Monday, June 20, 2005

With A Noose She Can Hang From The Sun

Beck's music makes for great conversation pieces. It really does. Hanging out with my family this past weekend in Los Angeles for my youngest brother's graduation from UCLA, my cosuin Jim & I got into quite an intense conversation about music. Now, it also could've been the Sparks and/or Macallan that got us all worked up, but it was definetely Beck's new album Guero that initiated everything. To properly set the scene for you, I need to describe my cousin and I. I am the music nerd of the family. He is not. He is the smart, NYC living, lamb shank making, Bloomberg employee of the year. I am not. So when he starts off a conversation with me by stating: "Hey, did you know that when Beck is in the process of mixing his albums, he always brings a copy home and listens to it from various rooms in his house? You know, to see what his music would sound like from a distance or through a wall?" Dammnit! I should know this stuff! Not him! But that's exactly what I love about my family. They never cease to surprise and amaze the hell out of me.

So. Beck. Great artist. Amazing songwriter. I mean, who else could go from Odelay to Mutations to Midnite Vultures to Sea Change to Guero. I'm getting dizzy just thinking about it. The man really is quite an enigma. People have said the same thing about me before, but I don't quite think they meant it in the same way. Beck's new album revisits the sounds and styles that brought him initial success, but it doesn't come across as a cold or calculated move. Instead, it sounds as if Beck, now a husband and father in his mid-thirties, is revisiting his older aesthetic and sensibility from a new perspective. The sound has remained essentially the same — it's still a kaleidoscopic jumble of pop, hip-hop, and indie rock, with some Brazilian and electro touches thrown in — but Beck is a hell of a lot calmer, never indulging in the lyrical or musical flights of fancy or the absurdism that made Mellow Gold and Odelay such giddy listens. He now operates with the skill and precision of a craftsman, never dumping too many ideas into one song, paring his words down to their essentials, mixing the record for a wider audience than just his friends. For your listening (dis)pleasure, here are some of The Vicar's favorite tracks off the album:

Beck: Que Onda Guero

Beck: Girl

Beck: Missing (aka Brazilica)

Beck: Go It Alone

Beck: Scarecrow

Bonus tracks for your listening (dis)pleasure:

Beck: Send A Message To Her (Japan Only Bonus)

Beck: Chain Reaction (Japan Only Bonus)

Beck: Crap Hands (Japan Only Bonus)

You can watch the excellent new video (and my favorite track off of "Hot Fuss") for The Killers "Smile Like You Mean It" here.

Two great Hendrix covers:

Belly: Are You Experienced?

P.M. Dawn: You Got Me Floating

Some random tracks The Vicar is bumping at work today:

Spoon: Take The Fifth

The Go! Team: Huddle Formation

Weezer: Island In The Sun (Demo with organ)

A.C. Newman: Drink To Me Babe, Then

Cracker: Shake Some Action

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Catholic School Girls Rule

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Thirty Dirty Birds

The Shins: Turn A Square

Stevie Wonder: I Was Made To Love Her

Stevie Wonder: Uptight (Everything's Alright)


Blogger cellophanegirl said...

I don't know why it took me so long but Huddle Formation is such a great song!! :)

5:40 PM  
Blogger spencer said...

nice set list

7:26 AM  

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