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Album Review

Beck's debut, Mellow Gold, was a glorious sampler of different musical styles, careening from lo-fi hip-hop to folk, moving back through garage rock and arty noise. It was an impressive album, but the parts didn't necessarily stick together. The two albums that followed within months of Mellow Gold — Stereopathetic Soul Manure and One Foot in the Grave — were specialist releases that disproved the idea that Beck was simply a one-hit wonder. But Odelay, the much-delayed proper follow-up to Mellow Gold, proves the depth and scope of his talents. Odelay fuses the disparate strands of Beck's music — folk, country, hip-hop, rock & roll, blues, jazz, easy listening, rap, pop — into one dense sonic collage. Songs frequently morph from one genre to another, seemingly unrelated genre — bursts of noise give way to country songs with hip-hop beats, easy listening melodies transform into a weird fusion of pop, jazz, and cinematic strings; it's genre-defying music that refuses to see boundaries. All of the songs on Odelay are rooted in simple forms — whether it's blues ("Devil's Haircut"), country ("Lord Only Knows," "Sissyneck"), soul ("Hotwax"), folk ("Ramshackle"), or rap ("High 5 [Rock the Catskills]," "Where It's At") — but they twist the conventions of the genre. "Where It's At" is peppered with soul, jazz, funk, and rap references, while "Novacane" slams from indie rock to funk and back to white noise. With the aid of the Dust Brothers, Beck has created a dense, endlessly intriguing album overflowing with ideas. Furthermore, it's an album that completely ignores the static, nihilistic trends of the American alternative/independent underground, creating a fluid, creative, and startlingly original work. [Odelay is also available in an import release.]

Customer Reviews

Masterchef at work

Beck's use of influences - Country, Bossa Nova, Hip Hop etc. could threaten to overwhelm the listener in a welter of different sounds, over-shadowing some pretty elegant songwriting. Yet he pulls it off sublimely, never letting the various ideas and motifs spin out of control. I first heard this album nearly ten years ago and it still sounds fresh - the sign that you're listening to great music. An essential part of any discerning record collection.

Catchy Stuff

Theres just something about Becks head being in a jar in futurama that makes his music more interesting.

beck's best

definately becks best album, followed by mutations. check out devils haircut, new pollution, where its at and minus


Born: 08 July 1970 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Initially pegged as the voice of a generation when "Loser" turned into a smash crossover success, Beck wound up crystallizing much of the postmodern ruckus inherent in the '90s alternative explosion, but in unexpected ways. Based in the underground anti-folk and noise-rock worlds, Beck encompassed all manner of modern music, drawing in hip-hop, blues, trash rock, pop, soul, lounge music — pretty much any found sound or vinyl dug up from a dusty crate — blurring boundaries and encapsulating...
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