20080709

Guiltless Beck


I was just sitting here thinking that it's pretty amazing to still find Beck in the forefront of commercial consciousness. I remember listening to "Loser" in the car 14 years ago in Seattle when the Dj's actually were playing a hand-dubbed tape of it because they were so desperate to play it on the radio. At the time, "Loser" seemed like a gimmicky satire of the grunge movement, still in full swing in 1994. And here we are, 2008, listening to his newest offering Modern Guilt, produced by none other than Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley).

And it's really good. And I'm not sure how he's still doing it after all this time other than this: Beck Hansen is hella tight, yo. The production here is stellar, at times delving into lo-fi Spoon territory ("Modern Guilt"), bouncing right into glitchy breakbeats that would have been at home on Thom Yorke's The Eraser ("Replica"), and sauntering into '60s/'70s underground ("Gamma Ray") flawlessly. His voice is drawls as forlornly as ever on the slow-burning "Volcano", proving you'll still recognize this incarnation of Beck. He is the ultimate hipster changling, tackling genres with bravado, diving into the muck of mainstream expectations and coming out clean on the other side.

Hell, yes.

Listen:
Replica
Volcano
[from Modern Guilt|buy]

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