Saturday, January 2, 2010

Beck - Midnite Vultures


I must admit I was never much of a Beck fan before YourZ came along, and I'm still not really, although I do admire his musicianship. It's mostly because I don't really like his voice.

YourZ calls this "Beck's disco album" and I kind of agree, but I think I'd call it "Beck's annoying album" because it's just a bit too clever for me. Not that the tunes are bad or anything, but there's so MUCH in there! So many instruments, multi-tracking, sound effects, bells and whistles, you can't really get to grips with the music. In fact, it's like he snorted a whole bunch of coke in the studio and didn't know where to stop.

It's no Mellow Gold or Odelay - so I'd mark it as the album only for completists.



Bek David Campbell, aka Beck, is a musical pixie who sprinkles weird-ass instrumentation, samples and stream-of-consciousness lyrics throughout his releases like nose-candy for a drug-free generation. Personally, he's been a source of inspiration ever since I heard his first major release, Mellow Gold, 15 years ago. After this, there was the Grammy-winning Odelay, which saw him become one of the biggest artists in the world at the time.

Three years on from that, he released Midnite Vultures, his 7th studio album, where he channelled disco grooves by way of Bowie and Prince, tossed these with his eclectic instrumentations, assembled a massive crew of musicians, including Johnny Marr, Beth Orton and his producers of choice, the Dust Brothers, and came up with an indefinable musical melding as only he is capable of doing. A typical example of his eclecticism happens at the end of the first song, Sexx Laws, where he drops a banjo line into what's otherwise been a horn-laden piece of white soul.

I saw him live a few years after this album was released and he included a number of tracks in his set. He played up the disco elements of these tracks with some hokey b-boy dance moves and a lot of cheek. It still has to be one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen.

Not one of his best albums, but certainly not one of his worst, Midnite Vultures is still a great example of the eccentric world of the artist called Beck.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP (and boogie down, y’all)

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In our collection, we also have Mellow Gold, Stereopathic Soul Manure, One Foot In The Grave, Odelay, Sea Change, Guero, Guerolito, The Information and Modern Guilt.

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