, Bruford's jazz drumming and Levin's subtle additions, making of it one of the darkest King Crimson's pieces of music.

Conclusion: 'Beat' is very similar in style to 'Discipline', but it's significantly less good than its predecessor. The main difference is that the energy contained on 'Discipline' is pretty much gone, and the cohesivity that we can see all over 'Discipline' has gone too. The playing on the album isn't much worse than on 'Discipline', or anything like that, but the sense of controlled permanent insanity that cross 'Discipline' and its crazy creativity that made of it so good has been replaced by a kind of 'normality'. In general, I would say that 'Beat', although not uniformly good, has some very nice tracks on it too. There's some good material here and some of the tracks are pretty enjoyable. But, it doesn't have the depth of 'Discipline', which it otherwise only closely have some resemblances. Concluding, 'Beat' is a good album made in a terrible time to the progressive rock music. The highlights on the album are 'Neal And Jack And Me', 'Neurotica' and especially 'Sartori In Tangier'. However, 'Heartbeat' is also a very good song despite its pop style.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy, RPI, Symph, JR/F Canterbury Teams
4 stars The recording of this album didn't go smoothly, so as some masterpiece album that we all know... But this one is not much of a masterpiece. The basic elements of some songs come from the Discipline sessions, and this connection is obvious listening to the album. "Heartbeat" is a Belew number, pretty simple and repetitive. "Sartori in Tangier" brings the unique bass sound of Tony Levin. "Waiting Man" is Buruford's experimentation with a marimba-like rhythm. "Neurotica" has a fury atmosphere that represents well the sound of King Crimson. "Two Hands" is again close to The Discipline album with the drums of Bruford. To me, this album is a natural evolution of the album Discipline and deserves a better rating.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Less than a year after Discipline, King Crimson released their next album, Beat. For the first time in the band's history, their lineup remained identical on consecutive albums. Good job, guys! Beat draws much of its lyrical inspiration from writers of the Beat generation. I don't particularly care ... (read more)

Report this review (#3037506) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Monday, April 15, 2024 | Review Permanlink

2 stars For me, this is the weakest of their 80's albums. Discipline and Three of a perfect pair have more freshness, boldness. Beat bores me. The other two albums excite me. There's the usual musical craftmanship, sure. But the songwriting is lacking. Neal And Jack And Me - I heard this before on Dis ... (read more)

Report this review (#2676793) | Posted by WJA-K | Thursday, January 27, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Review #32 The four members of King Crimson who played in "Discipline" remained in the band for the following two albums. In 1982 "Beat" came out with music quite similar to the one in the previous album but with less interesting and experimental songs. The songs in this record are more into a Ne ... (read more)

Report this review (#2479616) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Monday, November 23, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Equally accessible but more commercially driven than Discipline, the second 80's effort by KC immerses the listener quickly in the typical 80's guitar textures. Heartbeat is probably the most radio-friendly and famous track by KC but stands on its own in terms of quality. The first instrumental ... (read more)

Report this review (#2232922) | Posted by sgtpepper | Sunday, June 23, 2019 | Review Permanlink

3 stars In my quest to fill all of my old ratings with reviews, I'm starting with King Crimson. Why? Because I have a lot of ratings with K.C that don't have a review. Nobody will probably read these but whatever man. The album: Beat is the 8th album by King Crimson and the second in their string of 80's ... (read more)

Report this review (#2119436) | Posted by progtime1234567 | Saturday, January 19, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It took me many years to appreciate how good Beat actually is. I first listened to this album as a teenager. I was not musically experienced enough to appreciate it at that time. I thought it was mediocre and I put it away in my record collection to gather dust for many years. Maybe twenty y ... (read more)

Report this review (#1978047) | Posted by Chaser | Wednesday, August 15, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars With ingredients not very different from Discipline's, Beat has a flashier sound especially due to the use of (sometimes boosted up) chorus effects. Dorian short synth guitar solo of energetic Neal and Jake and Me is amazing cathartic... Heartbeat is a well crafted mellow pop song that tempers th ... (read more)

Report this review (#1976336) | Posted by jayem | Thursday, August 9, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Too short, too rushed, but some excellent Adrian Belew songs. Crimson toured around their Discipline album, but hadn't written enough tunes for a full album by the time they entered the studio to record Beat. So, they wrote tunes in the studio, including some improvisations. The result is more m ... (read more)

Report this review (#1696034) | Posted by Walkscore | Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Not much is needed to be said about King Crimson's 1982 album Beat, other than it is more or less the same as many other 70's bands' absorption of 80's sound. Beat is infamous for it's split between fans of King Crimson; some say it's good musicianship pulls it through even with the musical styles i ... (read more)

Report this review (#1291116) | Posted by aglasshouse | Monday, October 13, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars King Crimson is most likely my favorite band. They practically define what progressive music is, IMO. I couldn't give anything they do less than 3 1/2 stars; Beat is their 3 1/2 stars. It's still more interestiing than 90 % of whatever you could hear on the radio. It's just not up to most ... (read more)

Report this review (#1002665) | Posted by thwok | Sunday, July 21, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I find nothing to highlight or praise about this album. Shortly after the big Discipline, this. Why such a lane change? I know that King Crimson has always tried to innovate with the next work, but Beat does not make sense. In a few moments outlining some of the group's recognized style. I can ... (read more)

Report this review (#984813) | Posted by sinslice | Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Beat is usually considered one of King Crimson's poppiest albums, but this is kind of a tricky distinction to make. Like the two it is sandwiched between, it has a mix of poppier songs and more experimental songs (well, I guess Discipline was more even, but Three of a Perfect Pair certainly had this ... (read more)

Report this review (#805330) | Posted by Zargasheth | Thursday, August 16, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I can't seem to get into "Beat" as much as the other 80s King Crimson albums, "Discipline" and "Three of a Perfect Pair". It's definetly the weakest of the three. Don't get me wrong, it has it's good points and some of the songs are very interesting. It just dosen't pack the punch that the ot ... (read more)

Report this review (#740228) | Posted by smartpatrol | Sunday, April 22, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This one is often cited as the low point of King Crimson's career, but I beg to differ - Three of a Perfect Pair is even worse. No, in all seriousness, this is not an awful record, but it is so inconsistent that I don't think giving it a rating as high as three stars is justified. After all, the gui ... (read more)

Report this review (#415611) | Posted by 1791 Overture | Monday, March 14, 2011 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Another disappointing album from King Crimson ... ... and when I say disappointing, I say this because the influences of the Talking Heads are still here, thanks to Adrian Belew.Ao listen to "Beat", I had one certainty: they will never again play the sound of such masterpieces as "In the cour ... (read more)

Report this review (#414837) | Posted by voliveira | Saturday, March 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

1 stars ONE AND A HALF STARS; BIZARRE, BUT NOT GOOD BACKGROUND: This album of Kind Crimson, BEAT, comes after they reconvened in the 1980's, after a hiatus in the late part of the 1970's. In the first half of the 1970's King Crimson were a leading band in the movement known as progressive rock. Thei ... (read more)

Report this review (#359209) | Posted by Brendan | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Like many before me, I find this to be King Crimson's weakest album. As much as I was bored by the new sound of KC in Discipline, this took it farther down to my taste. This seems to be the only period of KC for me that seems dated. Very 80's-new wavish, is my feeling. I prefer The Talking Hea ... (read more)

Report this review (#340185) | Posted by mohaveman | Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I don`t agree with the rating on this CD... For me it deserves 4 or 5 BECAUSE Comparing this one to others works like RED or 21st.... it seems to be less creative and more pop-ish BUT according to its year of release IT IS A PERFECT DECENT ROCK POP ALBUM and it is PROGRESSIVE TOO! songs ... (read more)

Report this review (#250635) | Posted by 12212112 | Saturday, November 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Really inferior to all the previous Crimso releases, and inferior to "Three Of A Perfect Pair" and "THRAK", but in no way a bad album. Too short (35 minutes, the shortest Crimso album), too poppy, but there are really great tracks here, like "Sartori In Tangier", "Neal And Jack And Me", "Requi ... (read more)

Report this review (#248850) | Posted by Zardoz | Sunday, November 8, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I am very surprised to find this gradioutious materpiece so underrated. The firts song Heartbeat, although it sounds a little poppy is realy wonderful. You could even dance at a disco. The second son Neals, Jack and me, is another wonderful song. But the best tracks are very deep. So deep that they ... (read more)

Report this review (#236028) | Posted by amontes | Monday, August 31, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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