This was another crazy week for me – but at least I got to listen to a decent song here or there. Check out my review of Erin Kay’s new album Into the Light on eartothegroundmusic.co – and here. Also, please see my list of Beck memories and moments below! Since this is the last post for March, I’ll have a new Spotify playlist and CD giveaway ready for you soon. Have a Happy Tuesday!
A Brief Summary of My Personal Beck Experience:
- Mellow Gold (1994) – like most people, this was my first exposure to Beck. I was really young, and one of the “cool kids” in school was obsessed with Beck and the song “Loser”, so I was automatically drawn to it. “Beercan” has held a special place in my heart since a friends’ band performed a funkified cover of the song at a college music fest. And I’m pretty sure that “Pay No Mind” was on one of the first mixed tapes I ever got from a boy.
- Odelay (1996) – This has to be on someone’s list of the top 100 albums of all time. What an amazing year for music, at such a pivotal time for self-expression and artistic evolution! Lots of sampled sounds and edgy combos of acoustic and electric instruments on this one. “The New Pollution” is definitely my favorite track from this one (again discovered on a friend’s mixed tape) that takes me way back to high school.
- Mutations (1998) – I remember this album coming out; I remember the cover art. I didn’t think I remembered any of the songs until I pulled it up Spotify again for this article. Holy heck, do I remember this! Again, so much of that 90s sound and attitude, with Beck’s disinterested vocal style and basic acoustic guitars behind everything. This CD does include some of the slower, more intentional themes and styles that you will see emerging later on Sea Change and Morning Phase – be warned! “Tropicalia” is my favorite, possibly just because it has a great beat and it really moves.
- Midnite Vultures (1999) – If you ask me what my favorite Beck album is, I will say without hesitation that it is Midnite Vultures, the sometimes comically danceable CD emblazoned with neon-pink stretch pants from 1999. The fact that this fun release coincided with my freshman year of college is probably not surprising to anyone. The songs “Broken Train” and “Beautiful Way” are more what you would consider “typical” Beck, in line with prior releases. My favorite track is a tie between the raucous “Sexx Laws” and the 90s pop-style “Pressure Zone”.
- Sea Change (2002) – I love the opening song, “The Golden Age”. In 2002 I was a fresh college graduate, with a new apartment – I am sure I spent way too many long hours of unpacking sentimental crap while listening to this album. There are lots of open, easy guitar chords on this – Beck has a gorgeous singing voice, but there is none of the craziness on this album that makes some of the other releases so much fun. But because it is Beck himself, there are lots of intelligently sampled and selected effects, and instrumentations that make each song a work of art.
- Guero (2005) – The album opens with the rhythmic and awesomely gritty “E-Pro”; this is catchy and unforgettable. My favorites are actually “Girl” and “Black Tambourine”. There are slower songs mixed into the crazy fun beats on this album, but somehow the energy seems to keep moving throughout, instead of sliding into some kind of stale sameness. I’m tempted to say this is my 2nd favorite Beck album; but then again 2005 was a really great year for me so my rosy retrospection is probably in full effect.
- The Information (2006) – The song “Elevator Music” is classic Beck, with the semi-rapped lyrics over a funky background and a catchy chorus. “Think I’m In Love” is my favorite. A lot of the songs on here are dancy and fun, but this is about the time I started getting really sucked into grad school and really fell out of listening to anything other than bland study music. Sadly I really don’t remember most of these songs, at least not to sing along to.
- Modern Guilt (2008) – “Gamma Ray” is an awesome song, with a vintage Vultures-esque feeling on the chorus, and lots of fun vocal effects. “Chemtrails” is a slower song, with Beach Boys style vocals over a really rad baseline. But my favorite is “Soul of a Man”, as always just because of its simple rocking style – I can imagine Patti Smith singing something like this. Honestly, this whole album is pretty good and I should spend more time re-discovering it. This is about the timeframe during which I became extremely busy with work and life, so I stopped listening to good stuff and would just scan pop radio stations. I think I also had a Sirius subscription in 2008, and so it was too tempting to listen to 80s hair bands in unhealthy amounts. Ah, memories!
What is YOUR Personal Beck Experience?!