After he became a national punchline and punching bag for interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards, I figured Kanye had developed a sense of humor.
‘Turn Away’ – Beck
Morning Phase, Beck’s unofficial sequel to his melancholy classic Sea Change, turned out to be every bit as good as its predecessor.
Filled with minor key ruminations on love, loss and rebirth, the record makes for one hell of a wallowing good time.
#13 – Beck – Morning Phase
Earlier this year, Beck released a sequel (in spirit, if not title) to 2002’s gorgeous break-up album, Sea Change. Morning Phase has the same sad acoustic ambiance of its predecessor, but it is concerned more with mortality and self-fulfillment than heartbreak.
He spoke in his low-key, casually eloquent way about his early influences (predominantly folk musicians) and the hows and whys of the production of this record, one of his best.
At one point, the hosts played the beginning of ‘Morning,’ the album’s opening song (not counting a brief instrumental) and Beck got a bit choked up.
Morning Phase has the same somber tone and cry-in-your-beer lyrical style as Sea Change but goes in some different melodic and production directions, with some of its songs reminding me of everything from Simon & Garfunkel to Pink Floyd.
Beck defies categorization not just among my musical preferences but in general. Early in his career, he blended an alternative singer-songwriter style with hip-hop and electronica, but was just as comfortable releasing an acoustic folk album. He followed the kaleidoscopic pastiche of Odelay with the somber mope balladry of Mutations, then shifted gears again with the dance party of Midnite Vultures.
This album represented a major stylistic and lyrical shift for Beck, whose previous work blended hip-hop, funk and folk-rock and featured absurdist hipster poetry. Sea Change was a mostly acoustic affair with straightforward lyrics about love and loss. And despite all of the inventive ground-breaking music he’d released to that point, it felt immediately like the best thing he’d ever done.