The fall of 2017 is shaping up to be quite a nice time for new music releases. Since the week before Labor Day, the following artists have either released or are planning to release new albums: LCD Soundsystem, Neil Young (the long-awaited release of his mid-Seventies folk album Hitchhiker), Foo Fighters, The Prophets of Rage (rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy, rapper B-Real of Cypress Hill, the musicians of Rage Against the Machine [guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk] and DJ Lord of Public Enemy), Queens of the Stone Age, U2, Beck, St. Vincent, Miley Cyrus, The Killers, Morrissey, The National, Ariel Pink, Robert Plant, Margo Price, Weezer, The Replacements, Hüsker Dü, “Weird Al” Yankovic and Taylor Swift (will it be more crying about how many bad boyfriends she has over the past couple of years…again?).
Personally, I am excited about most of the artists listed, including U2 (of course) and Beck (my new obsession). I hope to fill out the blog with information about many of these artists, except I will personally stay away from Taylor Swift. Is it just me or does she just use guys to dump her so she can write more he-used-me-for-sex-and-then-dumped-me-I’ll-write-a-song-and-break-confidentiality-of-our-relationship songs that middle school girls will devour? Oh well, she needs to quit letting those guys take rides on her rollercoaster, then she won’t feel used so often. Or, maybe that’s her plan. Regardless, I really don’t care. Let’s move on to a real artist. Today, I present to you the artist with whom I am currently hyperfocused, and we all know the artist I am talking about is Beck!
Back in 1994, during the heady days of Gen X exerting its power by joining the budding Alternative Nation, attending its traveling circus called Lollapalooza and buying grunge rock, gangsta rap and nu metal CDs, a young artist burst onto the scene with a song that either defined Gen X or parodied the stereotypes of Gen X. That artist was Beck with his Nineties anthem “Loser”. Today, casual rock fans will remember that song, probably not fully comprehending the sarcasm that was dripping from the lyrics. And, although Kanye West has no idea of the breadth of Beck’s career (Kanye said that Beck should give his Album of the Year Grammy to the more deserving Beyonce for her tedious Lemonade album; sorry, Kanye, learn a little about musical history and hear how rich and diverse Beck’s catalog is compared to yours, since you are stuck in the hip hop genre). It is very unfortunate that a young artist has a song that captures the public’s imagination so thoroughly that they have forgotten what a fantastic artist Beck is.
Over the years, Beck has amalgamated so many diverse genres into his sound that you can only describe Beck’s music as being Beck’s music. When he started, he was taking folk, rap and alternative rock and mixing and blending them into the sound of his debut album, Mellow Gold. He continued that aural journey on Odelay, arguably his masterpiece. Odelay was full of folk, hip hop, rock, country and samples galore, earning him a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. His musicality is unparalleled by current artists’ standards, including Kanye West. Heck, his other masterpiece is a slice of updated folk music (Sea Change), and it’s spiritual twin (Morning Phase) that earned him the Grammy that got Kanye whining again.
Next month, Beck’s latest album, Colors, is scheduled to be released. Over the past two years, Beck has released two outstanding singles that will be included on this album. Both of the singles were performed at the concert I attended Sunday, the big alternative hit from 2015 “Dreams” and the Talking Heads-ian electro-funk workout from 2016 “Wow”.
With that said, let’s take a look at My 20 Favorite Songs by Beck.
20. “We Are Sex Bob-Omb” (2010)
19. “Go It Alone” (2006)
18. “Think I’m in Love” (2005)
17. “Tropicalia” (1998)
16. “Defriended” (2013)
15. “Blue Moon” (2014)
14. “Strange Apparition” (2006)
13. “Lost Cause” (2002)
12. “Whiskeyclone, Hotel 1997” (1994)
11. “Jack-Ass” (1996)
10. “Gamma Ray” (2008)
9. “e-Pro” (2008)
8. “Debra” (1999)
7. “Guess I’m Doing Fine” (2002)
6. “Sexx Laws” (1999)
5. “Dreams” (2015)
4. “Devil’s Haircut” (1996)
3. “Where It’s At” (1996)
2. “Loser” (1994)
1. “Wow” (2016)
That’s it, fans! That is my Beck playlist that I have been using since the concert. Until tomorrow, keep on rockin’ in the free world!