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.
‘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.
Our next Montauk Madness matchup pits somebody it’s very cool to like against somebody it’s very uncool to like. Beck, meet John Mayer.
I’m a big fan of both of these guys, so I’ll try to keep the hipness factor out of my vote. I realize that appreciating John Mayer is not great for my street cred, but I think anybody who dismisses his musical chops or his songwriting ability is mistaken. Sure, the guy can be a smug prick and some of his songs veer too close to maudlin, but so many more are spot-on.
In 2005, Beck released Guero, a return after several detours to the vibe he tapped on Odelay, and his top-charting 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.