Bass is responsible for a lot of the visceral connection we have with music. Sub bass, especially, physically resonates with us if it’s loud enough at a concert or club, for instance; bass is a huge part of music and has been since the classical era. These days we associate heavy bass with pop/hip-hop/EDM, but it’s important to recognize just how heavy it can be in other styles as well, even if it’s in a different way. Here are fourteen songs with a lot of bass, from new school to old school, extreme metal, and more.
Songs that Have a Lot of Bass — Best Songs to Test Bass
The following is a selection of songs with a lot of cool bass stuff going on. To clarify what I mean by that, some of these heavy bass songs have objectively huge low-end, and some just have groovy bass lines which aren’t necessarily window-shattering by today’s standards.
If you just got a new subwoofer or pair of monitors, see how low your system goes with heavy bass songs in a variety of genres. Take any of these for a spin and see for yourself which are the best songs to test bass with!
“Super Bounce” – Duckwrth
The bass in this track is a prominent melodic line. The overall production has a sort of lo-fi vibe, and it’s interesting to see how the bass and kick interact. Even in higher octaves, the bass carries most of the low-end content, while the kick adds a bit of punch.
“Starboy” – The Weeknd
Daft Punk teamed up with The Weeknd and his team for production on this song. This is a more obvious example of heavy bass, with a constant 808 thump below a midrange-y kick. Check out how another layer of melodic 808 enters on the second half of the chorus. There’s even sections with synth bass; lots going on in the low-end here!
“What’s the Use?” – Mac Miller
Thundercat contributed bass to this soulful track by the late Mac Miller. If you haven’t heard of him, Thundercat is one of the best contemporary funk/R&B/soul bassists today. There’s a lot of bass in the kick, but it never seems to overpower the bass melody that carries the entire track.
“Fly Away” – Flatbush Zombies
Flatbush Zombies are a hip-hop trio out of Brooklyn. This may be one of the best songs to test bass with because the arrangement is so sparse. It begins with a piano, and then a sub-heavy 808 line comes in before 1/3 of the trio’s, Meechy Darko’s, vocals enter. A simple drum beat fills in the production in the latter half of the song, while the sub bass line continues.
“By the Ton” – Meshuggah
When we talk about songs with a lot of bass, metal/rock often gets left out. If it isn’t an 808 or some ridiculously thick bass synth, it typically doesn’t meet modern specs of what qualifies as heavy bass. Well, Meshuggah are one of the heaviest bands on the planet. There’s a lot to unpack in the low-end here; 8-string guitars, bass, and kick, are all vying for position. This song has a lot of bass, plain and simple.
“Heart of the Sunrise” – Yes
Even classic progressive rock can have a lot of bass. Listen to how the unison guitar/electric bass complement each other in the intro; Chris Squire and Steve Howe create a formidable wall of sound. Following that is one of the grooviest bass parts in all of prog (my opinion, of course). Any track which features a bass guitarist so prominently is a song with a lot of bass, even if it isn’t what we’d call “2021 heavy.” Squire fills out the mix’s bottom end throughout the entire song.
“Of Reality – Palingenesis” – Tesseract
Here’s a cool example of modern progressive metal in which 7-string guitar and bass play off one another. In this genre especially, you’ll typically find the bass tone has some midrange and a bit of grit. Together with the guitars, the bass uses a complementary tone to glue everything together while filling out the bottom. In this particular track, bass and guitar play different parts, allowing the bassist (Amos Williams) to take a prominent place in the mix.
“New Born” – Muse
Muse manages to make a ton of noise as a three-piece, and there’s a lot of bass in this song. We can thank the huge, dirty, octave guitar in addition to the bass guitar part itself. The production is massive, and a perfect example of what you can achieve in the low-end on a rock song.
“Welcome to the Party” – Pop Smoke
One of the hallmarks of drill production is gliding and sliding 808 lines. The late Pop Smoke’s breakout track, “Welcome to the Party” is an excellent blueprint for drill music. Here we have booming sub as well as a higher octave 808 (which does the sliding and gliding, and creates a melody of sorts).
“Dim” – Skyharbor
Skyharbor are a progressive metal outfit from India (with a former English vocalist, and current American one). Their arrangements are quite dense; 7-string rhythm guitars, ambient guitar, synthesizers, and more. The mix in this song is particularly tasteful, and the bass guitar fills in a very obvious spot where you can hear it prominently throughout the track amidst the denseness of the rest of the instruments.
“Moon Man” – Young Thug ft. Strick & Kid Cudi
Chosen from trap artist Young Thug’s album from earlier this year, “Moon Man” is a perfect example of what we consider heavy bass in modern production. Both kick and 808 are loud and proud—actually, the loudest and proudest elements of the entire mix. The rest of the production is dreamy and sparse, further emphasizing the subs when they hit.
“Le Freak” – CHIC
Bernard Edwards is one of the most prolific and talented bass players of all time. Alongside Nile Rodgers, the pair singlehandedly helped define the disco/funk sound of the ’70s and beyond. “Le Freak” is not only one of the most famous songs of the era, but Edwards’s deft bass playing is on full display. He and Tony Thompson’s kick drum work together to bring the low-end to life.
“Them Changes” – Thundercat
It makes sense that a solo artist, who is a ridiculous bass player, is going to feature a lot of incredible bass in their music. Duh! This song is a groovy and funky throwback to previous generations, with the precision of modern production that places it in today’s age.
“Another Day” – Kid Cudi
Kid Cudi’s latest release, Man on the Moon III, contains elements of trap, pop rap, hip hop, and other influences. “Another Day” features instrumentation by a who’s-who of modern producers—longtime collaborator Dot da Genius, Take a Daytrip, and Nosaj Thing—and includes a mix of kick, 808, and synth bass to create a thunderous low-end that isn’t overpowering.