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