Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Beck: The Information

I am a fan of Beck. And so when I picked up 'The Information' a couple of months ago I was excited and expected to like much of the album immediately. However, as anyone who has followed this artist knows, you never know what Beck is going to throw at you.

'The Information' is a pop, folk, funk, psychedelic, hip-hop, infused creation with some baroque scales thrown in for good measure. I think that my response to this barrage of sounds was a standard one: "Whoa!" This is not to say that the record is a cacophony, there is just a lot to process.

Everytime Beck releases something new everyone makes a big deal about how he continues to defy anyone trying to pin him down. But in this album we see a lot of the same elements that he used in previous efforts, i.e. 'Guero,' 'Sea Change,' and 'Mutations' especially. So my first recommendation is if you enjoyed those albums you are going to enjoy bits of this one. In a sense, 'The Information' is just a continuation of the conversation that was started with those previous records. The harpsichords, harmonicas, and synthesizers are still there, Beck's absurdist lyrics are still there, he has just created a mixture that goes a slightly different direction.

My favorite tracks are 'Think I'm In Love,' an up beat song that has molded the 'Mutations' and 'Sea Change' albums perfectly, 'Nausea,' a punk rock track that harkens back to his days of lo-fi silliness, and 'Strange Apparition,' an acoustic guitar driven song that gets me singing along every time. The album is not very cohesive, but that is part of its attractiveness, reeling back at what appears to be a mess is your first reaction, but you soon find yourself listening to nothing else. Somehow, Beck is able to combine elements that no one would ever consider doing and miraculously make it sound good. This is a rare talent, and I suggest you give it a chance if you haven't already.

And as an extra, non-music-related bonus, the album comes with collectable stickers that you can decorate the blank CD case with, which entertained me for hours.

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