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Mutations

4.5 out of 5 stars 259 customer reviews

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Mutations
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Audio CD, November 3, 1998
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$11.19 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 18 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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On his 1996 breakthrough album Odelay, Beck Hansen surprised a sleepy music community by blending funk, rock, rap, alternative, and electronica in ways that were both startlingly innovative and irresistibly catchy. Mutations is equally attention-grabbing but not in the gangbusters-pimp-rock-meets-indie-geek style you might expect. Reflective and plaintive, the album reveals Beck's more sentimental side with an eclectic collection of acoustic-based songs that will sound familiar to anyone who cherishes his indie-rock effort One Foot in the Grave. And don't think just because Beck's gone soft, he's gotten boring. From one song to the next, the chameleonic guru strums pensively, shimmies to a bossa nova rhythm, swirls on a psychedelic cloud, plucks Baroque strains from a harpsichord, and weeps countrified tears into a rusty tin bucket. On Mutations, Beck proves that an undistorted guitar and a bit of creativity can easily sound as exciting as two turntables and a microphone. --Jon Wiederhorn

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Cold Brains - Beck
  2. Nobody's Fault But My Own - Beck
  3. Lazy Flies
  4. Canceled Check
  5. We Live Again - Beck
  6. Tropicalia
  7. Dead Melodies
  8. Bottle of Blues
  9. O Maria
  10. Sing It Again - Beck
  11. Static/Diamond Bollocks (hidden track)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 3, 1998)
  • Original Release Date: November 3, 1998
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: DGC
  • ASIN: B00000DHYK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (259 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,862 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Beck Hansen's most accessible disc to date all but defies comparison. It's a little Donovon, a little early Bowie and some Beatles' white album tossed in for good measure. But these similarities do not overpower - they wash in and out with the ebb and flow of one genre morphing into another. For Mutations, Beck has put aside the discordant hip-hop of Odelay! and goofy Gen-X snicker-snicker of Mellow Gold. Languid vocals and a hypnotic mood prevail over rich layers of acoustic arrangments, twang, psychedelia, synths, sitars and even bossa nova. Like a travelogue into his subconscious, Mutations tours Beck's psyche, his influences and varying moods. Songs like "Bottle Of Blues" and "Canceled Check" are catchy, hummable ditties, while "Cold Brains," "Nobody's Fault But My Own" and "We Live Again" mesmerize with their introspective meanderings. Seems that America's most adorable geek has grown up. Lest you think he takes himself too seriously, Beck's grotesque imagery and clever musings sting with irony. Somehow, though, he still maintains a sincerity that distinguishes himself from the hipster wannabes out there trying to smirk their way onto a Rolling Stone cover.
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Format: Audio CD
When Mutations came out after Odelay!, critics and fans said it wasn't a "real" Beck album, mostly due to its acoustic nature. What rubbish. This is a fantastic album, showing Beck to be more talented than a lot of people thought with his singing, songwriting, and guitar playing really shining here. And the songs, overall, are awesome. Tropicalia, Bottle of Blues, Nobody's Fault But My Own, Lazy Flies, Cold Brains, and an AWESOME hidden track (Diamond Bollocks) that is a cross between what Beck did on Odelay! and what he would do on Midnite Vultures. Just awesome.
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Format: Audio CD
I can't believe the consistency with which Beck shows his ability to manipulate so many types of music. This is a great example. You know how there are those CDs where you listen to a few tracks, but you skip the rest? Well, this is not one of those. This is one where you listen all the way through and love it. Beck's gotta be credited as one of the greatest musicians today. Who else comes up with an album on a yearly basis? And don't say Backstreet Boys, cause that's crap. I'm talkin' about people who write their own music and lyrics, and actually put themselves into it. Beck is obviously influenced by such greats as The Beatles, Bob Dylan and others, and he's not ashamed to show it. If you liked Odelay, this may not be your bag, but if you like Beck, you'll love it.
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It is my opinion that the only things Beck needs to make a good album are his harmonica and his crazy lyrics. And this album is proof of that (although the harmonica isn't used often enough); there are no synthesizers, no pounding bass lines, no ear-piercing electric guitar solos. Instead, just acoustic guitars, and the voice of a generation's followed leader. Beck himself warned this release was not going to be alike Mellow Gold or Odelay. That is very true. This is more or less what Beck wished his early, early works (on 'albums' such as Stereopathetic Soulmanure and One Foot In The Grave) had sounded like: polished country/rock tunes. Despite what people will tell you, Mutations is a great, solid album that can be played from beginning to end without urges to skip songs--if you enjoy the softer, acoustic feel of Beck's music that was present in songs like "Ramshackle" and "Whiskeyclone, Hotel City 1997".

The only song that can be mentioned beside Odelay, "Diamond Bollocks", is hidden at the end of the album, because Beck felt it was inferior to the rest of the tracks (fittingly so). It is a genius, six-minute free-for-all track that is really worth the price of this disc by its lonesome. But as for the rest of the album, just as much praise should be given, if not more. The main singles, "Tropicalia" and "Nobody's Fault But My Own", are both excellent, while it's the likes of "Bottle Of Blues", "Cold Brains" and "Sing It Again" that stand out as (unknown) gems. "Cold Brains" is simple, but catchy enough to get you singing along. "Bottle Of Blues", equally as catchy, swings through twang and extra-strange lyrics for five long minutes. And "Sing It Again" carries its beautiful dreariness into one of Beck's greatest harmonica solos of all-time.
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Format: Audio CD
Years ago I heard Beck perform the dreamily concocted, beautifully sung "Nobody's Fault But My Own" on Saturday Night Live. Played onstage, I recall the song sounded even more harrowing and drawn out than I later thought it was on disc, but in any case, I remember really loving its intensely resigned and tuneful sound and vowed to check out the CD "Mutations" later on. Well, it's much later on and I can relate that "Mutations" is definitely worth owning. Funny enough, "Nobody's Fault" is definitely one of the more serious-sounding, somewhat anguished songs on this CD; the rest are mostly breezy gems that would be right at home on a windswept beach with a cool beverage in hand. In fact, much of this album reminds me of what Syd Barrett might be writing and singing if he were a young working artist today.

Even on his low-key songs, Beck is always so brilliant at adding in cool harmonica, keyboard, slide guitar and all sorts of unique instruments that the rest of us have never heard of. Though he's a whiz at inserting hip-hop beats and a slew of electronic trickery on his albums, this one is refreshingly stripped down. The poppy "Lazy Flies" reminds me of a Syd Barrett tune -- right down to the slight British accent Beck employs in the vocals -- but better and more focused. The lazy country twang of "Canceled Check" reminds me a bit of the song "San Tropez" on Pink Floyd's Meddle (a post-Barrett record), while "Tropicalia," as its name would imply, is a feel-good summer song that anybody could enjoy.
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