Tuesday, October 03, 2006


The Information

Beck Hansen’s impossibly innocent eyes communicate that he is beyond considering record sales, marketing campaigns, or anything that could potentially taint his artistic pureness. The songwriter has proven himself an anomaly in the record industry; He writes a nonsensical slacker anthem that becomes a generation’s hit (“Loser”), constructs a pastiche of randomness and wins a Grammy for it (Odelay), records a follow-up of retro-mutant psychedelica and gets raves reviews (the appropriately entitled Mutations), re-emerges with such screaming irony that surely it has to be sincere (Midnite Vultures), and then shares a document of pain so stark and depressing, it sounded like a suicide note (Sea Change).

But with 2004’s Guero, Beck stopped innovating and combined virtually all the aforementioned album concepts into a compilation of unfinished songs. The replicas of vibes, chords, beats, and sounds from the spider-webbed attic of Hansen's mind proved that the perennial loser's last album wasn't where it's at, it was where it's been.

The Information isn’t wholly unlike its predecessor but it feels infinitely more organic. Maybe current producer Nigel Godrich was able to accomplish what the Dust Brothers couldn’t: realizing complete ideas. The ninth major label release relies less on samples and studio trickery and emphasizes on a live jam atmosphere. Percussion used in songs like the spontaneous “Nausea” and the saloonesque “Strange Apparition” are presumably forks, glasses, vases and other household items. Simply put, it’s a fun record with more impulsive smiling than forced winking. Unfortunately though, at 15 songs, some tracks like “1000 BPM” and “We Dance Alone,” are superfluous and unnecessary. It’s another instance of too much Information.

Beck - "Strange Apparition"

*Review to be published in the upcoming DIW Magazine.


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