Success had been a long time coming for Beck. After a string of releases over time, he finally hit the big time after the hit earlier on in his career Loser went massive and the release of this album, shortly afterward. It is seen as a genre busting and experimental album of music that works well on many levels. Let’s take a listen to this album and see how it sounds, it should be an interesting listen indeed. This album was also produced by the infamous The Dust Brothers, so it should sound quite different.
We begin with Devils Haircut which begins with a decent guitar riff and some random lyrics. This is a brilliant effort from Beck that is interesting, varied and original with some odd sounds in it. A very experimental piece of music that sounds pretty random, but is musically accomplished. A wonderful and energetic listen that is not bound to any specific genre out there, this is definitely interesting. Weird and wacky, a great three minute piece that ends with some nicely mixed screaming. A good start to this album.
Next along is Hotwax which begins with some loose and weird slide guitar parts, before going into a chilled sort of track that sounds pretty good. It is a strange piece of music that is original and different, with many different structures and cool sounds to match. The music here is really experimental and odd with many different sections, but sounds fantastic. A really excellent piece of music that is cleverly done and heavily sample based, this is a very entertaining listen. Nice to hear, just a bit different.
Lord Only Knows begins with a crashing intro, before launching into a really odd piece of music that is just plain weird. This is not really traditional or normal sounding in any musical sense, Beck proves himself to be the prime creator of some of the oddest music that you will ever hear. Still, it is really good listening despite this, with slide guitars, nice beats and flowing textures. The melodies here are beautiful and the rhythms are spot on and energetic here. Plenty of fuzz guitar is here, with Beck chanting the album title towards the end here. A new and different way of making music, this is a really incredible listening. Great piece of music.
The New Pollution begins with some strange harmonies and guitar harmonics, before launching into a quirky piece of sonic exploration that is original and clever. That’s the thing, this may come across as random, but to be fair, this is totally intellectual music that sounds great. There is a sweet saxophone part in this track as well, adding a different sort of flavour to the sounds here. A really cool, quirky and fresh sounding piece, this has no doubt been massively influential over the years since its release. Really awesome to hear, the saxophone takes centre stage towards the end here. Excellent sonic pastiche.
Next here is Derelict which begins with a very odd mix of beats, sounds and textures with Beck singing through a vocoder here. This is basically a form of EDM for those who like actual songs, plus it is pretty weird music. Still, this sort of music here is catchy, memorable and interesting enough to have a great listen to when the mood strikes. In the middle is a strange sample of what seems like Indian music, without being overly biased towards the sound of Indian music. This is a really weird listen, but done so well you can forgive Beck’s weirdness. It finishes with some organ like sounds, an interesting finish at that.
Following that is Novacane which begins with a Jazz inspired mixture of beats and clean electric guitar and bass guitar. It quickly goes into a very catchy and excellent piece of cool music that is likely drug inspired, especially given the song title. A really cool piece of music from this album all the same, it points to a semi-Rap attitude here with a variety of sounds, samples and sections. In the middle, we go into a really weird sort of breakdown before launching into the second half of the song here. It goes back into the Jazz jam after some time, before having a bunch of noise based sounds enter which are really odd and unusual. Very intelligent music, this would have taken a lot of effort to do. Nice effort though. It ends with some cut up IDM style guitar, which is different.
Jack-Ass comes along next, with some tranquil sounds to begin with, being a mixture of acoustic guitar and organ. It eventually launches into an excellent piece of music that has a slight air of melancholy about it. It is an impressive piece of music that sounds really excellent. A very good piece of music that is original and different here. In the second half, a solo acoustic performance of Beck and an acoustic guitar is here. Great stuff to hear though. Shortly after that is some bluesy acoustic guitar and harmonica, matched to beats. Brilliant stuff, and a great listen. It ends with a horse grunting away.
Where It’s At comes along next, with some very trippy organ to begin with. It quickly launches into a beatastic and awesome listening experience that was a hit single at the time. Beck sings about having two turntables and a microphone. His vocal delivery here is semi-bored, but deliberately so. There are a multitude of sections and great musicianship here that is very different. A genius piece of construction and delivery, there is a load of saxophone here as well, just to make things a bit more interesting. An awesome and lively piece of sonic montage, this is quite unlike anything else done in the history of music. Great music and expert cut up samples abound, this is very impressive. It ends with a prolonged fade out of sounds, brilliant.
Next is Minus which begins with some loud bass guitar, Punk Rock riffing and pounding drums, before Beck sings away nicely. This is another really random piece of music that sounds weird, yet energetic. It’s very short at two and a half minutes long, but fits on this album quite nicely. A really great listen that seemingly falls apart at the end, this is very weird to hear, yet still fresh and inspired.
Following is Sissyneck which begins with some whistling, before launching straight into beats and melodies. It is a weird yet enjoyable piece with slide guitars and interesting guitar and melodic work that is very different to anything else out there. Beck obviously was very talented, this is seemingly an ode to Southern music, but not quite totally redneck here. Just a really good piece of music, very nicely layered and delivered. Some interesting lyrics are worth hearing here, too. Towards the end we have some pseudo-Organ sounds, and we finish with a hilarious outro. Nice stuff.
Readymade begins with some interesting sounds that are nicely mixed together, before going into a more straightforward (for Beck at least) piece of music that is varied. This one is quite short, at two and a half minutes long, but has a variety of different sounds sampled and deployed nicely. Beck is the master of decent samples, and he proves it on tracks such as these.
High 5 (Rock The Catskills) comes along next, with a really weird intro and some excellent samples that are excellently deployed. Vocals here sound as though they are sung through a radio are here, and this is quite strange listening. A very wacky and weird sort of listen, Beck goes to show how samples can be effectively used and constructed in an intelligent way. An electrifying listen from start to finish, this is very weird but good fun.
Next along is Ramshackle which begins with some multitracked Spanish style guitars with some extra percussion entering in shortly afterwards. A really nice piece of music that is quite normal sounding here, this is a mellow and laidback sort of listen. Gentle and song based, Beck shows the world that he could indeed surprise many listeners of this album out there. It builds up into an odd sounding midsection whilst still sticking to the traditional instrumentation here. A good listen, and more straightforward for sure here.
Last on this album is Diskobox which has some interesting beats and piano to begin with. Some weird and wacky samples are here, in typical Beck fashion, of course. A really cool and quirky sort of listen, this is really fantastic and awesome listening here. Not really song based, more sample and texture based, this is different. It ends this album nicely, with some cut up sonic samples and sounds. Brilliant stuff.
This is most definitely an underrated album and effort by Beck. This is however in no way traditional music. If you like quirky electronic sample based music, you may find this worth hearing. However, the only (minor) flaw here is that this is a bit too weird for most peoples tastes. Still, a very good listen and an album that is a classic. Fans of Beck will be happy to know that re-releases with extra tracks on it are out there, seek them out if you are interested.
Weird and wonderful.
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