Loading…

“Beck in 2013: Breaking Down the Door of ‘Postmodern Rock’ Didactic, Sifting Through ‘Fans'”

I used to be one of those pathetic douche bags who just liked to disagree with people, and when this guy at work said he liked Beck overall, his whole catalogue, I said I only liked his old stuff.
Something attracted me back to The Information, and I now find it better than Odelay. It’s similar, for the culturally replenishing fusion of genres, but somehow it’s more mature. This could have something to do with why I’d decided I didn’t like it — there’s nothing over-the-top about The Information, the way there was with many facets of Odelay, with its “jack-ass” naying, screaming at the beginning of “Minus” and weird cacophonous wizardry of hidden track, and with obviously Mellow Gold as well, with the stark genre disparities closely juxtaposed, and the infamous breaking of the glass at the start of “Truck Drivin’ Neighbors Downstairs.”
The post on motherboard.vice.com about the Beck album that could have been, which he ended up releasing as sheet music only, is especially helpful, and ingenious in referring to Beck as the “dada of postmodern rock” (though all rock is postmodern, if you wanna get technical, and do I ever), but to any fan of The Information, the answer to why the artist would deliberately place hurdles on the track to hearing his new album should be obvious. We’re all a bunch of dullards and dumbasses, and what’s worse, for some of us, Rolling Stone readers. Something against Rolling Stone. They happen to have ranked Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” as the best song of last decade. Here is a list of 30 songs from last decade that are each 30 times better than “Crazy”:
.
Radiohead – “In Limbo”
The New Pornographers – “The Bleeding Heart Show”
Belle and Sebastian – “We are the Sleepyheads”
Beck – “Movie Theme”
Wolf Parade – “Grounds for Divorce”
Ghostface Killah – “The Champ”
Clipse – “Chinese New Year”
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood”
Beach House – “All the Years”
Cat Power – “Speak to Me”
Fleet Foxes – “He Doesn’t Know Why”
Modest Mouse – “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes”
Oxford Collapse – “Children’s Crusade”
Brother Ali – “Palm the Joker”
The Decemberists – “Summer Song”
Califone – “Burned by the Christians”
The Leo & The Pharmacists – “Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?”
My Chemical Romance – “Disenchanted”
Mike Doughty – “American Car”
Liars – “It Fit When I was a Kid”
Aloha – “Boys in the Bathtub”
K-OS – “Emcee Murdah”
NOBODY – “Spin the Bright Sun Rose”
Black Mountain – “Don’t Run Our Hearts around”
Lily Allen – “Shame for You”
Grizzly Bear – “Lullaby”
Department of Eagles – “Phantom Other”
My Morning Jacket – “Gideon”
The Libertines – “Death on the Stairs”
Bon Iver – “Re:Stacks”
.
I’m not saying everyone was as addled and antagonistic as I was, but, in general, it’s possible that some people have the habit of glossing over music as if it’s disposable. The fact is that many if not all of these songs came during a semantically tough time in America, one in which we dealt with war in Iraq and the W. Bush admin., and these songs undoubtedly came as salvation for the artists themselves, and should have such for all of us. We should have celebrated them and duly rewarded them, but somehow, either we neglected to do this, or Rolling Stone deliberately deviates from public sentiment and good.
But anyway, getting back to the glass breaking on Mellow Gold, it’s interesting, I was trying to find a youtube clip of just the audio of Information‘s “We Dance Alone,” and it’s a hard album to do this for, possibly because of the whole blank cover/sticker gimmick, so I only found a live version. Its precursor is a long spoken-word introductory segment that’s entertaining for any fan, but I couldn’t help but be taken by the look, and the mood, that Beck gets, when he notices that one of his bandmates’ glass instruments is falling on the floor. He goes, “There’s glass on the floor!” You expect him to be offended or taken aback, but instead, all of a sudden we see a glimpse of the 1990’s visionary’s artistic psyche — he thrives on this chaos, and, it seems, only under this environment of stray glass shard pandemonium, is he able to bust into “We Dance Alone,” which is a brilliant song with an R&B tinge, featuring raps in the verses and a levity-seething, almost feminine sing-song chorus of beauty and sacrifice. It is, in short, an ingenious pop song, true to artist’s form.
Beck’s tired of spoon-feeding you. Help him help you. And ironically, it’s the hoboes walking around, probably, who barely have any access to the internet, if they can snag a computer at the library, who will be most enthusiastic about deciphering his new album. He’s making music for the people running through the mini-mall in their underwear, only tryin’ to get warm, they knew they never ever should have burnt their uniform.

Leave a Reply