Beck Reviews

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Morning Phase

Review Morning Phase is true to its title: the beginning of yet another amazing chapter in Beck's peerless career and catalogue. Featuring musicians who have backed him on many of his most acclaimed albums, as well as the current live shows widely hailed as the best of his career (Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Joey Waronker, Smokey Hormel, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., and Jason Falkner), Morning Phase harkens back to the stunning harmonies, song craft and staggering emotional impact of Beck's most classic ballads, all the while surging forward with undeniable optimism.
Sea Change

Review Beck's seventh album, Sea Change, signified a dramatic musical shift in sound and tone from its predecessor, the funky, R&B-influenced Midnite Vultures, and as its title suggested, was a profound transformation. Inspired by the dissolution of a longtime relationship, Beck transformed his sadness into both his most personal and beautiful record to date, trading his trademark sample-filled songs and impressionistic, irreverent lyrics for pensive melodies, sweeping strings and direct, confessional lyrics. Produced by Nigel Godrich, the album, which peaked at #8 on the Billboard 200, was made with a full band which included guitarist Smokey Hormel, keyboard player Roger Manning, drummer Joey Waronker; Beck's father, David Campbell, provided string arrangements. While widely praised upon release in 2002, the album has only grown in stature. Rolling Stone's David Fricke hailed it as 'the best album Beck has ever made,' adding it's his 'Blood On The Tracks,' and the record was listed in their 2009 definitive list of the '500 Greatest Albums of All Time' and the '100 Best Albums of the 2000s.' In SPIN's 10-year anniversary piece, they declared it 'the best melancholy album of the millennium' while The Guardian called it 'his masterpiece.' The album will be released as a double LP with a download card featuring 320kbps AAC MP4 audio files of the entire album.
Guero

Review Originally released 20 years ago on June 18, 1996 on DGC, Odelay was Beck's breakthrough follow-up to his platinum bow, Mellow Gold. Selling more than two million copies in the U.S., the double-platinum-certified Odelay featured classics that loom large in Beck's live sets to this day, including 'Where It's At,' 'Devils Haircut' and 'The New Pollution.' Odelay won two GRAMMY® Awards in 1997, Best Alternative Music Album and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for 'Where It's At,' and was Beck's first album to be nominated for Album of the Year the top honor his most recent album Morning Phase took home last year. Produced by Beck with collaborators the Dust Brothers, Mario Caldato Jr., Brian Paulson, Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf, Odelay continued to demonstrate and expand upon Beck's eclectic stylistic palette. It was universally praised upon its release, named Album of the Year in both Rolling Stone and the prestigious Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics' poll, as well as the U.K. New Musical Express' critics' poll, where the album represented Beck's platinum breakthrough in England. In 1998, Q magazine readers voted Odelay one of the greatest albums of all time, while Rolling Stone ranked it in its 2003 list of the '500 Greatest Albums of All Time,' and #9 on its list of the '100 Best Albums of the 90s.'
Odelay

Review Beck kept fans and critics guessing about how he'd follow up Sea Change and in 2005 released the genre-mashing Guero which shot to #2 on the Billboard Top 200--his highest charting album to date. Beck's eighth album saw him reuniting with the Dust Brothers with an assist from producer Tony Hoffer (Midnite Vultures), for a tour de force of Latin rhythms, rhymes, guitars, beats, samples, 8-bit electronics, turntables and vocoder for a fun and freewheeling ride through rock, hip-hop, boss nova, country-blues and soul. Album opener and lead single, 'E-Pro' went to No. 1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart, while 'Girl,' 'Hell Yes,' 'Go It Alone' (featuring Jack White on bass) and more became instant fan favorites. The album was a hit with critics as well with New York magazine enthusing, 'Beck integrates his personae into a fairly seamless whole, and his knack for synthesizing disparate musical elements (hip-hop, robot funk, blues, country, jazz, garage rock, etc.) extends beyond samples and individual tracks. The songs migrate smoothly from one to the next; there aren't any throwaway numbers to sabotage the album's momentum; the whole thing coheres,' while Rolling Stone dubbed it 'his liveliest and jumpiest music in years.' This marks the first time Guero will be available as a single LP.
Modern Guilt

Review Modern Guilt is the tenth studio album by musician, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Beck. Modern Guilt features two contributions by Cat Power and co-produced by Danger Mouse. The hit track 'Chemtrails' is a genre-bending tour de force that showcases Beck and producer Danger Mouse's shared affection for late '60s Psych-Pop. The album releases on July 8, 2008, his 38th birthday.
Mutations

Review In the last few years, Beck has freely sailed the seas of electronic and alternative music, but he is now back on land with Modern Guilt, an album that gravitates mostly toward electronic music and that, unfortunately, only has a couple of songs that really stand out ("Modern Guilt," "Orphans"). The problem has nothing to do with the fact that this CD is more electronic than acoustic. The sound is poor, and it sounds as if Beck were actually singing out of a barrel. Also, the beat doesn’t change from one song to the next, and if you don’t listen carefully to each song, you could not tell when tracks change. Despite Beck being one of the most creative and versatile musicians in recent years, the songs of this album have no depth. Let’s just hope that Beck surprises with his next. --Ernesto Sánchez (People en Español People en Español)

En los últimos años, Beck ha navegado libremente por las aguas de las música electrónica y la alternativa, ahora está regreso al mundo de la música con Modern Guilt, un disco que se inclina más hacia la música electrónica y que desgraciadamente sólo tiene un par de canciones que se destacan como "Modern Guilt" y "Orphans." Y el problema no tiene nada que ver con el hecho de que sea un disco más electrónico que acústico, el sonido del disco es muy pobre, pareciera que Beck está cantando dentro de una cubeta, y el beat no parece cambiar de una canción a la otra. Si no se pone extrema atención a cada canción no se dará cuenta del momento en que cambian los tracks. Si bien Beck es uno de los músicos más creativos y versátiles de los últimos años hay que decir que este es un disco en el que los temas carecen de profundidad. Esperemos que Beck realmente nos sorprenda con su siguiente producción. --Ernesto Sánchez (People en Español People en Español)


Midnite Vultures

Review BECK MELLOW GOLD
Mellow Gold

Review Far more than a novelty jester, Beck is a musical anarchist and bummed-out street prophet whose audience will squirm and thrill to the slacker delta blues of "Whiskeyclone" and urban nightmares like "Truckdrivin Neighbors Downstairs." --Jeff Bateman
The Information

Review Beck ~ Mutations
A Moon Shaped Pool

Review On his 1996 breakthrough album Odelay, Beck Hansen surprised a sleepy music community by blending funk, rock, rap, alternative, and electronica in ways that were both startlingly innovative and irresistibly catchy. Mutations is equally attention-grabbing but not in the gangbusters-pimp-rock-meets-indie-geek style you might expect. Reflective and plaintive, the album reveals Beck's more sentimental side with an eclectic collection of acoustic-based songs that will sound familiar to anyone who cherishes his indie-rock effort One Foot in the Grave. And don't think just because Beck's gone soft, he's gotten boring. From one song to the next, the chameleonic guru strums pensively, shimmies to a bossa nova rhythm, swirls on a psychedelic cloud, plucks Baroque strains from a harpsichord, and weeps countrified tears into a rusty tin bucket. On Mutations, Beck proves that an undistorted guitar and a bit of creativity can easily sound as exciting as two turntables and a microphone. --Jon Wiederhorn
One Foot in the Grave - Expanded Edition

Review Three years in the making, The Information is the album Beck began work on in 2003 with producer Nigel Godrich (Radiohead's OK Computer, Kid A; Beck's Sea Change, Mutations) and finally completed this year once Guero's massive success and encore touring engagements, as well as Nigel's other commitments, were fulfilled. The Information is comprised of 15 songs and a DVD featuring homemade videos for each of the 15 songs shot in-studio during the actual sessions. The artwork for The Information is either non-existent or infinite, depending on one's point of view. Each copy will come in a blank package with one of four collectible sticker sheets specially designed by European and American artists and representative of the unique Beck aesthetic. The stickers will give every Beck fan the opportunity to participate in the creative process by designing his or her own one of a kind CD cover.
Sea Change [2 LP]

Review On The Information, Beck Hansen is seriously bummed out. Not that he sounds it as much as he did on 2002's laconic, Fred Neil-worshipping Sea Change. Technology and stuff, and the way it gets in the way of human interaction, is the subtext if not the full-on concept at play here. Recorded with art-rock anal-retentive Nigel Goodrich at the helm, work began on this album not long after Sea Change but was shelved for a few years while Mr. Hansen made 2005's Guero with the Dust Brothers. Unsurprisingly, it sounds a bit like both of those. The trappings of minimalist pop, fuzzy folk, click-hop, hip-hop, baroque psychedelia, and funky pop are to be found on this endearing release. Like Jean Cocteau or David Bowie, Beck is an artistic chameleon whose greatest gift is knowing which artists to borrow from, and when. The cover artwork consists of stickers that you can arrange however you like, which perhaps appeals too much to your own nostalgic/retro, "Trapper Keeper" sensibilities. And yet, it's kind of awesome, something you can't believe has never been done before. Much like the album it adorns. --Mike McGonigal
Odelay [LP]

Review Expanded edition of the Pop/Rock uber-genius' 1994 album including 16 bonus tracks (13 of them previously unreleased). This 15th Anniversary edition comes housed in an expanded and collectible digipak. Bonus tracks include cuts from the rare 'It's All In Your Mind' single. The original edition of the album has been out of print for over four years, making this collectible reissue a must-have for Beck fans, new and old. 2009.
Guero [LP]

Review Special Very Limited CD Digipak.
Morning Phase [LP]

Review When Beck mangles folk, hip-hop, country, blues, and lo-fi rock into a unique sonic species, he pays homage to his influences in a way that is utterly entertaining. Indeed, the alt-rock vagabond is responsible for some of the 1990s' most indispensable music. In his lesser moments, however, Beck's attempts at emulating his preceptors fall flat, creating only B-grade versions of the genuine articles. Midnite Vultures splits down the middle between the great Beck and the not-so-great Beck. About half the album gorges on retro pulp fiction, a "Becksploitation," if you will, where his relatively straightforward impersonations shortchange his influences. On the slow-burn soul tracks "Peaches and Cream" and "Debra" or the 808-driven tributary "Hlwd. Freaks," he lacks the pipes, heart, and history to pass as a legitimate double-breasted soul man or old-school rapper. The other half, finding Beck in his element, is exhilarating. His unfaltering studio mastery is especially evident on standouts such as the horn-punched "Sexx Laws," the steamy, slap-bass-blasted "Nicotine and Gravy," and the wah-wah bombast of "Mixed Bizness." The album proves that Beck playing the straight-up funkateer will never match ranks with the raw talents of Marvin Gaye, George Clinton, or Prince, but as long as he adheres to more inventive genre splicing, he remains compelling in his own right. --Beth Massa
Modern Guilt

Review Morning Phase is true to its title: the beginning of yet another amazing chapter in Beck's peerless career and catalogue. Featuring musicians who have backed him on many of his most acclaimed albums, as well as the current live shows widely hailed as the best of his career (Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Joey Waronker, Smokey Hormel, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., and Jason Falkner), Morning Phase harkens back to the stunning harmonies, song craft and staggering emotional impact of Beck's most classic ballads, all the while surging forward with undeniable optimism.
Paul's Boutique (20th Anniversary Edition) (Vinyl LP)

Review Beck's seventh album, Sea Change, signified a dramatic musical shift in sound and tone from its predecessor, the funky, R&B-influenced Midnite Vultures, and as its title suggested, was a profound transformation. Inspired by the dissolution of a longtime relationship, Beck transformed his sadness into both his most personal and beautiful record to date, trading his trademark sample-filled songs and impressionistic, irreverent lyrics for pensive melodies, sweeping strings and direct, confessional lyrics. Produced by Nigel Godrich, the album, which peaked at #8 on the Billboard 200, was made with a full band which included guitarist Smokey Hormel, keyboard player Roger Manning, drummer Joey Waronker; Beck's father, David Campbell, provided string arrangements. While widely praised upon release in 2002, the album has only grown in stature. Rolling Stone's David Fricke hailed it as 'the best album Beck has ever made,' adding it's his 'Blood On The Tracks,' and the record was listed in their 2009 definitive list of the '500 Greatest Albums of All Time' and the '100 Best Albums of the 2000s.' In SPIN's 10-year anniversary piece, they declared it 'the best melancholy album of the millennium' while The Guardian called it 'his masterpiece.' The album will be released as a double LP with a download card featuring 320kbps AAC MP4 audio files of the entire album.
Villains

Review Originally released 20 years ago on June 18, 1996 on DGC, Odelay was Beck's breakthrough follow-up to his platinum bow, Mellow Gold. Selling more than two million copies in the U.S., the double-platinum-certified Odelay featured classics that loom large in Beck's live sets to this day, including 'Where It's At,' 'Devils Haircut' and 'The New Pollution.' Odelay won two GRAMMY® Awards in 1997, Best Alternative Music Album and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for 'Where It's At,' and was Beck's first album to be nominated for Album of the Year the top honor his most recent album Morning Phase took home last year. Produced by Beck with collaborators the Dust Brothers, Mario Caldato Jr., Brian Paulson, Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf, Odelay continued to demonstrate and expand upon Beck's eclectic stylistic palette. It was universally praised upon its release, named Album of the Year in both Rolling Stone and the prestigious Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics' poll, as well as the U.K. New Musical Express' critics' poll, where the album represented Beck's platinum breakthrough in England. In 1998, Q magazine readers voted Odelay one of the greatest albums of all time, while Rolling Stone ranked it in its 2003 list of the '500 Greatest Albums of All Time,' and #9 on its list of the '100 Best Albums of the 90s.'
OK COMPUTER OKNOTOK 1997 2017

Review Beck kept fans and critics guessing about how he'd follow up Sea Change and in 2005 released the genre-mashing Guero which shot to #2 on the Billboard Top 200--his highest charting album to date. Beck's eighth album saw him reuniting with the Dust Brothers with an assist from producer Tony Hoffer (Midnite Vultures), for a tour de force of Latin rhythms, rhymes, guitars, beats, samples, 8-bit electronics, turntables and vocoder for a fun and freewheeling ride through rock, hip-hop, boss nova, country-blues and soul. Album opener and lead single, 'E-Pro' went to No. 1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart, while 'Girl,' 'Hell Yes,' 'Go It Alone' (featuring Jack White on bass) and more became instant fan favorites. The album was a hit with critics as well with New York magazine enthusing, 'Beck integrates his personae into a fairly seamless whole, and his knack for synthesizing disparate musical elements (hip-hop, robot funk, blues, country, jazz, garage rock, etc.) extends beyond samples and individual tracks. The songs migrate smoothly from one to the next; there aren't any throwaway numbers to sabotage the album's momentum; the whole thing coheres,' while Rolling Stone dubbed it 'his liveliest and jumpiest music in years.' This marks the first time Guero will be available as a single LP.
american dream

Review Modern Guilt is the tenth studio album by musician, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Beck. Modern Guilt features two contributions by Cat Power and co-produced by Danger Mouse. The hit track 'Chemtrails' is a genre-bending tour de force that showcases Beck and producer Danger Mouse's shared affection for late '60s Psych-Pop. The album releases on July 8, 2008, his 38th birthday.

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