Your headphones are probably pretty good. Or maybe you have a couple of bookshelf speakers or floor-standing speakers that really fill up the room. For most listeners, that would be enough to enjoy your music to the fullest.
But if you want to experience the sweeping breadth of lush bass-heavy music tracks, there’s no substitute for a sound system with a subwoofer.
If you’ve already got one, I hope it can handle this bass assault. And if you don’t, you have no idea what you’re missing without it. Because here come 12 of the bassiest songs you need a great subwoofer to fully experience!
Badge – Cream
Bet you’re surprised that I started with a rock band, aren’t you? Cream is a legendary British band that dabbled in blues, psychedelic rock, and even took on a hard edge in some tracks. While Eric Clapton shredded the guitar, Ginger Baker tore up the drum set. But it was Jack Bruce’s bass that tied everything down and gave the band some groove.
Check out Badge, which feature’s Bruce’s jazz-inspired melodic bass licks. And make sure you have your sub volume turned up to feel that bass walking across your chest.
Angel – Massive Attack
Keeping things British, my next bass-rich track is Angel by Massive Attack. This track by the kings of trip-hop is all airy, slow, and grinding with a thick and murky bass that seeps through the whole of their 1998 album Mezzanine.
It’s dark and ambient, with a sort of industrial growl and a slow pulse that honestly creeps me out a bit. It’s sort of like watching a horror movie when you just know someone’s about to get it.
With a great sub, this track is going to fill up a whole room and leave it dripping in a cold sweat.
Smack My Bitch Up – The Prodigy
Next up is a song that came out about the same time but from a different scene. Smack My Bitch Up from the 1997 album of the same name may be one of the most controversial tunes of all time. If the name and lyrics aren’t enough, the video for this song showed a drug-fuelled violent romp through the streets of 1990s London.
Electronic punk masters, The Prodigy, drop one of the heaviest and most recognizable bass-heavy beats I can think of in this track. It’s aggressive, violent even, and definitely worth a big bass blowout on your stereo.
But if it’s too much to handle, someone has done a surprisingly good blend of Smack with Enya’s Sail Away that takes the edge off for those not used to such low-end depths.
Fantasy – The xx
After that intense aggressive sound, I need something to chill out to. The xx has got exactly that, with their unique brand of anesthetic ambient electronic rock. Does that even make sense? Fantasy is a track off their 2009 debut album xx. It’s warm, lush, and deep.
So is the bass. If you’ve heard this track before, but without a sub, chances are you’ve skipped over it. The depth of the bass here is critical to the song. But through a great subwoofer, you can get fully immersed in this track. It might not make sense until you listen to it at high volume, but to me, this is what it would be like to drown in toffee.
Mango Drive – Rhythm & Sound
Dub techno godfathers Rhythm & Sound deliver a track that’s almost as deep and luxurious as the previous one with Mango Drive. But instead of drowning in toffee, here, we’re talking about floating in a giant pool of mango soup. Put it on with the bass up high – you’ll see what I mean.
The bass here is intentionally muddy to shake your chest and help you digest your tropical breakfast. I can’t think of a better track to chill out to under a palm tree in the setting sun. Just so long as the sound system has got the subs to rattle my ribcage.
So What – Miles Davis
If we’re really chilling, why not put on one of the ultimate relaxing jazz records of all time? So What, off Miles Davis’ legendary Kind of Blue is the first track on this album and sets the tone for a silky smooth jazz bar feel.
The sound on this recording is so perfectly done by Columbia Records; you feel like you’re right in the room with all these ultra-talented musicians.
Without a great subwoofer, however, you just don’t get the same atmosphere. It sounds flat and hollow without Paul Chambers’ steady walking bass lines strolling in and around Davis’ melodic modes. But with the bass high, and the night creeping in, and a martini in your hand, this is potentially the smoothest jazz track ever.
Moondance – Van Morrison
Since we’re talking jazz, why not hit up Moondance next? While this is a long time before Van’s full-on jazz career, there’s a leaning here, an obvious appreciation for what jazz masters had been doing up until 1970, when this track was released. But there’s still an element of pop here, with a catchy chorus that’s easy to sing along to.
But with the bass turned up, you can realize just how important the low-end is to this song. Bassist John Klingberg plays a steady walking bass line throughout the track. It’s simple but effective in keeping the tempo and groove of this song solid.
Sacrificial Dance (The Rite of Spring) – Igor Stravinsky
Now, this might be a surprise. I know you were probably expecting more hip-hop and electronic tracks in a list of songs you need a great subwoofer to fully experience. But think about it – orchestral music is so huge that it would be a shame to leave out the bottom end.
Sacrificial Dance from Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring is an excellent example. With pounding bass drums and violent tympani, this song blasts as hard as any metal track you can think of. Don’t believe me? Crank up the sub and see if your house doesn’t fall down by the end of this track.
Bullet in the Head – Rage Against the Machine
Let’s get hard and heavy once again. Rage is known for their attacking style, screaming guitar, and slamming beats. On Bullet in the Head, though, it’s bassist Tim Commerford’s chance to drive things along. The track starts with his solid, groovy bass line, which continues to repeat through the track until the breakdown when he lets loose and tears it up.
But that’s not all. With your subwoofer cranked, the bass drum sounds like a cannon firing bullets at your head. Or cannonballs. Or whatever. Just try it.
Cloak of Love – Genghis Tron
If we’re going to get heavy, let’s get heavy. Tons of metal, like orchestral music, showcases virtuosity and incredible, extreme musicianship. But it might not necessarily make you think of bass. Well, Genghis Tron is going to change your mind.
Part brutal marauding invader, part electronic wizardry, the entire 12-minute Cloak of Love EP is going to rip you a new one. And if you dare to turn the bass up all the way, expect your building to collapse.
Warning – wear a helmet!
Strike – Koan Sound
Here’s a massive track from a little-known group. On Strike, Koan Sound channels a metal flavor into a kind of dubstep-drum and bassy, video game-inspired track. The bass here is insane. It’s breakneck fast, deep and juicy, but also perfectly modulated, so it never comes through muddy. If this is what Koan Sound is about, they’re going to go places.
Bouzouki – Aero Chord
I have to admit; I am a big bouzouki fan. So, when I stumbled onto Aero Chord’s track Bouzouki by accident, you can imagine how surprised I was. Yes, there’s bouzouki here. But there’s a whole lot more crunchy, hard-hitting dubstep bass that will make your head explode.
This track is absolutely sick. And any DJ dropping in on the dance floor should be held responsible when nothing is left but a puddle of melted speakers.
Black and Yellow (K Theory Remix) – Wiz Khalifa
You didn’t think I’d put together a list of the sickest bass songs without at least one hip-hop track on it, did you? Impossible. And while there are plenty of tracks to choose from, one of the best I’ve heard lately is Black and Yellow by Wiz Kalifa.
Wait – lately?
This 2010 track isn’t exactly new, but the K Theory Remix I discovered, with the bass turned up to extremes, is a bit newer. This is a pounding remix that’s going to get every last person down on the dance floor shaking to the massive bottom end.
Love Listening to Music? Your Sound System up to Snuff?
We got your audio needs covered. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Subwoofers for Music, the Best Under Seat Subwoofers, the Best Car Subwoofers, the Best 12-Inch Subwoofers, the Best 15-inch Subwoofers, the Best PA Subwoofers, and the Best Competition Subwoofers you can buy in 2021.
Want to get the best sound from your subwoofer? Take a look at our handy guides on Subwoofer Placement, Difference Between an Active and Passive Subwoofer, Why Do Some Subwoofers Have Left and Right Inputs, and How to Connect a Subwoofer to an Amplifier for more useful information.
It’s not true of all music, but there are for sure some songs you need a great subwoofer to fully experience. And what’s a great subwoofer? You don’t have to go crazy and trick out your car with a $100 system. You don’t need to drop $500 on a home stereo sub, either.
If you want to get the best out of your stereo and enhance your listening experiences, trust me and get a subwoofer. You’ll never look back. Except maybe when your building is crumbling to the ground, and you’ve just made your narrow escape.
Until next time, let the bass go on.