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?!
I hate to even mention Daylight Savings Time, but something was making me feel a little chaotic this week. I hope you don’t mind me taking an extra day to get organized before posting my Other Lives review!
Also, I know totally botched the execution of this month’s “drawing”/contest for the February CDs, which is horribly unfair. I knew I could easily track my Facebook shares from the blog, but it is hard to find out who is actually sharing – so I’ll be running any giveways directly from https://www.facebook.com/rockmycommute going forward. Be sure to “like” my page, so we can stay in touch!
The extra hour of sunlight and nearly 60-degree weather on the home commute is helping me to feel energetic and whole again – I’m looking forward to popping a new CD in the Prius tomorrow and getting back to work. Have a wonderful week!
P.S. Thank you Libby, Jo, Bill, Ginger, and Lydia for being faithful readers and supporters. You’ll each be getting a CD in the mail from me soon!
UPDATE: To make sure I see your February CD drawing entry this week, try sharing a blog post from my facebook site (https://www.facebook.com/rockmycommute), OR you can comment on my blog, OR you can send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks – sorry for the confusion while I figure this all out!
February always flies by so fast, and at RMC this February was no exception. Somehow I always found just enough time to jot down my thoughts about each week’s CD, as one day rolled into the next and things felt busier and busier… Happily this month’s music selections were mostly AWESOME! So, I have four great CDs to give away: Milky Chance, Manu Chao, Head and the Heart, and Guster.
I also now have RMC t-shirts available! They’re a lovely gray with a white logo; $10 each in S/M/L/XL.
To win a CD, just share your favorite RMC album review on your facebook page! I’ll announce the winners on the RMC facebook page too. I’m trying this for the first time, so we’ll see if this works better than last month’s email fiasco. To order a t-shirt, send me a note with your details (size and address) and we can arrange payment (amazon bucks, paypal, old-fashioned check or hopefully – swap for a new CD!): email@example.com
Thanks so much for showing support for this project, and for keeping it going with your music suggestions.
This has been a fun week at RMC. I started my Facebook page, and finished my Spotify playlist for February! I also got to check out a friend’s band playing a local show; and managed a few extra minutes listening to vinyl albums around the house – so my entire weekend had a musical focus that kept my spirits high and rocking.
A note about Spotify –Since February is super short, I had to add more of my own favorites to this month’s playlist. I noticed that most of the CDs I’ve been listening to lately have been extra-mellow, so in keeping with the theme I chose some subtler songs by artists you’ve probably heard before: Townes Van Zant, Jackson Browne, Mindy Smith, and CSN.
Please enjoy on “shuffle” mode for best effect! And don’t worry; I’ll make sure that the March playlist has a little more edge.
RMC took an extra-long holiday trip this past weekend, for some much needed R&R. I am emerging from my vacation-state feeling relaxed, rested, and hopeful for what is coming next! It will be a busy week at work, but thankfully my little car is well-stocked with exciting music suggested by all of YOU to help me prepare for each crazy new day. My review of Manu Chao’s 2000 album is a little late, but well-timed for a welcome diversion to the winter blues and the radio blahs. Please check it out!
In other fun news for this past week, I also received a special Valentine’s Day gift from my most supportive fan – a reminder to stick with the blog and to keep exploring new tunes this year!
I hope that each of you feel rested and inspired this week – there is plenty to do and see, so get out there and GO!
I didn’t realize I’d be reviewing an album by “The Head and the Heart” so close to Valentine’s day, but I have now decided to make things official with a super sweet theme photo on the main post. There’s nothing wrong with love, in fact it’s all we need – and there’s certainly nothing wrong with loving yourself enough to check out some new and rewarding music. I hope you enjoy!
I need to communicate a small change to my format this month – I’m skipping the track-by-track posts for now. They are very time consuming for me, and they are just not getting the exposure at this point in time to be worth it. If you have a particular request on a specific album, then I probably have enough information on hand in my notes to share this detail with you – just let me know. For now you’ll just see the full album reviews and my “news” notes on the blog each Tuesday.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to heartily congratulate my college roommate on being the only person who entered the drawing for January’s CDs, and so she gets to take her pick! Maybe we’ll get a few more takers next month. There are some good albums coming up, and I’ll have the February playlist up on Spotify soon to prove it. Until then, Happy Valentine’s Day, and happy listening.
It is a shame to wrap up my first full month of music reviews with something kind of disappointing, but please check out this week’s Guster review to either 1) completely disagree with me (if you are a huge fan), or 2) do yourself a favor and avoid the latest album! I couldn’t even think of a clever photo idea for their Evermotion CD, so I snapped an image of the odd Amazon scenario that shows only 10 reviews for a three-week-old release! Supposedly a picture is worth 1000 words…
Even with the occasional less-than-thrilling album to check out, this past month of RMC has been an excellent experience for me. I have truly enjoyed the decadent feeling of an abundance of new tunes to savor during my commute, and I have had many wonderful conversations with new contacts and old friends about this project. Mission accomplished! Just 11 more months to go, and I’m looking forward to the journey.
There is no way I’m parting with my copy of BTE’s “All Together Now”, but to celebrate my first month of RMC I’ll gladly pass along the other five CDs to the first five people who send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Now to get started on my February playlist!