Thursday, August 21, 2008

Album of the Week: Modern Guilt / Beck

Beck was featured on the September 2006 cover of Wired with the headline, "The Rebirth of Music." The article begins - "Release a traditional 13-track CD? No thanks, says Beck. Instead he serves up a collection of songs, remixes, and videos that fans can piece together anything they want." Three years later, Beck has returned with a new album. Not an album that seems to embrace modern technology or forward-thinking marketing; simply, an album. Ten tracks at 33 minutes, all produced by Danger Mouse. The album is minimalist - whereas past producer's have let Beck's imagination run wild through a series of genres, Danger Mouse keeps things focused. There are blips and playful instrumentation, sure, but all with the precision of creating an album that flows with ease from beginning to end. And Beck still appears to be having fun, if you listen to the sixties jangling of "Orphans" or the fun bounce of "Gamma Ray." But Beck is also digging deeper this time around - maybe not quite the depths he reached on Sea Change - but you can tell Danger Mouse won't let him get any kicks. Everything has a purpose, making it one of Beck's most focused efforts yet. Perhaps, one of his best.

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