Heard That: Beck, ‘Morning Phase’


 

Children of the 90s may still have a hard time disassociating Beck from the quirky tune, “Loser”, that made him a household name.

Mellow Gold, Beck’s major label debut that featured the headlining track “Loser”, was an aural — but not aggressive — assault in which the artist used his guitar, harmonica and various effects as weapons to attack from within the songs.

The album played out like a tantrum; as if it was the product inner torment of an artist new to a major labor caught between his art and the money he would surely earn. He was the loser, the giant dildo crashing the sun.

Beck settled in after that, making much more accessible and catchy succeeding albums with Odelay, Mutations, and Midnite Vultures.

In 2002, Beck struck gold with Sea Change, a breakup album that showed a significant maturity in the songwriter’s abilities and mentality. This warm blanket of an album wraps its listener in spacey tones and a dichotomous soothing sadness.

Twelve years later — and six years since the release of his last album, Modern Guilt, he picked up right where he left off with Sea Change.

Beck’s newest release, Morning Phase, is a stunningly beautiful and incredibly sad album that takes a page out of the playbooks of bands like Pink Floyd, The Beach Boys, and to some extent, The Flaming Lips and Radiohead.

Not unlike Sea Change, this is far from just a collection of songs. While each track can stand on its own, Morning Phase works best when played from start to finish. The reason for this is because there is no pretense behind the songs. No song tries to be “Where It’s At” or “Sexx Laws.” Each song is pristine and unadulterated, which allows them to co-mingle so well.

So, pour yourself a glass of scotch, sit back in your reclining chair and just disappear into this album as Beck belts out such straightforward saccharine lines like, “These are the words we use to say goodbye.”

Grade: A-