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95 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Return of the Genre Maestro
I’ve been a fan of Beck’s for a little while now. After listening to his 2005 album Guero, I got hooked and bought all his other albums and loved nearly all of them. Considering the Beck I’ve always loved is his alternative-folk-electro-grunge-rock (you know, whatever Beck is) identity, the hints about this album being more in a Sea Change direction...
Published 10 months ago by Dash Inc.

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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty but lacking something
This is an album that has already been subjected to a ridiculous amount of scrutiny, being Beck's first in years. I am just adding my opinion for what it's worth. My credentials: I loved Odelay when it came out during the 90's, but even more to the point I really connected with the songs on Sea Change (the unofficial predecessor to Morning Phase). That album seemed...
Published 9 months ago by P. Opus


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95 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Return of the Genre Maestro, February 25, 2014
This review is from: Morning Phase (Audio CD)
I’ve been a fan of Beck’s for a little while now. After listening to his 2005 album Guero, I got hooked and bought all his other albums and loved nearly all of them. Considering the Beck I’ve always loved is his alternative-folk-electro-grunge-rock (you know, whatever Beck is) identity, the hints about this album being more in a Sea Change direction instead of an Information or Guero direction kinda make me not as excited as I usually am for a Beck release. But…you’ll notice there’s more reviewing under this paragraph, so you can already guess how bad of an assumption that was.

No matter what type of music Beck approaches, he’s the only artist I’ve ever listened to who can take apart a genre, master it, and put it back together so seamlessly, yet so ‘Beck’. The absorption of this album parallels that attribute flawlessly, like being submerged in a musical pool of bliss. Even if you’re the kind of person who can’t listen to slower paced music, I’d feel bad for you not giving Morning Phase the opportunity to induce you into a symphonic, orchestral, melodic, and soul-moving coma that we all look for in music.

Some albums take a few listens to start clicking with you mentally and musically. Also, Sea Change isn’t my favorite Beck album, so from what others started to say about it being so similar to Morning Phase, I wasn’t expecting too much out of this album when it became available. About three songs into Morning Phase in the first listen, you couldn’t tear me away from the computer.

It’s a hard emotion to describe being so equally excited and powerfully relaxed at the same time, but I think Beck has a word for it in the Becktionary: Morning Phase. I can’t say anymore without taking away the excitement you’ll feel listening to Morning Phase the first time. No, Beck didn’t rise from under the radar with another Guero, he arose with something better. Awaken to the Morning Phase and see what I mean.
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56 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beck - Making up for Lost Time, February 25, 2014
This review is from: Morning Phase (Vinyl)
There is a cottage industry in the terms of the music business, which has tried to accurately pin down the LA maverick Beck Hanson over the past decades. His chameleon like tendencies that can take his music from hip hop sampling to stoner rock, from lo-fi folk to alt country have long delighted critics playing the game of musical sleuth. What is interesting however is that while his most critically lauded album is the eclectic wonder “Odelay” released in 1996, if you go to Amazon you will note that it is the 2002 masterpiece “Sea Change” which gets the “public vote” with double the amount of reviews.

This should not surprise us. Beck released “Sea Change” as a classic break up album and packed it with great songs often in the tradition of Nick Drake. With the release of this superb new album “Morning Phase” he has profitably returned to plough this furrow and produced an album every bit its equal. With essentially the same band that played on “Sea Change” this record is a more mature older brother. Beck himself has admitted that he has located this album “coming from the tradition of "California music" and said, "I'm hearing the Byrds, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Gram Parsons, Neil Young”. Throw in some British Folk and you will accurately pin this album down.

The songs are stunners. The big ballad “Morning” sounds like Pink Floyd playing country, while the sumptuous “Heart is a Drum” again reprises Nick Drake influences to excellent effect. The song “Blue Moon” has been well trailed in advance of full release and is a beautiful free flowing track with a Lindsay Buckingham tinge. On it Beck talks about being tired of being alone and how he has been “cut down to size/So I can fit inside/The lies that will divide us both in time”. Despite these lyrics “Morning Phase” is a much more uplifting and less introspective album than “Sea Change” There are lush strings based songs such as the haunting “Wave”, these contrast with the acoustic folk of the standout “Turn Away” which sees Beck venture into Paul Simon territory. Beck’s confidence throughout the album is brimming not least on the brilliant pop of “Blackbird Chain” and the “Harvest” like strum of “Country Down”. The albums big closer “Waking Light” swells with sensuous ease drawing down the curtain on a totally gripping and immersive album.

“Morning Phase” is the first new music release that Beck has released in five and half years. It is a record, which he admits he has gradually polished and finessed over the past five years which have also included a spell of illness. As he states about the songs “I found the ones that fit together the best, and then I worked on building it, stripping it back, rewriting it and just kept going until I felt like it was getting better and better." Than heavens he persevered. Beck was once described as “A Dylan In Slacker's Clothing” yet “Morning Phase” shows him refining his art, working like a Trojan and fully delivering the goods.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Album in years, March 1, 2014
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This review is from: Morning Phase (MP3 Music)
This is not only Beck's best album in years, but one of the best albums, period. Sonically dense, lush, beautiful. Beck is hearkening back to a time when the concept of the "album" actually meant something -- this is a collection of gorgeous songs that works even more powerfully as a unified whole.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oceans and Diamonds, March 14, 2014
This review is from: Morning Phase (Audio CD)
When Beck released his masterstroke of moodiness, "Sea Change," it was lauded as a real downer of a break-up album...and one of his best. It's ground he's studiously avoided since - until now. Like that album's older and wiser brother, "Morning Phase" finds Beck picking up the acoustic guitar and moody atmospherics. It's not the cathartic bummer uplift that "Sea Change" was, but it is a darn good California folk-rock album.

In addition, you can also add Nick Drake, one of the few masters of the art of dark folk, as one of the influences. Beautifully ethereal and strong on melody, "Blackbird Chain" and "Blue Moon" fall into this realm, with "Blue Moon" starting off with a brooding ""I'm so tired of being alone, these penitent walls are all I've known." The choruses are layered with echoed spaciness, while Beck keeps trying to call his beloved back. The string heavy "Wave" (which he performed on SNL) leans heavily on atmospherics. Without the use of any percussion, it's just Beck's voice and plenty of sonic watercolors. It's really quite lovely, even as it's ending finds Beck crying "Isolation, isolation..."

"Morning Phase" shows just how much Beck can get away with. It took him six years from the lukewarm "Modern Guilt" to do the soul searching he's doing here. Like "Sea Change," the impact is not immediate, but it is one that sinks in and leaves a lasting impression. He's long moved beyond the hipster cache of "Loser" and can now find the beauty old fashioned sounds of banjos and ukeleles. It's a good thing, because after all these years and plenty of maturity, "Morning Phase," with all of its private mellow gold, shows that Beck is still capable of throwing a wonderful curve ball.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums in years. By anyone., April 19, 2014
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This review is from: Morning Phase (Audio CD)
Moody. Introspective. Personal.

Very moving journey, best experienced as a full album.

I really hope Beck goes down this road more in the future.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I ALWAYS SEE CHANGE...., March 1, 2014
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This review is from: Morning Phase (Vinyl)
Those of us who have known Beck since the early days have recognized that we can see change in every one of his releases. I am happy to note that Beck has stepped further into the new with this sound and he does not try and mimic any roads that he had previously tread in his (IMHO) dull and sleepish landscape of Sea Change.

This harkens more closely to Mutations if anything, with a great deal more time spent in the landscape, to offer dreamy but not sleepish flavor to the grooves. Rich and layered acoustic backdrops over floods of eccentric sound. This is stuff suited for the indie radio and suited for the open air of wax LP. Theres no broken Game Boy beats and a lot of finger picking. And yes, it is mellow.

Listen though to how words are chosen and then placed into the atmosphere, and shortly it is easy to see that Beck is mastering the old lonesome vibes here by playing with the feeling of their meanings and spinning them upwards. He doesn't deliver any abundant absurdity here, but casually draws it out of everything organically with honest testimony. We are relaxed not tired. Sad not unhappy. Tuned to higher notch on the dial. It's about waking up in peace. Alive but in no rush. Time will wait for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 100 Year Album, October 25, 2014
This review is from: Morning Phase (Audio CD)
The first time I heard a song off of this album it made me stop everything I was doing. I was channel surfing on the cable network's music channels and was not paying any attention. It took only a few seconds for me to realize I was hearing something so magical that it was truly shocking. I listen to and love a lot of music but hearing one song from "Morning Phase" really changed everything for me. A few days later while channel surfing again I stumbled upon "Austin City Limits" on PBS with Beck performing songs from this album and was completely blown away. I don't really care for the music that made Beck popular in the 90's but I am also aware that the guy clearly has talent. Even though there are stand out songs on this album and everyone will have their own, this is really a piece of music that isn't supposed to be listened to on random or a song here or there. Rarely does an artist make an album of this depth. The production, engineering and mastering is on a level you just don't hear in today's music. Incredible vocal harmonies, instrument separation that is incredibly distinct, rich and lush reverbs all make this an album that begs to heard on a true hi-fi system. Who would have ever thought an album that is so deeply based in the folk era of the 60's and 70's would be created and done so well in this day and age from Beck no less. He obviously came in touch with something so deep inside of himself and found the way to channel it into fruition. We are truly the lucky one's. I listen to all kinds of music but primarily metal-black metal, death metal and whatever is brutal enough to put a smile on my face. But I have always preached that good music is good music. For me, this is the best album I have heard in about 20 years. I'll go on record to call this a 100 year album, simply because it will probably be 100 years before something better comes out. Beck has changed my life with "Morning Phase". Pure magic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unexpected gem arrives in my music library...., September 30, 2014
This review is from: Morning Phase (Audio CD)
A wonderful collection of songs that make for an extremely cohesive, very relaxed, well thought out, and musical album. Several reviewers have compared this album to Sea Change; I personally have not heard that one yet but if it is anything like Morning Phase, I need to get it as soon as possible. I do own Guero, but it's really not my favorite. I seldom listen to it and just can't seem to get into that side of Beck. Personally I think it's impressive when an artist can have such radically different sounds across different albums, and if this is the direction he's going I definitely don't hate it! :)

Several other reviews have criticized this album saying that it's a 'sleeper,' or that 'all of the tracks run together.' I feel that Beck is falling victim to this generation who buys all of their music on iTunes. This album as a whole is a masterful piece of music; a wonderful example of an ALBUM as a work of art as opposed to a single song as a work of art. The way people cherry-pick and download their favorite songs on iTunes, people's focus when it comes to music has shifted away from albums and is now very individual-song-centric, which I feel is unfortunate. I believe albums are snapshots of artists' lives. The music contained therein can represent the unique phase (pun intended?) in life and with music that the artist occupied at that time. To say (as some have) that this album is a failure because it's different from his other releases, is really to say that a significant part of his life is a failure. Which kind of makes you a d**k! :)

And no, this is not music to work out to. For me this album has a very specific feel, but it's one that I can't quite put into words. But take it for a relaxing walk to the park, or put it on while you make your Sunday morning coffee - you will not be disappointed.
Anyway, I purchased the vinyl version. An album this well thought out deserves to be played right through; no skipping around. Although "Say Goodbye" is my favorite track. :) If you can put away any expectations, aren't expecting funky/edgy Beck, and are prepared to allow 47 minutes of musical goodness to wash over you, you'll probably love it as I have.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beck Classic, March 30, 2014
This review is from: Morning Phase (Audio CD)
Most lovers of music know that when you wake in the morning, and the first thing you hear in your head is a particular song, at that point it's clear that the music contained in that half awake dream state is important.
This is how I'm positive that Beck's album " Morning Phase" is a force which deserves some serious discussion.I can't seem to get it out of my head...

It would be easy to criticize any modern pop recording in which the tempos of the songs stay in the Pink Floyd " Comfortably Numb" range without ever leaving..Ahhh, but this is so different.

Beck's latest is what I would consider a concept album, not unlike any classic album from any era of the past 50 years. He has taken a theme ( downtempo, ethereal, psychedelic, meaningful and cryptic lyrics) and has woven together a collection of songs which deserve and DEMAND that all are listened together as an album...Which is no easy task In the era we live in, where you are likely to pick and choose individual songs rather than buy a whole album.

This album sounds to me like Beck has decided that songwriting skills are as important as production, studio trickery and trendy fly by night latest and greatest Dubstepperies. It's a record which breathes, is meditative, is clever lyrically, has beautiful vocal harmonies, gorgeous string arrangements ( done by his dad,) memorable melodies, great live musicians playing together in a studio setting and is just plain ear candy.

Yes, you need an open mind to appreciate such a slow BPM recording when everything we hear in media is meant to get us on the dance floor, but you will be missing out on an album which just might win Grammies or end up being a classic.

Perfect for late night listening, in your car listening, recovering from Sceamo Metal show listening, I need to meditate and calm my soul listening or, I have every other Beck album and now I own Morning Phase listening.

Any way you slice it, it's a beautiful album, and happy my brain is keeping it wafting around when I wake up in the morning....Thank you Beck Hansen !
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect record, March 18, 2014
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This review is from: Morning Phase (MP3 Music)
Beck has grown up and embraced his southern California roots and made one of the best albums ever. I listen to it every day -- it's organic, meditative, and flawless. Pitchfork and other not-so-rave reviews have missed the point, and the stunning beauty, of this must-have.
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Morning Phase
Morning Phase by Beck (Audio CD - 2014)
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