“Sometime in the last 10 or 20 years,Â rock drumming has changed.Â Many drummers will now don headphones in the studio (and sometimes even for live performances)Â and synchronize their playing to an electronic metronome – the click track. This allows for easier digital editing of the recording.Â Since all of the measures are of equal duration, it is easy to move measures or phrases around without worry that the timing may be off.Â The click track has a down side – some say that songs recorded against a click track sound sterile,Â that the missing tempo deviations added life to a song.” (Music Machinery via The Daily Swarm)
According to this data:
Troublemaker by Weezer – No click track
American Idiot by Green Day – click track
Enter Sandman by Metallica – No click track, tempo deviation in song
Never Again by Nickelback – No surprise there, Nickelback uses a click track.
Fire Fly by Breaking Benjamin – It is clear that they use a click track too, but what is interesting here is that you can see the bridge, the hump that starts at about 130 seconds into the song.
Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin – Tempo deviation, John Bonham never used a click track.
We reached out to David Bendeth who produced Fire Fly by Breaking Benjamin. His comments:
“Just because you see a drummer with headphones on does not mean he is playing to a click, it just means he is trying to. Click tracks don’t speed up or slow down – drummers do. This test should be retaken with more accurate data”