After five and half minutes of bubbly Caribbean bass, pretty licks, and sweet singing, Sade's "Cherish the Day" breaks—there is a moment of silence/tension, and then the regime of a pounding hiphop beat. It runs for fifty seconds.
In the concert performance of this tune, when the slamming hiphop beat hits, the musicians, one by one, leave the stage. First the drummer puts down his sticks and walks away; he is followed by the keyboardist, percussionist, the guitarists, and, finally, Sade. Her beauty vanishes, and all that is left is the hiphop beat. It pounds on its own. No one is needed—no singer, no musicians, no living thing. This is the dictatorship of the beat. The musicians can only surrender to its mechanical will, its factory logic, its inhuman repetition. The loops are identical and refuse to give us the pleasures of variation and verticality. All narrative pleasures have been pounded out of existence by the inflexible and inexorable progress of the beat machine. This is the end of human emotion, of cherishing.