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The Information

144 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 3, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Three years in the making, The Information is the album Beck began work on in 2003 with producer Nigel Godrich (Radiohead's OK Computer, Kid A; Beck's Sea Change, Mutations) and finally completed this year once Guero's massive success and encore touring engagements, as well as Nigel's other commitments, were fulfilled. The Information is comprised of 15 songs and a DVD featuring homemade videos for each of the 15 songs shot in-studio during the actual sessions. The artwork for The Information is either non-existent or infinite, depending on one's point of view. Each copy will come in a blank package with one of four collectible sticker sheets specially designed by European and American artists and representative of the unique Beck aesthetic. The stickers will give every Beck fan the opportunity to participate in the creative process by designing his or her own one of a kind CD cover.

On The Information, Beck Hansen is seriously bummed out. Not that he sounds it as much as he did on 2002's laconic, Fred Neil-worshipping Sea Change. Technology and stuff, and the way it gets in the way of human interaction, is the subtext if not the full-on concept at play here. Recorded with art-rock anal-retentive Nigel Goodrich at the helm, work began on this album not long after Sea Change but was shelved for a few years while Mr. Hansen made 2005's Guero with the Dust Brothers. Unsurprisingly, it sounds a bit like both of those. The trappings of minimalist pop, fuzzy folk, click-hop, hip-hop, baroque psychedelia, and funky pop are to be found on this endearing release. Like Jean Cocteau or David Bowie, Beck is an artistic chameleon whose greatest gift is knowing which artists to borrow from, and when. The cover artwork consists of stickers that you can arrange however you like, which perhaps appeals too much to your own nostalgic/retro, "Trapper Keeper" sensibilities. And yet, it's kind of awesome, something you can't believe has never been done before. Much like the album it adorns. --Mike McGonigal

1. Elevator Music
2. Think I'm In Love
3. Cellphone's Dead
4. Strange Apparition
5. Soldier Jane
6. Nausea
7. New Round
8. Dark Star
9. We Dance Alone
10. No Complaints
11. 1000 BPM
12. Motorcade
13. The Information
14. Movie Theme
15. The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide Exoskeleton

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 3, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Interscope
  • ASIN: B000HIVO64
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,741 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Yasmine F. Galenorn on December 20, 2006
Format: Audio CD
While Beck's earlier work (who can look at Odelay and not say "masterpiece?") was brilliant in a raw way, I think he's gotten more refined and yet has developed more depth over the years. I totally fell in love with Guero and wondered if he could keep the pace going. To my surprise, I like parts of The Information even better. It's more techno, which I like, and yes, darker. What I get out of this CD is a love/hate affair with technology & the alienation it brings to our lives. We can cross the world in seconds thanks to the net, and yet we are more distant, isolating within ourselves. This is a CD for the current's wired, and so are we. And there's no going back.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rich Latta on October 17, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I admit that my first impression of THE INFORMATION was that Beck had phoned this one in, kinda like a "Beck-By-Numbers" pastiche. But it only took a few more listens for his fantastic songwriting ability to shine through for me. Beck already merged just about every conceivable music genre on MELLOW GOLD and ODELAY, so it's not really fair to expect him to reinvent the freakin' wheel with every new album.

In that respect, THE INFORMATION has less mind-blowing variety than many of his previous efforts, but it's loaded with plenty of great rhythms and beats as can be expected from Beck. There's lots of super-catchy hooks and many of the songs are as good as any he's ever written. Also typical of Beck, there's a lot of sounds and "sub-melodies" guaranteed to keep the listener intrigued for many a listen. Beck raps all over this album. He's kind of in a rap world of his own - he plays by his own rules. On THE INFORMATION, he moves beyond the white boy self parody bit to rap about anything he wants.

Of particular note is the trippy extended final track that morphs repeatedly and reaches a spacey, almost epic peak at the chorus. But it does peter out towards the end, digressing into some spoken word nonsense that can get boring on repeated listens (as spoken word typically does when added to music). That's OK - as I often do, I've made my own copy of this album and I just shaved off the end of that song in a particular place that appealed to me. Considering the interactive direction Beck seems to be headed in, I suspect he would approve.

The extra DVD contains the entire album with amusing video shennanigans from Beck and assorted friends. It's fun to have on at a party!

As ever, Beck is still an extremely creative musician. THE INFORMATION is further proof and a most worthy addition to any music collection.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Travis R. Fahs on October 3, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Though I'd hardly say he's hardly floundering, Beck's last two albums were a bit of a disappointment for me. The gloomy, downbeat songwriting on Sea Change was an interesting and surprising turn, but in the end it seemed like Beck trying to do a Nick Drake impersonation that, while adequate, was no substitute for the real thing, and didn't really play to Beck's strong suits. Guero, on the other hand marked a return to the Beck we all know and love, but it seemed like a retreat, and an attempt to recapture past success. To that effect it worked: Guero sold a lot of copies, and it had a handful of great songs, but many of the songs sounded too much like sideways versions of old Beck songs and it lacked the creative spark Beck is so known for.

Now I still love the guy, but I was slightly apprehensive when I heard his new album was coming so shortly after the last. But my worries were laid to rest upon first listen. This album is everything I've come to love about Beck. It's manages to bring together the atmospherics and songwriting of Mutations and Sea Change and pull them together with the kind of experimental electronica and toe-tapping beats pioneered on Odelay, and in so doing creates a completely new sound that should satisfy fans on both sides.

The album begins suitable with the languid and distant hip hop of Elevator Music. This sets the tone for the album perfectly. This album is layered, and funky, but never high energy. It's the other end of the spectrum from Midnite Vultures with an aloof sounding Beck rhyming over some echoey, eerie, and atmospheric beats. Choirs and cello strings regularly accompany the synthesizers and turntables. Beck evokes a similar funk ennui in Cell Phone's Dead and We Dance Alone, both very strong tracks.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sal Nudo VINE VOICE on June 29, 2007
Format: Audio CD
For a video-starved guy like me, the idea to release a CD with an accompanying DVD that contains a video for every song was sheer brilliance. Truthfully, I'm surprised it took this long for a big-named artist to try something like this. Then again, if anyone has the ingenuity to pull off such an amazing audio/video spectacle on disc(s), Beck is the musician.

I love everything about "The Information," both the CD and the DVD. There's plenty to dance to here, lots of tunes to sing along with, and some much more laid-back fare. In fact, the tail end of the disk becomes a tad more somber and uneven, but the music still kills. "The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton" reveals itself as murkier music for the diehards at 2 a.m. and counting. Still, it's great stuff until everything dissolves into a mesh of ethereal synth and a few incomprehensible voices meant to confuse; bizarre, to be sure, but also a fitting end to an album so rich in musical depth.

This masterful CD is littered with cool hip-hop dance tracks like "Elevator Music, "1000BPM" and "Nausea," which sit next to songs that mingle hip-hop and pop-rock such as "Think I'm in Love" and "No Complaints," two playful-sounding tunes that make not liking Beck's music impossible. "Strange Apparition" has a lively country-western sound, complete with jumping piano and a suitably weird video to match. Everything on this album is smooth and instantly catchy, often danceable. The dance tracks have that big bass thump, a crisp beat and snappy drums that could get anybody moving. There are also sublime songs like "Soldier Jane" that ooze atmosphere and manage transcendence. Along those lines, "Movie Theme" is an especially moving track, perhaps the best on the album.
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Topic From this Discussion
Not "Guero" By Any Means
You need to go back and listen to the rest of Beck's albums. They are all different. I would be dissapointed if it sounded like Guero.
Sep 23, 2006 by Brandon Veuleman |  See all 14 posts
The music on this album
I don't own an ipod; my ipod is my rather expensive german made car. do you think "no complaints" would sould perfect in my rather expensive german made car, or might i have complaints about the way it sounded in my rather expensive german made car?
Nov 2, 2006 by DMA |  See all 2 posts
It does. The cover is a blank grid; the stickers are to create or piece together your own cover. Read the article in Wired to get the concept.
Sep 22, 2006 by mspencer |  See all 3 posts
The best music to come out in 2006
I didn't think Sea Change was very good, personally. It was interesting in that it was so different from what Beck had done previously, and Lost Cause in particular is beautiful, but much of it seemed like a compotent if unspectacular Nick Drake impersonation. It didn't play to his strong points,... Read More
Oct 2, 2006 by Travis R. Fahs |  See all 9 posts
According to Wikipedia, Beck and his wife are Scientologists. I read an interview in Wired where Beck explains his idea of the consumer's involvement with the new album. The packaging is blank and comes with stickers, so you can make your CD look the way you want. I am not sure if this will... Read More
Sep 7, 2006 by JR Media Freak |  See all 10 posts
Landslide/exoskel... Be the first to reply
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