The Random iTunes Fairy is at it again, giving us a Beck twofer this weekend. Today’s track is a deep cut from the 2005 album Guero, Beck’s best-selling release in the 26 years since the multi-platinum Odelay.
Guero reunited Beck with producers The Dust Brothers, who worked on Odelay, and the album has a similar alt-hip-hop vibe. Today’s track features Jack White on bass, and was co-written with White and the Dust Brothers.
The second single from Beck’s 2008 album Modern Guilt, ‘Gamma Ray’ sounds like the ghost of a long lost surf rock song.
Beck followed Modern Guilt six years later with the wonderful Morning Phase, a spiritual sequel to 2002’s Sea Change that was a surprise Album of the Year winner at the 2015 Grammys.
‘Rental Car’ is the penultimate track on Beck’s 2005 album Guero, a critical and commercial hit that continued a streak of stellar releases dating back to Mellow Gold in 1994.
That 11-year span saw the release of seven albums swinging between the kaleidoscopic alt-rock buzzsaw Odelay and the melancholy sobfest Sea Change. Guero falls a lot closer to the Odelay side, in large part because Beck reunited with the producing team The Dust Brothers.
It’s been awhile since I’ve given Beck’s 1999 album Midnite Vultures a thought, let alone a listen. In fact, the last time was probably when it showed up on another Random Weekend nearly four years ago.
This is one of Beck’s wildest, most inventive albums, and one of his best. It found the versatile artist channeling Prince at one minute and Kraftwerk the next, and throwing the kitchen sink into the production mix. Sandwiched between Mutations and Sea Change, two very subdued and melancholy albums, this was a blast of pure adrenaline.
Best Albums of the 2010s – #12
Morning Phase – Beck (2014)
Today’s selection is a great example of how opinions change over time. Back in late 2014, I ranked Beck’s Morning Phase as my #13 album of the decade so far.
Now, five years later, I have it at #12 on my whole-decade list. And a few of the albums I ranked above it back then aren’t on this list at all.