Beck: The Information


Believe it or not, we’re up to album number nine for Beck. It’s hard to keep track of him since over the course of those records, the always charismatic artist has moved from anti-folk (Mellow Gold) to electronically dense remixes (Guerlito) and everywhere in-between. This latest installment (The Information) offers familiar shades of Odelay – rhythmic struts and overdub exploits – but without the old school video game sounds.

The A side offers the streetwise blues flair of “Elevator Music,” followed by the kraut-rock symmetry of “ Think I’m In Love.” “Cellphones Dead” runs with Beck-standardized warped beats over slacker rhymes, and “Strange Apparition” features rising harmonies and acoustic piano. All this while “Nausea” plays into his knack at creating funky hooks and sugary pop highlights.

It’s a good start, but unfortunately things go downhill from here fast as The Information’s second half slides into spacey mood effects concluding with “Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton.” The aptly titled track is a twelve minute love it or hate it affair, with most undoubtedly opting for the latter. Beck takes one of his biggest risks with this latest effort, but he often sounds bored and un-inspired, forcing many songs to cry for guitar. This should have been released as a ten song ringer, instead The Information suffers from “dud overload.”

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