Song of the Day #2,399: ‘Country Down’ – Beck

beck_morning_phaseLike most of the world, I assumed Kanye West was joking when he started to take the stage following Beck’s Grammy win for Album of the Year.

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.

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Song of the Day #2,304: ‘Heart is a Drum’ – Beck

beck_morning_phase

Best Albums of the 10s So Far
#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.

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Song of the Day #2,083: ‘Morning’ – Beck

beck_morning_phaseRecently, I listened to an NPR interview with Beck about his new album, Morning Phase.

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.

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Song of the Day #2,066: ‘Milk & Honey’ – Beck

midnitevulturesLast week I bought Beck’s new album, Morning Phase, a sequel of sorts to 2002’s sublime break-up record Sea Change.

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.

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Song of the Day #1,515: ‘Sing It Again’ – Beck

Today we arrive at another of those ‘Oddball’ misfits whose music I enjoy despite the fact that it sounds like nothing else in my collection.

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.

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Song of the Day #976: ‘Side of the Road’ – Beck

Three albums of the twenty I’m featuring in this series are what I would call heartbreak records. They stem from and focus on the end of a relationship. The first is Beck’s 2002 Sea Change.

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.

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