The Golden Age - Beck (2002)
As a teen in the mid-90's, you had no choice but to be mesmerized by the man they call Beck Hansen. As we have progressed in our lives, we have heard more and more of the music that influenced this genius of the Alternative Nation, but it still doesn't take away from his Paul's Boutique meets Trout Mask Replica sample-rama he presented to us in those years. Mellow Gold, Odelay, Mutations, Midnight Vultures........these albums captured our collective imagination, while also providing us with ample reasons to pull out our parents massive headphones to let that wonderful noise cascade through our bodies.
Who knew he had a Nick Drake streak?
Slightly hinted at on 1998's highly underrated Mutations, Sea Change comes off like a lost gem from the Skip Spence/Syd Barret utter sadness folk genre. Beck had just come out of a long term relationship and the tunes he penned were like a slacker's Blood On The Tracks, which I am pretty sure is how Rolling Stone described it in their glowing review. Leading it all off is today's track, which introduces us to introspective Beck, who is quite different from ADD/kitchen sink Beck.
This is a man whose pain is something we have all felt at some point in our lives.
We've just never felt it so pretty.
Beck continues to trail blaze, what with Guero, The Information, Modern Guilt and his Record Club cover projects. He hasn't made another album like Sea Change, but he doesn't need to. That period of his life is over but it's always there, on your chosen format, when you need its soothing tone to whisper in your ear that everybody hurts, even buzz bin magnates.
Beck toured with The Flaming Lips as his backing band for this record, and their cover stands leaps and bounds above most because it is lived in. they knew this song like the back of their hands. Wayne Coyne's cracked voice has never sounded better.