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Review – Beck "Modern Guilt" (2008) July 4, 2008

Posted by rawkfistmusic in 2008, Beck.
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Written by Bree

Editor’s Note – The following is a review of an incomplete album. The overall opinion of said album is subject to change, as is this review.

If one were to be discussing the amazing sounds that is Beck, you wouldn’t hear the name Bek David Campbell thrown around much: But that’s who he is. Beck Hansen, born Bek David Campbell in July of 1970, has been hailed by some critics as being one of the most idiosyncratic artists of the 90’s and 2000s. Being who I am, I won’t lie- I love it. You all will remember him, especially by his album Sea Change, which hit #8 in the top 10 album listing in 2002. Or maybe you recall his album Guero, which featured a collaboration with Jack White –from The White Stripes– and received The New York Time’s Critic’s Choice, and hit #2 on the billboards, pushing out a cool 162,000 copies in the first WEEK of selling. However you may remember him, most of you remember him in a good way.
We’re back, in 2008, with just 4 days until the release of Modern Guilt– produced by Danger Mouse- the 8th album in this long line of wonderful, and yeah, I’ve listened to almost the whole thing. ALMOST the whole thing.
The album starts out with the track “Orphans” . It’s not my favorite track, but I have nothing bad to say about it. It has a definite Beach Boys sound to it though-which in all honesty shouldn’t surprise me. It does however boast a tambourine or two- which is actually pretty cool ringing along Beck’s lyrics “I think I‘m stranded / but I don‘t know where…” While listening to this song you’ll also notice that there is definitely a second vocalist, singing very, VERY quietly against Beck’s words. It’s Chan Marshall, You’ll know her as Cat Power. I hope you’re as thrilled to notice this as me.
Track two, “Gamma Ray,“ immediately makes me think The Beatles got a hold of the instruments. The song stays this way too, quick drum strokes and more tambourines and some quick guitar picking. The lyrics are typical Beck, being accompanied by a chorus of “AHHHHHHHHHHHs” every other line or so, “Trying to hold / hold out for now / With these ice caps melting down…” Natural occurrence lyrics, slow desperation- Inscrutably beck.
The third track is by far my favorite. “Chemtrails” , is this album’s little piece of wonderful.
Picture this: You’re laying in bed and you flip the play button on your stereo. Your room immediately flips into overdrive, converting into a musically induced trip. The room begins resonating with keyboards droning in and out as you hear Beck’s ironic vocals slowly entering into the picture- now riddled with flashback ambiance. All of this is taking your musical trip to a new extreme, intensifying the song until you break clean, loud, and fast at the very last moment with tambourines, drums, experimental noises and keyboards. I know you felt the adrenaline just like I did. Just wait until you actually hear it- I’m telling you, it’s love.
“Modern Guilt,” the 4th track is a new brush of something different. It’s not something I was expecting to hear. It’s got a new, funny taste to it. The song starts out sounding like something out of The Pink Panther soundtrack, and then these obnoxious button noises start to inflict upon the concentration of lyrics, and Beck’s voice is being matched by keyboards- it’s actually kind of a stressful song. Beck sings his own sound effects and pushes out his usual lyrics- but it’s just not me.
Skipping over to the 6th track, “Youthless,” I feel as though I really have to reinforce to you the smile that graced itself across my face. The guitar strumming is fun, the keyboarding classic, small noises in the background aren’t distracting me, and Beck’s vocals are as brilliant as ever. “Signs of life don’t stop and think of you /You’d better lay my body down / Deadweight that you carry round / The static is lulling me to sleep.” Folks, Pay attention to the lyrics. They’re miraculous. Beck sings loud and proud, and then his words slowly die, replaced by some truly badass keyboarding. Oh yes, you can’t resist the urge to replay this song over and over.
Out of what I’ve head so far in this album- I’m really excited to pick up my copy on Tuesday. I can’t wait to finish the remaining 4 tracks, and have no doubt that it will be in my CD changer for quite a long time, replaying over and over and over until the day you have to rub it repeatedly just to get it to play again. As far as rating goes- I haven’t listened to the whole thing, but if its as impressive as the 6 tracks I’ve heard, then it’s getting a good rating. Though it is getting docked for mistakes like track #4 and some of the distracting noises playing against the vocals in several tracks. All in All.

9 out of 10

Download This – “Chemtrails”

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