Song of the Day #524: ‘Girl’ – Beck

In 2005, Beck released Guero, a return after several detours to the vibe he tapped on Odelay, and his top-selling album to date.

Just about anything would feel like a let-down after Sea Change, but in a way Guero reflects the lessons Beck learned making that album. It’s a more mature, reflective record, even as it indulges in street-smart hip-hop flourishes and oddball backing tracks. He seems more focused on this album, less likely to throw in everything including the kitchen sink. The result is one of his most consistent records, and one of his best.

Some of the heartbreak carried over from Sea Change as well. Here are the opening lyrics of the bossa nova ballad ‘Missing’:

I prayed heaven today
Would bring its hammer down on me
And pound you out of my head
I can’t think with you in it

I dragged all that I owned
Down the dirt road to find you
And my shoes, worn-out and used
They can’t take me much farther

But the album overall is not such a downer. Today’s SOTD, ‘Girl,’ opens with a sound effect Beck borrowed from a Gameboy device and worked into his rhythm track and then jumps into a surf rock pastiche that would have felt at home on a Beach Boys record.

I saw her, yea I saw her
With her black tongue tied round the roses

A fist pounding on a vending machine
Toy diamond ring stuck on her finger
With a noose she can hang from the sun
And put it out with her dark sunglasses
Walking crooked down the beach
She spits on the sand
Where their bones are bleaching

And I know I’m gonna steal her life
She doesn’t even know what’s wrong
And I know I’m gonna make her die
Take her where her soul belongs
And I know I’m gonna steal her life
Nothing that I wouldn’t try

Hey, my cyanide girl
Hey, my cyanide girl
My cyanide girl
Hey, my cyanide girl

I saw her, yea I saw her
With her hands tied back
Rags a’ burnin’
Calling out from a landfilled life
Scrawlin’ her name upon the ceiling
Throw a coin in a fountain of dust
White noise, her ears are ringing
Got a ticket for my midnight hanging
Throw a bullet from a freight train leaving

And I know I’m gonna steal her life
She doesn’t even know what’s wrong
And I know I’m gonna make her die
Take her where her soul belongs
And I know I’m gonna steal her life
Nothing that I wouldn’t try

Hey, my cyanide girl
Hey, my cyanide girl
My cyanide girl
Hey, my cyanide girl

One thought on “Song of the Day #524: ‘Girl’ – Beck

  1. Dana says:

    I’ve heard this song quite a few times, and always really dig it.

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